George A. O’Toole grew up in rural eastern Long Island, New York, heavily influenced by his parents and their Irish and Italian immigrant families. Throughout his youth, his parents, both in education, stressed the importance of school and attending college. In high school he was especially encouraged by a science teacher who praised O’Toole’s interests in science oriented shows like Nova and Nature. O’Toole participated in a research program for high school students at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., where he was first exposed to cell biology. Deciding he wanted to pursue biology, O’Toole matriculated at Cornell University where he earned a position in the Cornell Tradition scholarship program. Throughout his time at Cornell he balanced his studies with his work in the Noyes dining hall. Early on O’Toole engaged in extra laboratory research and had a paper accepted to the Cornell Undergraduate Journal of Science. He worked as a dishwasher in the microbiology research laboratory of Steven H. Zinder, though ultimately conducting research on methanogenic archaea. After graduating from Cornell, O’Toole began his graduate research as Jorge C. Escalante-Semerena’s first graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, focusing his research on the genetics and biosynthesis of Vitamin B12; during what little free time he had, O’Toole became active in political campaigns. In the small Vitamin B12 field, he published nine papers, learning the process of writing a scientific paper directly from Escalante-Semerena. Upon finishing his PhD, O’Toole undertook his post-doctoral research with Roberto Kolter at Harvard Medical School, where he began his work in biofilms. While in the Kolter laboratory, O’Toole took advantage of the inquisitive scientific atmosphere and intellectual freedom fostered in the group to make his mark in this field. Although he considered working in biotechnology companies, O’Toole accepted a position at Dartmouth Medical School and opted to work as a consultant for his friend’s company, Microbia. As soon as he started his lab, O’Toole immediately began efforts to create an environment that fostered success and creativity in his students. Shortly after arriving at Dartmouth, O’Toole received a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences award from which have come numerous collaborations and a networking system. Throughout the interview O’Toole discusses the current climate of funding, mentoring, scientific ethics, and the importance of translational research with regard to scientific responsibility.
Daniel E. Gottschling and his younger sister were born in Gary, Indiana. Their father was first an engineer and then in middle management at Bell Systems; their mother was an architect until she had children. Daniel attended a Lutheran school until the family moved when Daniel was in junior high school. Woods near his house provided free-time entertainment; there he began his interest in science by collecting spiders. Both sets of grandparents lived nearby, and the families were very close. Daniel spent a great deal of time with adults, listening to their stories and absorbing their experiences (and incidentally learning to shoot pool). When Daniel was beginning junior high school the family moved to nearby Portage, Indiana, where Daniel began public school. Although he did not like school and was often sick, he did well, especially in science and mathematics. In eighth grade he had a wonderful biology teacher who knew about spiders, but otherwise Daniel was academically uninspired. He took up violin, began singing in a choir, and acted in all his high school plays. He and two friends formed a rock band that did very well, even playing at Earl of Old Town in Chicago, backup for Steve Goodman. Not sure where to go to college, he visited a friend at Augustana College and decided to go there. He had to drop out of his rock band, but at college he immediately joined a choir, which practiced every day and travelled all over the world, and formed another rock band, all while studying and engaging in philosophical and historical discussions with faculty and fellow students. His chemistry and mathematics classes were excellent, and he chose chemistry as his major. He did not think much about where this was all leading until near the end of college, when he decided he did not want to be a doctor and might want to be a scientist. He was accepted into graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He helped new faculty member Thomas Cech set up his lab and set to work there. When Gottschling blew up the microwave in the lab and when his experiments were not working out well, he was discouraged and accepted a one-year job at Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison, Colorado, where he taught introductory chemistry. He liked teaching, but found that he liked the bench better and went back to Cech's lab to work on ciliate chromosomes, finally focusing on telomeres. When he saw Seattle he loved it and accepted a postdoc at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, working on ciliate telomeres in Virginia Zakian's yeast genetics lab. Eventually Gottschling accepted an assistant and then an associate professorship at the University of Chicago, leaving behind his ciliates and moving into yeast and epigenetics. After seven years he opted for less teaching and more bench work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he continues his research on yeast, believing that if one starts at one end and burrows through to the other end of something he can learn how that something works. Gottschling has won the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences Award and the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology. He still loves music, though he has less time for it than he would like. He teaches in the Science-Education-Partnership (SEP), run by Barbara Berg. And, of course, he continues his beloved benchwork.
