Matthew L. Meyerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of three children. His family moved several times before finally settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when Matthew was seven. His parents were both academics in city planning and then college professors. His father became president of State University of New York at Buffalo and then the University of Pennsylvania; he was the first Jewish president of a major university. His mother taught sociology and then was on Philadelphia's City Planning Commission. Meyerson's interest in science began early: he loved to collect rocks and minerals and thought he might become a geologist. His first influential teacher was his fourth-grade teacher, who had the students do science experiments. His ninth-grade biology teacher was especially inspiring. His extracurricular activities included fencing, at which he was competitive; running; and exploring the outdoors. He also played the piano. He read extensively and still loves to read. He decided early to attend Harvard University. College experiences included an overwhelming math class that cemented his resolve to become an experimental scientist, rather than a theoretical scientist. He did research on quinones during college in Leslie Dutton's laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and on enzyme evolution in Steven Benner's laboratory at Harvard. He spent a year in Japan at the University of Kyoto and then began medical school. Meyerson entered the joint health sciences and technology graduate program at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His medical school experiences included meeting his future wife, who was also a medical student. Meyerson pursued doctoral research on cyclin-dependent kinases involved in cell-cycle regulation in Edward Harlow's laboratory at Harvard. He did his residency in clinical pathology. Meanwhile, he and his wife, by now doing her own residency in pediatrics, began their family, which eventually grew to four children. Meyerson accepted a postdoctoral fellowship on cell immortalization in Robert Weinberg's laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Here he discusses the running of the Harlow lab; the process of conducting scientific research; his collaboration with Christopher Counter at MIT on telomerase genes in yeast; and his work in cell-cycle genetics identifying human telomerase gene activity and cell immortalization. He compares Weinberg's mentoring style with his own. Meyerson accepted a position at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and set up his lab to accord with his decision to work on lung-cancer genetics. He talks about the running of his lab and about his funding history. Meyerson discusses his research on cancer genomics, functional biochemistry, and computational subtraction genetic analysis; and broader applications of his work genetically targeting drug treatment for lung cancer. Meyerson's current research is focused on genomics sequencing cancer causing mutations. He talks about the process of writing journal articles; his role in the lab and his management style; his teaching responsibilities and philosophy; science versus religion; foreign students in science; and being a principal investigator. He answers questions about the grant-writing process; how he would go about setting the national science agenda; his view of the issue of patents; and David Livingston's mentorship. Meyerson concludes by explaining his professional and personal goals and talking about the difficulty balancing family and career.
Jeffery D. Molkentin was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the elder of two brothers. Molkentin's mother worked at Briggs & Stratton; his maternal grandfather and his stepfather (from whom he has his surname) played significant roles in his life. Molkentin had, according to his own account, a fairly typical childhood in Milwaukee. It was not until his freshman year of high school that he became very interested in his own education; it was then that he began to excel scholastically. Upon graduation Molkentin chose to attend Marquette University, where his interest in medicine led him down the pre-medical path, ultimately to the University of Wisconsin Medical School. While in medical school, though, he came to realize that the realities of being a doctor did not appeal to him, but that the science of medicine and scientific practice did. As a result, he entered the laboratory of Lee Ann Baxter Lowe at the Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, and completed his doctoral degree with Bruce E. Markham at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where his research focused on transcriptional regulation of the alpha-myosin heavy chain gene in heart muscle. From there he moved on to a postdoctoral fellowship to study transcription mechanisms in myogenesis with Eric Olson at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. At the end of the interview Molkentin discusses his family and his attempts to balance his family with his career, especially with regard to accepting a position at the University of Cincinnati. There, he has pursued research in developmental biology on the molecular genetic events in heart and skeletal muscle growth. He discusses his goals for his laboratory, as well as his future research on the heart and heart disease. Additionally, he relates his thoughts on broad topics such as research collaborations between academia and industry, the impact of technology on research, creativity in science, and privatization of research, among other topics. Molkentin also talks about his laboratory in depth, including his management style, his criteria for prioritizing his research projects, and the gender make up of his lab. He concludes his interview by discussing the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award on his work, and other aspects of being a principal investigator.