Pradip Raychaudhuri grew up in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, the oldest of seven children. His father was a pharmacist, his mother a housewife. As a youngster he played cricket and soccer and followed the professional teams. His father wanted him to be a surgeon, but he was more interested in mathematics and the physical sciences. Raychaudhuri's maternal grandfather influenced him greatly in mathematics, working problems with him from an early age. His father inspired his interest in the Hindu religion and in philosophy, believing that Hinduism and science are compatible. Reading about scientists engaged his interest in being a scientist, and he performed well at school in the subjects he liked. Because he felt that the Indian system of graduate education was not as good as in the United States, he decided to study here. Raychaudhuri applied to several universities in the United States; he chose Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in part because he had heard talks from an Indian and an American who were at Einstein. He began studying protein synthesis in Umadas Maitra's lab, working in the lab around the clock. As an undergraduate he had been interested in cancer research, and he shifted back to it from enzymology. Homesick at first, he struggled with American culture in addition to finding the program at Einstein rigorous. He met his wife, Srilata Bagchi, a postdoc at Einstein, and they married after he completed his thesis defense. Raychaudhuri accepted a postdoc in the Joseph R. Nevins lab at Rockefeller University. There he showed that E1A activates transcription factors by removing tumor suppressors. Working in a competitive field, Raychaudhuri had to devise research projects that would enable him to compete against larger labs. He began studying the E2F-Rb complex's relationship to tumor suppressors and investigating whether replication gene expression is regulated through damaged DNA binding. Drug resistance in cancer patients was an important stimulus to Raychaudhuri's desire to find clinical applications for his research. Explaining his failure to obtain funding to determine an RNA-binding protein's relationship to Rb led to a discussion of grant writing, of the balance between clinical and basic science, and of his recent funding history and future funding prospects. After three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University Raychaudhuri accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Illinois College of Medicine; he has since received tenure. He concluded the interview talking about taking his daughter to the lab; his reasons for remaining in the United States; the need to publicize one's science; the quality of graduate students and postdocs at Illinois; the need for the university to improve the quality of its scientists and research; and his definition of good science. The interview ended with an explanation of the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences funding and annual meeting on his career.
Christine E. Holt was born and raised in Wylam, a small village in Northumberland in the north of England, the youngest of three siblings. Her mother was a homemaker; her father was a naval sea captain during World War II, who then worked in the safe business and then the shipping business. She enjoyed exploring nature surrounding her home with her older brother, spending some time badger-watching, and she also played the piano. She attended British public schools (the equivalent of American private schools), and at the age of ten she was enrolled in a boarding school in which she stayed until she was sixteen. She enjoyed sports, including rounders and netball, and in school she split her focus between literature and the arts, and biology, but not other sciences; she had an interest in anthropology as well that was heightened by two trips to Africa during summer holidays. Holt's biology teacher at her college preparatory school taught with an outdated syllabus and so Holt decided to teach herself biology using Michael B. V. Roberts's textbook, Biology: A Functional Approach. She matriculated at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne to study zoology but then transferred to the University of Sussex, where she had opportunities to talk directly with professors like John Maynard Smith and was under the tutelage of Michael F. Land who encouraged her to undertake graduate studies. She received a very competitive Science Research Council fellowship for her doctoral studies and chose to work with John H. Scholes at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cell Biophysics Unit in an attempt to unify her interests in genetics and neurobiology. At the MRC Holt faced challenges establishing Xenopus lines, though she was able to use radioactively-labeled amino acids to trace axon development. William A. Harris introduced her to the concept of using an electrophysiological mapping system with Xenopus, after which she decided to undertake her postdoctoral studies with him at the University of California, San Diego (and, subsequently, they married). Her research focus in Harris's lab was, predominantly, disproving the mechanospatial theory of brain development and contributing to the reaffirmation of Roger W. Sperry's chemoaffinity theory, which argued that every cell in the retina was specified with a different tag that matched a complementary tag in the tectum. From there she went on to another fellowship with Colin Blakemore at Oxford University to study mammalian cell development, through which she realized the impracticality of using hamsters to investigate early brain development and also the inability to demonstrate axon—tectum chemoaffinity in chicken culture. She then returned to San Diego as a researcher and, later, a professor. Soon after her fellowships and her return to San Diego, Holt and Harris spent a sabbatical with Friedrich Bonhoeffer at the Max-Plank-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie in Tübingen, Germany, where Holt used time-lapsed video to observe Xenopus retinal axon in vivo and she investigated the possibility of guidepost cells in brain development. Soon after her return to San Diego, Holt received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award, with which she worked on developing the method of in vivo lipofection. At the end of the interview Holt talks about her work on the effects of perturbation of cell adhesion molecules on axon growth; establishing a lab; spending a year with John Gurdon at the Wellcome Cancer Research Campaign Institute in Cambridge, England; the journal review process; and balancing her career and family life and issues that women in the sciences face. The interview concludes with more of Holt's thoughts on science including the discovery that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) can prevent axons from recognizing their target; growth factor receptors' role in target recognition; and the connection of glycosaminoglycans to FGF receptor function.
Charles N. Serhan grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the older of two children. His father, who retired early from shipping work, is of Lebanese descent, his mother Italian. When he was in junior high school, Serhan learned to play the vibraphone and played professionally for a year before college. Although he loved music and fantasized a musical career, he did not like the life of a musician. He had always liked and done well in science, so he decided to enter university, but he continued to play the vibraphone as well. He chose to specialize in biomedical science.