Marjorie A. Oettinger grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, the younger of two children. Her father was a professor at Harvard University; her mother taught biology at Harvard University; and her brother went to Harvard University as well. Her father's family was from Nürnberg; they left before World War II, lived in France for several years, and then came to America. Later, Oettinger visited Germany with her father, both finding it a distressing experience. She attended the Commonwealth School in Boston for her last two years of high school, though with her parents' influence on her interests, she was had difficulty deciding what she wanted to pursue as a career. Oettinger entered Harvard thinking she would major in physics, but when she read Gunther S. Stent's Molecular Genetics she decided on biology. She worked in the Kevin Struhl lab as an undergraduate and decided to pursue both a PhD and an MD Working under Struhl, she enjoyed the intellectual challenge and the camaraderie of lab work. While still an undergraduate, she trained high school students and undergraduates in the lab. After working in Struhl's lab for a year Oettinger entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s graduate program in the health sciences and technology (HST). She attended a David Baltimore lecture on allelic exclusion and immediately decided to enter the Baltimore lab. There she collaborated with David G. Schatz on the recombination of V(D)J in fibroblasts. She discovered that RAG-1 and RAG-2 synergistically activate V(D)J recombination, explaining why she was predisposed to accept the idea that nonidentical genes with related functions could be located near each other. Oettinger was uncertain about her future after graduate school. She finally decided not to pursue an M. D; instead she accepted a faculty position at Harvard. At this point in the interview, she reflected on the status and successes of her own lab; her collaboration with the Martin F. Gellert lab; collaboration and competition in science in general; differences between the David Baltimore lab and the Kevin Struhl lab; the importance of camaraderie in the lab; and funding. She concludes the interview by discussing her dismay over the increasing tendency to fund clinical rather than basic research. She feels that her criteria for choosing research projects must now include factors like fundability and probability of publications rather than just interest or importance to her. For this reason she feels that private and interim grants like the Pew Scholars award are wonderful. While teaching in China for a month, she found that scientists there were chosen for political reasons rather as a matter of merit, but that they had a great deal of the newest and best equipment. The interview ends with Oettinger's insights on aspects of child-bearing and -rearing and her view of the need for further research on human infertility.
Jean T. Greenberg was raised, principally, in New York City with her mother, though she spent weekends in Connecticut with her father; Greenberg had one older brother. Her father was a physician with "the heart" of a scientist; her mother was interested in the arts and worked as a multi-faceted assistant to an author. Greenberg attended private schools in New York City throughout her childhood, but found them unable to cope with students who had interests that went beyond the curriculum or those who were more advanced than their classmates. She maintained strong friendships with peers interested in the humanities and the arts, but found herself much more interested in mathematics and the sciences. Her time outside of school was occupied with enjoying the culture and opportunities of New York City, working, and the weekend commutes to Connecticut. Greenberg applied early to, and was accepted at, Barnard College, where she continued her New York City life while earning her undergraduate degree. Working in a biophysics lab piqued her interest and she decided to apply to biophysics programs for graduate school, ultimately deciding to attend Harvard University. At Harvard, she chose to work in Bruce Demple's laboratory defining the genes involved in the control of the adaptive responses to oxidative stress in bacteria, and appreciating the freedom and personal attention this decision provided, as well as the strong support group of other students and professors in the Boston area. From there, she and her future husband, Adam Driks, decided to remain in Boston and Greenberg began a postdoctoral fellowship in Frederick M. Ausubel's laboratory at Harvard, studying disease resistance and symptoms in the plant Arabidopsis. After her postdoctoral work, she accepted a position at the University of Colorado, Boulder, mapping and characterizing the genes involved in disease resistance, and then at the University at Chicago, working on adaptive resistance to disease, on a pathogen's ability to elicit disease, and on the biology of disease symptoms. At the end of the interview, Greenberg talks about the process of writing journal articles; her lab management style and her professional responsibilities; creativity in science; setting the national science agenda; and the role of the scientist to inform the public. She finishes with a discussion of the privatization of research; and the role of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences in her research.