Serhan did his undergraduate work at State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he studied biochemistry and immunohistochemistry, doing research on cell separation. Michael Heidelberger persuaded Serhan to go to graduate school at New York University and to work in the lab of Gerald Weissmann. Serhan spent a summer working with Weissmann at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. Weissmann's interest in the role of neutrophils in inflammation led to Serhan's doctoral research on neutrophil remodeling.
After finishing his PhD Serhan took a visiting scientist position at the Karolinska Institute. There he met his future wife, Birgitta Schmidt, who now has a career as a dermatopathologist also at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Serhan was influenced by mentors Helen M. Korchak, Manfred Karnovsky, and Aaron J. Marcus and by reading The Art of Scientific Investigation and Men Like Gods. Michael Heidelberger gave him advice on how to be a good scientist and on the need to conduct both safe and risky experiments. He collaborated with James L. Madarain studying white cells' interaction with epithelial cells: he was trying to accelerate the healing of wounds. A family illness gave Serhan a more personal appreciation for the value of research and increased his desire to produce something with a clinical application. Serhan's research on the interaction of monosodium urate crystals and human neutrophils in platelets led to the discovery of tetraene compounds; he also continued his research on the lipoxinsand their role in regulating inflammation and on intracellular communication channels. He studied lipoxins in trout and describes the accidental discovery of trout lipoxin, discussing the pharmacological potential of the research and the relationship between science and technology.
The interview ends with a discussion of how Serhan advises young scientists to pursue their own interests, citing serendipitous findings that have had implications for the study of inflammation; how he believes that the funding of American science inhibits creativity; and that pharmacology is a basic but neglected discipline. Serhan talks more about his interest in the structural elucidation of cellular messengers; the biological action of lipoxins; the role of monocytes in inflammation; and his examinations of aspirin-sensitive asthmatics with Bruce Levy. Serhan says that today's scientists lead pressured lives, and it is a mistake to evaluate scientists by the number of grants they receive or by the size of their laboratories. He feels the need to tackle long-term research projects, projects that require long-term funding.
Serhan was invited to see Barbara McClintock accept her Nobel Prize, and he talks about Nobel Prize winners as role models. He mentions his lab members Jane Maddox, Joan Claria, and Boshkar Jacobodi; he encourages minority students to become scientists. Serhan concludes his interview with a discussion of the difficulty of balancing family life and work life, especially in a two-career family.
Maurice J. Kernan was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, the eldest of four siblings. His father worked for an insurance company; his mother was a housewife. A love of and interest in nature was nurtured during trips to a nearby area of salt marsh and sand dunes, known as Bull Island, where he explored and watched birds (many of his science projects in school were nature-based and came from his time there); he was also an avid reader, a sailor, and interested in cartography. Kernan began in public school but then switched to a Jesuit school around the time he was eight years old, staying there until he graduated. He matriculated at Trinity College in his hometown, intent on pursuing the biological sciences for his undergraduate education. While there, he developed an interest in genetics and was given a unique opportunity to conduct summer research with a Trinity alumnus, Mittur Jagadish, on the Cornell University campus in the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. Kernan's project focused on nitrogen fixation done by a symbiotic bacterium, Rhizobium, in the root nodules of legume plants, specifically trying to isolate the rec-A gene from that bacterium by complementation—testing transformed, rec-A deficient E. coli with bits of Rhizobium DNA. While at Cornell he also heard a lecture from Allan C. Spradling, who, with Gerald M. Rubin, had just figured out how to make transgenic Drosophila with P elements. After earning his degree, he moved to the United States for graduate research in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joining Barry Ganetzky's Drosophila laboratory; his doctoral research led to a pair of Cell papers in the early 1990s. Kernan undertook postdoctoral work in Drosophila on mechanotransduction with Charles S. Zuker (Pew Scholar Class of 1988) at the University of California, San Diego, and from there he accepted a faculty position at SUNY Stony Brook. At the end of the interview Kernan discusses setting up his laboratory and research program and learning to be a laboratory manager. He also discusses funding, teaching, balancing family life with his career, competition and collaboration, the nation's scientific agenda, and the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
Andrew Camilli was born in Lima, Ohio, a factory town, the fifth of seven children. After Andrew's birth, the family moved to Flint, Michigan, where his father worked as a banker. Camilli's parents were both quite influential in his intellectual development, both being proponents of obtaining a good education. His father's broad interests also introduced Andrew to science at a young age. He attended a public grammar school and then a parochial high school while in Flint, reading about science, being interested in and playing sports (though not for high school teams). He enrolled at the University of Michigan, Flint, intending to pursue a degree in computer science, but after taking a human genetics course, he decided he wanted a career in biological research. Soon he transferred to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to study biology and medical microbiology. While an undergraduate he had the opportunity to work in Robert B. Helling's and Julian Adams's laboratories, as well an opportunity to intern during his summers at Pharmacia and Upjohn (about which he addressed the pros and cons of being in industry). After graduation, Camilli matriculated at Washington University in St. Louis, rotating through Daniel A. Portnoy's, William L. Goldwin's, and Roy Curtiss III's laboratories. When Portnoy left for the University of Pennsylvania, Camilli followed in order to complete his doctoral work on the genes for virulence factors in Listeria monocytogenes. He undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in John J. Mekalanos's lab at Harvard University focusing on a recombinase reporter system for genetic expression before accepting a faculty position at the Tufts University School of Medicine. After setting up his own laboratory Camilli received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award providing him with funding to explore important and interesting directions in his research. Genes remained the central aspect of his science, so he focused his lab on genetic expression in Vibrio cholerae and gene regulation in Streptococcus pneumoniae, which, he acknowledges, has practical applications to understandings of health and disease. The interview concludes with Camilli's reflections on various topics related to his science, his life, and his career. He discusses the ways in which his role in the laboratory has changed over time, his teaching responsibilities, his management style, especially as it relates to his mentors' styles, and balancing his career with his family. He ends with his thoughts on competition in science; the national research agenda; collaboration; and, of course, what he enjoys most about being a scientist.
Gustavo Leone was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and lived there until he was twelve—he was the second of three children. His parents owned a deli, in which Leone worked too. Not being able to get ahead, the family moved to Montréal, Québec, Canada seeking better opportunities; a few years later, Leone's father died. From there the family moved to Calgary, Alberta. Leone played soccer much of the time, though he was also interested in marbles and street hockey. He got into fights regularly; he eventually began taking karate lessons. His only outstanding memory of school is that he loved high school biology. Leone entered the University of Calgary, where he did not do well his first year. He left school for a year and a half; he and his girlfriend bought a motorcycle and traveled through Canada, the United States, and Central America, eventually ending up in Uruguay. When they ran out of money they returned to Canada, where Leone began college anew. He worked hard and did well, intending to become a doctor. After his third year he spent the summer working in Patrick Lee's lab. He loved that work so much he knew he was made for research. He married his fellow-traveler girlfriend and remained in Lee's lab for his PhD, where he worked on reovirus and began work on cell cycles. He loved the work, sometimes even sleeping on a cot in the lab. Feeling that he had much to learn, he delayed finishing his PhD for a year, focusing his research on experiments with oligomerization, the results of which ended up conflicting with those of a Harvard University group. During these years he and his wife had two children. Lee advised Leone to go to Duke University to work with Joseph Nevins. There he studied cell cycle with James DeGregori, who had lived in Uruguay for a year. The two hit it off and published an important paper before DeGregori left Duke. From Nevins Leone says he learned mentoring and lab management as well as a great deal of science. Leone engaged in protracted negotiations for a faculty position with University of Calgary, but when Ohio State University made him an enthusiastic offer, he and his family packed up and moved to Columbus. Changing technology brought the opportunity to study interrelationships among the E2F family members, which is where Leone sought a cure for some cancers, notably breast cancer. Seeing cancer as a complex disease needing collaboration and communication among people with differing approaches and goals, Leone established Tumor Microenvironment. He is also one of the heads of the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center. He continues to find the study of chemistry and genetics of cancer tissue important and fascinating. Leone concludes his interview with discussions of his administrative responsibilities; his publication history and methods; the connections between art and science; and the importance to him of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award.
Mark Davis grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the second of five children. His father was a civil engineer, his mother an architect. Davis took an early interest in science, thanks to wide reading and an influential high school biology teacher. Davis matriculated at Johns Hopkins University. Trouble in a mini organic chemistry class sent him to Peter Johnson's synthetic organic chemistry lab, where he helped produce two papers. He switched majors to biology because he thought it answered important questions. He worked in Michael Beer's lab, trying to sequence DNA with a transfer scanning microscope. Hopkins was known for its membrane biologists, and Davis, interested in molecular biology, wanted to combine the study of DNA with classical genetics studies. He consulted his advisors, who told him to take a physical chemistry class and suggested graduate studies at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). There he went into Edward Lewis' Drosophila lab, but he hated flies and found Lewis difficult to work with. He then went to Eric Davidson's lab, where he worked with Glen Galau and William Klein on sea urchins. Davidson was harshly critical and Davis found the lab atmosphere oppressive; he moved to Leroy Hood's lab. There he worked successfully with Philip Early, an early molecular biologist. Davis cloned the first mouse genomic library. His approach to science is to prepare thoroughly, to avoid what others do, and to look for variations. Davis's next move was to National Institutes of Health. In William Paul's lab he designed a general technology to find genes expressed at very low levels. At Ronald Schwartz's suggestion Davis used pulse field gel technology to discover delta chain of T-cell receptors. Recognizing that T-cell receptors are important for immunology, Davis, the only molecular biologist in his department, began his work on T-cell receptors, work that continues today. Davis still works in his lab, which is beginning to do biochemical work on T-cells, trying to engineer expression of membrane proteins in soluble form. His lab is also working with transgenic mice, a more difficult system for which he gets help from Pamela Bjorkman and others. Davis applies to science the strategies of fencing; he compares the principles of economy and mastery in fencing to samurai movies.