Lee W. Riley was born Hiroshi Satoyoshi: he spent his first ten years with his mother in Yokohama, Japan, then lived for a short time in a Japanese orphanage before being adopted by the Riley family, at which time he moved to Tachikawa, outside Tokyo, Japan. The family moved to Bangkok, Thailand, in time for Riley to attend high school there. Like his biological parents, his adoptive father was African-American and his mother Japanese; Riley has two sisters who were adopted as well. In Riley's early years his Japanese, schoolteacher grandfather had a great influence on his schooling, encouraging his questioning nature; living in Japan in the aftermath of World War II impacted Riley's perspectives on life, as well as his Buddhist heritage and being multiethnic. Riley attended an international high school in Bangkok, about which he talks at length, and had several influential teachers who stimulated his early interest in physics. Riley decided not to attend a Japanese university, but Stanford University instead; he wanted to become a physician and practice medicine in Bangkok. Aware during the sixties of the countercultural movement and anxious about the draft at Stanford, Riley found his perceptions of the American presence in Southeast Asia changing. His growing interest in public health led him to spend a year in Japan after college. Riley chose to enroll the University of California, San Francisco, to pursue his medical degree; during his first year he undertook a clinical rotation in a missionary hospital in Thailand. After deciding to shift from clinical medicine to public health he completed his internship and residency at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He found interesting the differences between the types of medical conditions encountered in New York and those encountered in Thailand, and he entered the Epidemiologic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he used enteric pathogen fingerprinting technology to identify strains of Salmonella and identified E. coli 0157:H7 as the cause of an outbreak in Oregon. Riley then accepted a postdoc in the Gary Schoolnik lab at Stanford to study enteropathogenic E. coli using molecular biology technology. Next he studied tuberculosis (TB) for two years in India and published a paper in Science identifying the invasion gene for TB. He then proceeded to an assistant professorship at Cornell University Medical College, where he worked on devising a technique to identify primary and reactivation TB. Through his understanding of the molecular basis for disease transmission he identified why a high percentage of drug users in New York City had a particular strain of tuberculosis. Riley's interest in approaching biological questions from the standpoint of public health led him to work on developing a Salmonella vaccine for chickens. From Cornell Riley accepted a position as professor of infectious disease and epidemiology at University of California, Berkeley, and he has since become Director of the Fogarty International Center Global Health Equity Scholars Program at University of California, Berkeley, where he continues to work on TB pathogenesis, drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections, and global health focusing on infectious diseases of urban slums. During the interview Riley discusses his acquisition of the scientific skills and knowledge necessary to accomplish his research goals; his belief in the need to make science understandable to the public and obstacles to that understanding; the scientific community's response to his dual focus on epidemiology and pathogenesis; his desire to advance on the strength of his work rather than through self-advertising; and his relationship with other Pew Scholars. He elaborates on his decision to work with Stanley Falkow and Gary Schoolnik at Stanford and explains how he collaborated with Schoolnik to establish the geographic medicine program at Stanford. He concludes his interview by describing how he attempts to balance career and life with his wife, Jesse Frances Furman, and three children.