Markus D. Meister was born in Siegsdorf, Germany, a small town in Swabian Germany, in the foothills of the Alps. His father completed a PhD in physics, and when Markus was a young boy the family moved to the village of Ranco, Italy, near the small town of Ispra, where Markus's father worked for Euratom. Markus's mother was a housewife, staying at home with Markus and his younger brother. When Markus was seven the family moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory in upstate New York, where his father worked for two years. They lived on site in barracks that were still used to house visitors. Markus's father was able to take his children to work there, as he had not been able to do at Euratom. Markus particularly remembers walking through a particle accelerator tunnel and seeing the particle-bending magnets. As a child, Markus loved mathematics (his father was once accused of raising a "math animal"), and he considered studying math at university, but his father advised against it so going into physics was inevitable. After returning to Europe, Markus went to the "European School," a school that had been established for the children of Euratom employees, as they came from many different countries and spoke different languages. His curriculum in high school was the modern language/natural sciences curriculum; his languages were French and English and his science physics. Markus attended the University of Munich, in part because the political situation in Italy was chaotic; at the university he felt less challenged than he had expected to, and he decided to apply to schools in the United States. He was accepted into the PhD program at California Institute of Technology and spent his first year or so trying to catch up to his classmates. He was recruited into Edward C. Stone's cosmic-ray lab, a place he found exciting, and sometimes had the night shift at the jet propulsion lab. When NASA's budget was radically reduced Markus began to look around for an alternative; he decided to switch his course of study to biology. Howard C. Berg had given a colloquium about flagellar motion to physicists, a talk that really pushed Meister in that direction. He spent a summer in Berg's lab and was given permission to write his PhD thesis for Berg, as long as it dealt with the physics of biological systems. Meister accepted a postdoc at Stanford University in Denis Baylor's lab. From there the rigor of neuroscience attracted him, and he developed an interest in human visual perception. He considered a position at the University of California at San Diego but decided to accept Harvard's offer of an assistant professorship in the medical school. He now has tenure there and continues to enjoy his research; to look for funding; to publish; and to balance his work and his life with his wife, Elizabeth Anne Gibb, an architect, and his young daughter, Michela.
David E. Fisher grew up in Highland Park, New Jersey, the second of three children. His grandparents and their extended families had escaped Germany just in time—his grandfathers actually from camps—and settled ultimately in Chile. Some then went to Cuba and then to the United States or Israel. David's father obtained his PhD in biochemistry and nutrition from Rutgers University and then founded their department of nutrition, in which he still works. Fisher's mother became a musician and plays and teaches in the area. David and his siblings all had to learn to play piano, beginning at age five, and later a stringed instrument. David played cello, his siblings violin. His first piano and cello teachers had a strong influence on both his approach to music and his strong work ethic. Fisher was raised in the Conservative Jewish tradition, but his wife's conversion to Judaism led him to become Orthodox. Fisher attended what he calls "terrific" public schools, where he excelled. During summers he went to music camp. Fisher decided to pursue a career in medicine, attending the Curtis Institute of Music and Swarthmore College concurrently. He spent his first college summer in his father's lab, from which he published his first paper. Through Maxine Singer he obtained a summer position in Robert Weinberg's lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his third summer; here he discovered molecular biology and oncology. Although he still wanted to be a doctor, he also wanted to work in the lab, so he decided to pursue a joint MD/PhD degree at Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Rockefeller University. He did his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. At the end of his residency he married. He then began his research in Henry Kunkel's immunology lab; in Günter Blobel's laboratory he completed thesis projects on systemic lupus erythematosis and T-cells. Fisher then talks about his fellowships in adult and pediatric oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston; his studies of TFEB transcription factor as a postdoctoral student in Phillip Sharp's laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the births of his children. He then accepted a research position at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He talks about grant writing; funding; the impact of his grant from the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences; his teaching duties; and minority students and women in the graduate programs and on the faculty at Harvard University. He continues with an explanation of the makeup and management of his lab; his administrative responsibilities; publishing; traveling; clinical responsibilities; and balancing his clinical and science duties. His current research on apoptosis and on microphthalmia transcription factor (Mitf) in melanocytes and osteoclasts fills out the interview, leading to a description of a typical day for Fisher. He hopes for clinical applications of his research projects, and explains some of his future research plans. He gives us his opinions on such matters as serendipity in science, patents, competition vs. collaboration; scientific ethics; career satisfaction; and his long-term goals. He finishes with his favorite memories and his pride in his teaching award.
Hans C. Oettgen was born in Cologne, Germany, spent some time in Nairobi, Kenya, but was raised mostly in New Canaan, Connecticut, the eldest of three children. His mother was a teacher; his father was a researcher in immunology and a physician in internal medicine who, eventually, worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Oettgen enjoyed school, especially math, reading, and spending time outdoors. His family often went camping in the Adirondacks and spent summers traveling by train and/or by boat throughout Europe. He had a chemistry set though his interest in math led him more towards computer programming than performing experiments. He spent time in his father's lab during his childhood, but in high school he worked in some of his father's colleagues labs, mostly doing technical work without understanding the fundamental scientific questions being investigated, until he had the chance to do research involving the isolation of a particular protein from peanuts, called peanut lectin, which binds to a sugar structure and is expressed on some cancer malignancies. He was also in the Boy Scouts of America, was (and is) an avid photographer, and knew that he wanted a broad liberal arts education even though he intended to pursue science or medicine as a career. Oettgen matriculated at Williams College, majoring in chemistry, but ultimately choosing to attend medical school. He began his medical studies at the Harvard Medical School; the summer after his first year, though, gave him the chance to work with Cornelius P. Terhorst at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center conducting research on B lymphocytes, using protein chemistry to describe B-1 and B-2. While at Harvard he decided to move into the MD/PhD program and continued to work with Terhorst, writing his thesis on the biochemical characterization of T-cell-receptor structure. After completing his residency in 1990, Oettgen was slotted to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship with David Baltimore at the Whitehead Institute, but Baltimore's move to Rockefeller University in New York City prompted Oettgen to do his fellowship with Philip Leder in genetics. As a postdoc he developed a mouse without the gene for immunoglobulin E (IgE). He then accepted a position at Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, researching the role of IgE in immune function. At the end of the interview Oettgen talks about the process of writing journal articles; balancing family and career; his leisure activities; the source of his ideas; and the impact of technology on his work. He concludes the interview with a discussion of competition and collaboration in science; the grant-writing process; the role of the scientist in educating the public about science; the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on his work; his children; and the benefits of having a clinical practice and doing basic science.
Martyn D. Goulding was born in 1958 in Auckland, New Zealand; the eldest of five siblings. His father was a blue-collar worker, originally from the Fiji Islands, who would later open his own plumbing manufacturing company. Goulding's mother suffered from increasing disabilities caused by polio during her childhood, and she worked several jobs intermittently. His family attended church regularly, as his maternal grandfather was a church minister; an experience which he credits as one of his most positive influences. Through high school and other influences Goulding came to appreciate science and medicine and decided to apply to medical school. Goulding attended Auckland University Medical School with the original intention of earning an MD degree. His first laboratory experience with Raymond K. Ralph, however, gave him a newfound interest in research and he decided to switch to a PhD program. Goulding stayed on in Ralph's lab studying the role of cyclic AMP in tumor cell growth regulation for which he earned a Bachelor of Science degree; he then did research on c-fos and other oncogenes to earn a PhD He also met and married his wife, Yolanda Leenders, during his time at Auckland University. In 1988 Goulding began as a postdoctoral fellow in Peter Gruss's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, in Göttingen, Germany. During his time in Gruss's Lab, Goulding focused his research on PAX genes and their role in notochord development. He then spent some time in England, where he was a senior research fellow at Guy's Hospital, and spent five months doing research at the University of Nottingham. In 1992 Goulding was appointed Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego and was also appointed Assistant Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California. His current research concentrates on spinal chord interneurons and the genes and transcription factors which during development are crucial to the appropriate growth and function of these interneurons. Throughout his oral history Goulding emphasizes that the goal of any true researcher should be to seek the truth, and cautions against financially motivated research. He has received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant, which he discusses in the oral history.
Karin M. Reinisch grew up in Massachusetts, one of two daughters. Her father was a physicist, a professor at University of Massachusetts; her mother was a housewife. Her parents were immigrants from Germany, and Reinisch spoke only German until she began school. She had always liked science and languages; she learned Spanish in high school and went on exchange trips to Mexico and Spain. When deciding on a career she considered medicine but chose science instead. Reinisch attended Harvard University, where she majored in chemistry, liking to solve problems, but not liking labs. She had Maitland Jones and George Whitesides as professors, both of whom she considered quite good; she worked in the Whitesides lab, where she became interested in structural biology. She stayed at Harvard for graduate school; there she worked on methyltransferase in William Lipscomb's lab. Reinisch's thesis research became a paper for Cell. Another important event at graduate school was meeting and marrying her future husband, a teaching assistant in one of her classes. After completing her PhD Reinisch accepted a postdoc in Stephen Harrison's lab, where she worked on her reovirus project and published a paper in Nature. From there she accepted a position in Yale University's cell biology department. At the end of the interview she describes developing her own lab, recruiting postdocs, and her current projects. She also discusses her use of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant money; the Mathers Foundation grant; and National Institutes of Health grants. Reinisch continues with an explanation of membrane trafficking; peptide-loading complex; and the importance of getting crystals with high diffraction resolution. She talks about the necessity for confidentiality regarding the lab's work (prior to publication); the Protein Data Bank; and her responsibilities to the scientific community, including attending seminars and conferences; grant-writing; reviewing papers; and teaching. She talks about ethics classes, cultural differences, the future of membrane trafficking, women in science, and science education. She concludes with a description of her husband's job and balancing work life and family life.