Jonathan M. Horowitz was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father was a food photographer and his mother a housewife who later returned to work for a foundation. His family was "culturally" Jewish; their holidays were celebrated mostly with food rather than religious ceremonies. From an early age Horowitz was interested in science, particularly in "small things"; by high school age he had decided to obtain a PhD and become a researcher in molecular biology, á la Francis Crick. He attended a new—and at that time trendy—high school where there were no competition, no sports, no grades; there he even designed his own courses. Following what he describes as a "common theme" in his life, namely no planning, he decided to go to Brown University because someone he knew was a student there. She told Horowitz that Brown was unstructured, so he could skip classwork and just do research in a lab. At Brown, having to take classes after all, he struggled during his first year and was given a last chance to do well. He did finish, but with a poor grade point average. During his last year he took an ultrastructure class, in which he worked with Lloyd Matsumoto, an electron microscopy expert in Peter Shank's lab. Horowitz says that his main accomplishment in that lab was to have met his future wife, who was working there as a technician. For graduate school, Horowitz was accepted at University of Wisconsin and at Johns Hopkins University. Not having investigated very much, he "asked around" as to which school he should attend. The brother of someone down the hall from Horowitz's lab ran a lab at Wisconsin, so Horowitz decided to go to Wisconsin. There he began with a rotation with Howard Temin; the rotation did not work out well, so Horowitz went to Rex Risser's lab to work on mouse retroviruses, notably strains of leukemia. When his wife accepted a job at Harvard, Horowitz had to find a postdoc in the Boston area. Shifting his interest from retroviruses to oncogenes, he again "asked around" and was referred to Robert Weinberg's lab at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Originally working on ras protein, he eventually switched to Rb, sequencing the Rb gene and trying to develop antibodies against it. In collaboration with Edward Harlow Horowitz discovered that Rb is an E1A-binding protein and mapped the E1A- binding region on Rb. Finishing their postdocs, Horowitz and his wife had to find a place where both could have jobs. Horowitz's wife found a position at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, and Horowitz accepted an assistant professorship at Duke University. There he spent much of his time seeking support for his research. Duke's commitment to cancer research was hardly unwavering, and Horowitz's identity as a molecular cancer biologist counted against him in the tenure decision. When he was not granted tenure he accepted an associate professorship at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine; here he finds much more support for his research, though he is still establishing his lab. He continues to work with the Rb gene; to seek funding; to publish; and to balance his work with his wife and two children.
Michael D. Sheets, the oldest of three children, was born in West Lafayette, Indiana, while his father was studying at Purdue University. When Michael was about five, his father moved the family to East Lansing, Michigan, so that he (Michael's father) could obtain a master's degree; then they all moved back to a small town in Indiana; and the elder Sheets became a teacher of science and of industrial arts in high school. Sheets' mother had an associate's degree in accounting but chose to stay at home with her children. They lived on a very small farm, with a few animals and a large vegetable garden, and they were involved with 4H. Sheets liked to read; the family subscribed to the Time-Life Series of books, and their grandmother had a wall filled with National Geographics, both of which further increased his interests. Sheets entered Purdue unsure just what he would study. Though he was interested in many of the sciences, he did not see a clear science path in the same way that he saw certain pre-professional options, but a counselor encouraged him to get lab experience, so he worked in Morris Levy's plant ecology lab his freshman year. After that year he switched to a chicken lab where he worked on gene expression. Excited by molecular biology but still not certain where to go to graduate school, he took Brian Larkins's advice and applied to the University of Wisconsin because they could provide a good general science education, as well as illuminating the many possibilities in science. There Michael worked on polyadenylation of RNA in Marvin Wickens's lab. He stayed in Wickens's lab for an extra two-year postdoc. He also met his future wife, Catherine Fox, in Wickens's lab, and they married just before going off to their postdocs. Sheets accepted a postdoc at University of California at Berkeley, working in John Gerhart's laboratory, where he developed an antibody library for studying gene function during frog development. From Berkeley Michael and his wife had to find jobs at the same institution; the University of Wisconsin was their choice, as they love both the school and Madison, Wisconsin. Today, Sheets continues his research on regulating gene expression in vertebrate development. He works at the bench, teaches, writes grant proposals and journal articles, and ponders the applicability of his research for clinical use. In addition, he and his wife have recently adopted a young son. Balancing work life and family life in a two-scientist family is difficult at best, but with his son's appearance, this balancing has become ever more complicated, though far more rewarding.