Jeffrey T. Holt was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan—the "Cereal City"—the middle child of three siblings. His father was an electrical engineer who worked for the Kellogg Company in packaging-type machines; his mother was a homemaker. Holt had what he considered a typical childhood, though he developed a great interest in playing piano and then the organ. He won a scholarship to attend the Interlochen Center for the Arts summer camp and was a finalist in the concerto competition; he also decided to play the organ for his church. Norman Rubell, a high school biology teacher who taught using the Socratic method, proved to be quite influential. He attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan, in part because it was close to his home, intending to pursue both music and premed majors, though he ultimately gave up music. Kalamazoo did not provide any opportunities for laboratory research. Following (somewhat) in his brother's footsteps, Holt went on to matriculate at the University of Michigan to pursue his medical doctorate. After completing medical school he went on to his residency in pathology at the Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester, before beginning postdoctoral work in the Arthur W. Nienhuis lab at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, studying globin mRNA in thalassemia and investigating the effects of antisense fos. Some of the research in the Nienhuis lab was stymied due to leakage from the Xenopus oocyte nuclei which undermined transport experiments. From there he went on to a faculty position in the Departments of Cell Biology and of Pathology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Throughout the interview Holt talks about the ways in which the practice of medicine differs from research, applying insights in pathology to cancer research, and the difficulties in applying molecular biology cancer research in practice. He also discusses how the antisense field gained acceptance and his application for a patent on a topical antisense delivery system. The interview concludes with his thoughts on applying fos antisense research to human cancer; searching for transcriptional differences between c-fos and v-fos; Marilyn D. Resh's study of reticulocyte lysates and myrisylation; and Inder M. Verma's mapping of the fos phosphorylation site. Holt ends the interview with reflections on his decision not to patent his HL60 leukemia cell antisense; marketing basic science research to the public; and the need to try risky experiments.
William C. Sha was born in New York City but moved as a young child to Chicago, Illinois, where his father, and then his mother, worked at the Argonne National Laboratory. Sha's father received a doctoral degree in nuclear engineering and his mother deferred graduate education in order to raise the family's children (Sha has two older sisters). He attended public schools and received an education that he considered quite typical, though he did have the opportunity during high school to work and publish with Ejup N. Ganic before he became President of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sha matriculated at the University of Chicago, where he majored in chemistry and worked with Stephen Lee in Jeremy K. Burdett's laboratory. While in college, he worked at Argonne National Laboratory with Ely M. Gelbard, a formative experience that helped convince him to enter an MD/PhD program. Sha joined the MD/PhD program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he completed his doctorate of philosophy in immunology with Dennis Y. Loh before accepting a postdoctoral fellowship with David Baltimore at Rockefeller University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While in Baltimore's lab Sha worked on NF-kappaB transcription factors (during the interview he also provided his perspective on the Imanishi-Kari affair). At the end of his postdoctoral research Sha accepted a position at the University of California, Berkeley, conducting immunology research on the role of costimulatory molecules in regulating the immune response and on B- and T lymphocyte cell interactions. In his oral history interview Sha discusses topics such as his family history, the impact of his dual degrees on his research projects, writing journal articles, patents, the role of government in science, broader issues related to the conduct of science, and the ways in which the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences played a part in his scientific career.
Daniel S. Kessler was raised in Binghamton, New York, the youngest of three siblings. His mother was a public school teacher; his father taught at Binghamton University and was a published poet. Much of Kessler's life was spent within an academic world, with undergraduate and graduate student and faculty stopping by his family's home. The family also traveled when Kessler's father was on sabbatical, at one point providing Kessler with the opportunity to attend school in Hawaii, during which time he was exposed to the wonderment of science and, especially, marine biology. His time in public schools in Binghamton was typical, though being involved with the university allowed him access to outlets for his interest in music. Kessler matriculated at Cornell University for his undergraduate degree; it was not until he worked in Stanley A. Zahler's bacterial genetics laboratory that he decided to become a scientist. He then went on the Rockefeller University in New York City, New York, for his graduate studies. At Rockefeller, Kessler worked with James Darnell on interferon signaling proteins (the STATs) identifying the activation of STATs in response to interferons, the STAT complex, and its regulation; during this time he also had the opportunity to learn structural biology at Oxford University in Anthony R. Rees's laboratory as part of a summer exchange program and to attend Ronald McKay's summer course in neurobiology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Following his PhD , Kessler decided to pursue postdoctoral research in developmental biology on the regulation of the mesoderm and endoderm germ layers by the transformation growth factor beta signaling molecule, Vgl, with Douglas A. Melton at Harvard University. He then accepted a faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to work on the control of mesoderm and endoderm germ layer formation, the behavior of nodal signals during different stages of embryogenesis, and the formation of the Spemann organizer. Throughout his oral history interview Kessler discusses issues like scientific funding; the grant-writing process; the role of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award for his work; balancing family and career; his future projects incorporating other model systems into his research strategies for studying endoderm germ layer differentiation and dorsal body axis formation; and the history of science and his research. The interview ends a discussion of what Kessler thinks about being a principal investigator, and concludes with more on his father's career.
Chavela M. Carr grew up near Indianapolis, Indiana in a large family. From early childhood she was interested in school, finding the math-based sciences interesting. Due to a high school human genetics course, Carr decided to pursue molecular biology as an undergraduate. She attended Vanderbilt University, studying German, earning Phi Beta Kappa, and remaining involved in choir and musical theatre. More importantly for her future career, however, Carr also worked with Douglas R. Cavener on Drosophila genetics, a research laboratory experience that differed in distinct ways from her general science laboratory courses. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with honors and awards, Carr attended MIT for graduate work in biology. Soon she joined the laboratory of Peter S. Kim (Pew Scholar Class of 1990) and began researching protein-protein interactions and coiled coils. There she began a long-term collaboration and friendship with Frederick M. Hughson. In 1993 Carr published a Cell paper on the spring-loaded mechanism of conformational change in flu-virus—a paper which merited news releases in the New York Times and Washington Post. After completing her PhD, Carr moved to New Haven, Connecticut to join Peter J. Novick’s laboratory at Yale University, where she wanted to begin working on a yeast model system; her work and publications on the Sec1 proteins binding to SNARES proved controversial and have only recently been resolved. While at Yale Carr met her husband Hays S. Rye, introducing the ‘two-body’ problem to both of their career tracks. Upon receiving a position at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Carr began her research group and soon received the Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Science Award, which she recounted at length. Carr discussed her current research and the difficulties associated with publishing and funding during the oral history and she ended the interview talking about biomedical science more broadly, including the public perception of science and science education.
John M. Leong was born and raised in Berkeley, California, the third of three siblings. His parents are Chinese-American and had what John calls typical Chinese expectations for their children; viz. , that all three should do well in school and attend Ivy League colleges, and that the boys, at least, should become doctors. This was particularly the case because John's grandfather was a dentist and his father a doctor manqué who became a mining engineer in order to support his family. John, however, was more interested in sports as a boy, playing tennis especially. He did well enough in school, though, to be accepted by a number of Ivy League colleges. He matriculated at Brown University in their Program in Liberal Medical Education, which grants both a BS and an MD degree in a shortened time period. When he began college he was unsure what he wanted to do, but a class in molecular biology inspired him to become a research scientist. He decided to take time off from medicine in favor of earning a PhD. He entered Arthur Landy's lab, where he began working on φ80. During this time, he commuted for a few months to Mimi Susskind's lab at University of Massachusetts, where he worked with Philip Youderian on P22. John accepted a postdoc at Tufts University, in Ralph Isberg's lab, though that lab had not yet been set up. There he worked on the inv gene of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, from which he was nudged toward working on the Lyme spirochete. Deciding to accept a position in the medical school at Tufts University, he studied integrin binding and proteoglycan binding with B. burgdorferi in his attempts to characterize genes that encode ligands in B. burgdorferi. Although he found that the clinical perspective provided by an MD degree made Lyme disease interesting, Leong felt that he thought more as a basic scientist, and he accepted a position at the University of Massachusetts. He has found that Lyme is a difficult experimental study and that there is a hostile political climate surrounding the study of Lyme, and he is thinking that he will work on enterohemorrhagic E. coli. He laughingly points out that there is more grant money in E. coli, too, an important factor for any scientist. Although he likes his work, Leong says that he would also like to spend more time with his young daughter and his wife, who is a physician; and he would like to play more tennis. He believes that balancing act is faced by all two-career couples.
Robert C. De Lisle was born in Buffalo, New York, the fourth of seven children. His father was an electrical engineer who holds patents on several of his inventions and who, now that he is retired, is studying cosmology for fun. De Lisle credits his father with influencing him (Robert) to think, as well as to do whatever he (Robert) was interested in. A home filled with growing children becomes crowded, and Buffalo weather is not conducive to outdoor fun, so De Lisle's father built each child a small room in the basement. There Robert built models. When Heathkits became available, De Lisle's father built a color television set and a stereo. Watching and talking with his father aroused and reinforced Robert's interest in science, in how things are put together and how they work. Robert was always interested in and did well in science and math. He considers high school mostly a waste of time, but he had an inspiring math teacher (Nello Allegrezzo) and two good biology classes that cemented his desire to be a biologist. Having won a National Merit Scholarship that paid his whole tuition to any state school, De Lisle entered the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. He lived at home, commuting daily. There he was able to indulge his love of learning, taking classes of all kinds, and, since his science classes were all lab classes, to learn that he loved working at the bench. He decided that a biology major required further education, so he applied to graduate school, entering Case Western Reserve. There he worked in the Ulrich Hopfer laboratory, doing research on the pancreas. He visited the Max-Planck Institut also. After finishing his PhD, he accepted a postdoc at the University of California at San Francisco, working with John Williams. When Williams went to the University of Michigan, De Lisle followed. At Michigan De Lisle collaborated with Motoji Kitagawa, who was studying the molecular mechanisms in exocytosis. Eventually De Lisle accepted a position at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He set up his laboratory and married Eileen Roach, who had been a technician in Williams' lab. He continues his interest in and work on the pancreas and gastrointestinal system. He is currently working on two broad projects: what muclin protein does in the exocrine pancreas; and applications to cystic fibrosis, which he points out was originally called cystic fibrosis of the pancreas. In his occasional spare time he loves to build furniture.