Margaret C. Kielian grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, the third of four children. Her father was an accountant with the Army Corps of Engineers; her mother was a homemaker. She became interested in science at an early age. She had a chemistry set that at one time caused an explosion, leaving a blob mark on the ceiling, and she had a fish tank that was a great source of protozoa that she liked to study under a microscope. Her parents were interested in and exposed her to many cultural things as well. Kielian attended Roman Catholic schools, where she found that she had some good teachers. Her physics and chemistry teacher and her biology teacher were very good, encouraging her curiosity and interest. Her family had hiking trips and picnics in national parks and forests, and these trips also stimulated her love of nature. A summer National Science Foundation program at the University of Kansas inspired her decision to become a microbiologist. She won a Betty Crocker scholarship which helped pay for college. Kielian attended the University of Nebraska, where she majored in microbiology. She considered Stanford and Rockefeller Universities for graduate school and was encouraged to attend Rockefeller. She worked in William Bowers' lab, then took a summer lab course at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. Kielian discusses having and raising children while pursuing a science career and the challenges facing two-career couples. She talks about Zanvil A. Cohn, her thesis adviser. As she studied fusion of phagocytic vacuoles with lysosomes in the Cohn lab she became increasingly interested in molecular biology; she learned fluorescence polarization technique. Next Kielian went to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and then the University of Helsinki as a visiting scientist to learn techniques for working with Semliki Forest virus (SFV). From Finland she went to Yale University for postdoc with Ari Helenius; there she worked with viruses with an altered pH threshold for fusion. Then Kielian's research focus shifted to conformational changes in the spike protein. She isolated the mutant virus fus-1, which turned out to be a useful pH probe for work on endocytosis. At that point Albert Einstein College of Medicine vigorously recruited Kielian. She set up her lab with funding from National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, and Pew Foundation. Kielian's interview continues with more discussion of her lab's work on fusion in the SFV spike protein; the role of cholesterol in SFV infection; her collaboration with Carolyn Machamer; keeping up with literature in the field; experiments that did not produce usable lab results; Marianne T. Marquardt's work on cholesterol-depleted cells in the exit pathway; and an unexpected finding in Kielian's work on virus assembly and fusion. Kielian points to her scientific role models and discusses the representation of women on the Einstein faculty. She concludes the interview by telling of her academic responsibilities.
Richard W. Carthew was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, the second youngest, and only son, of four siblings. His father received a degree in civil engineering from Queen's University and worked for the province-run hydro-electric utility, Ontario Hydro; his mother was a homemaker. From an early age he was interested in exploring the great outdoors—studying insects, climbing trees, and the like—he played piano, and tobogganed. He excelled in school until junior high and high school when he found the subjects uninteresting, though he regained his interest during his senior year, especially due to classes in science (chemistry and biology) and mathematics. Carthew entered Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada with an interest in ecology; he had the opportunity to work for Seward R. Brown, an ecological paleontologist. Though he was hoping to be in the field for his senior thesis work, most of the research on which Brown wanted Carthew to work was laboratory based, serving to further his interest in science and resulting in a publication on the thermodynamics of photosynthetic adaptation to photon fluence rate in the cyanophyte. After completing his undergraduate degree he went on to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music while also pursuing a master's in botany at the University of Toronto. Then he became a research technician in Jack F. Greenblatt's laboratory at the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research at the university and contributed to work isolating three proteins that bind to RNA polymerase II; Greenblatt encouraged him to apply to graduate school. He chose to attend the Massachusetts of Technology and selected to study in Phillip A. Sharp's laboratory, working on transcription regulation (also researching with and training Stephen Buratowski, Pew Class of 1995). While in Sharp's lab, though, Carthew began to develop an interest in neurobiology, deciding, then, to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship with Gerald M. Rubin at the University of California, Berkeley. From there he accepted a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied the ras oncogene; his work on ras led to consulting work for the Chiron Corporation. The interview ends with Carthew's thoughts on the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences; race and gender issues in science; combining the teaching of the history of science with methodological and technical approaches; using kits in the lab; his love of sailing; and the ways in which fatherhood has changed his views about his career. The interview concludes with a discussion of his current research on RNAi and frizzled; the application of his work to Alzheimer's disease; patents; competition and collaboration; ethics, laboratory practice, and laboratory research; and his pending move to Northwestern University.
David E. Levy was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of two children. His father was a chemist, his mother a classicist; both had been living in California but were assigned to Oak Ridge National Laboratory by the federal government, his father to work on the Manhattan Project, his mother for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Employees' families could attend an annual open house at the Laboratory, but otherwise David's father did not discuss his work. Even so, David remembers always having been interested in science; he had chemistry kits, he built rockets, he made his own chemicals for his dark room, and he observed the back-yard animals. In grade school once when pupils were asked to write about what they wanted to be when they grew up, David wrote about being a scientist, though he says he doubts that he would have known what that meant. David did not investigate colleges, but entered the University of Tennessee. Interested in psychology, he took premed classes but soon changed to biology; he had almost a minor in chemistry, which he also liked. There were no experimentation classes, though they did "practicals." After graduation, still unsure what he wanted to do, David took a job at the Laboratory in the Molecular Anatomy Program (MAP), a kind of independent project established by Norman Anderson. When MAP was closed down, David worked for a year in immunologist Alan Solomon's lab at the University of Tennessee's Memorial Research Center. He had already taken some seminars at the Oak Ridge Extension branch of the University of Tennessee, and he had written two papers. During this time he realized that he wanted to be a scientist, that he was excited by the confluence of chemistry and biology. Hence, graduate school. He was accepted at California Institute of Technology, where his father had studied, and began his research into immunology in William Dreyer's lab. Not long after he switched to Richard Lerner's lab at Scripps Research Institute, where he studied retroviruses. Upon finishing his PhD he accepted a postdoc at Rockefeller University offered by James Darnell, who was working on the development of organ systems. David remains an adjunct faculty member in the Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology there; and he has added an assistant professorship at New York University, the Sackler Institute for Graduate Biomedical Sciences, and in the School of Medicine Department of Pathology, where he is now an associate professor. He established his lab to continue his research into gene expression in the liver system, hoping to discover how it is that during development different genes get turned on in different tissues; for him that is the basic question. He devotes much of the end of the interview to comparing creative thinking, independence, and funding as found at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and Scripps Research Institute; to comparing the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award with the National Institutes of Health grants; and to his conception of the ideal department or laboratory.
Stephen M. Denning was born in Murphy, North Carolina, a small town in the foothills of the Appalachians, and “about as far west in North Carolina as you could go”; he grew up in nearby Rutherfordton. Both parents were teachers, and his one sibling, a younger brother, became a teacher—of biology—as well. From an early age, Denning was attracted to science; he remembers being enthralled by Sputnik and the United States’ subsequent space program. Denning loved to read, especially about science. Biographies of scientists like Marie Curie and Louis Pasteur—and of course a chemistry set—encouraged his interest in chemistry and physics. He also evinced an early interest in electronics and took up photography as a hobby as well; this hobby he pursues today, when he has time. He was selected for several programs established to enrich education for gifted children, including the Governor’s School in Winston-Salem, and found that in high school he tended to know more of some subjects (especially mathematics) than the teachers; but he had one outstanding teacher, for biology, who really inspired him. For fun, Denning and his family hiked and camped; Denning played touch football and built rockets. When he was in high school, on weekends and after school he worked in a hospital, where he drew blood and learned to analyze it.
Denning attended Duke University, receiving his BS in chemistry. The chemistry majors of his year formed a close-knit group, doing lab work and generally working together, unlike in the biology department, where competition was more prevalent. Denning applied to graduate schools in chemistry and to medical schools, unsure which course he wanted to pursue. An emeritus professor of chemistry, Marcus Hobbs, convinced him to go into medicine, as there would be more breakthroughs and discoveries in that field than in chemistry. Denning attended Duke Medical School; there he did research with Sheldon Pinnell on collagen antibodies; and then he did his internship and residency at University of Chicago. In Chicago he met his wife, Judith J. Johnson, a nurse in a medical intensive care unit. He then accepted a fellowship in cardiology under Joseph C. Greenfield at Duke University, where he has remained. He joined Barton Haynes’ laboratory where he began research into the development of T cells in the human fetus and in immune response in general. His greatest interest is in the intersection between his clinical work and his research on molecular mechanisms and their therapeutic or interventional value. Denning continues to balance family—his wife, Judith, a nurse anesthetist now, and two young sons—and his work; to attempt to interest medical students in research; and to seek funding for ever more research.
Earl K. Miller was born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, one of two siblings—the other being his identical twin. His mother was a homemaker; his father an accountant. As a child, Miller was interested in science and continuously performed well in science classes in school. He entered Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, originally pursuing a degree in biology (and undertaking pre-medical coursework). After taking advice to do research in order to better his chances of getting into medical school, Miller volunteered to work in Richard M. Vardaris's psychology lab for his senior thesis. Vardaris was doing work on memory in the hippocampus, and, as Miller noted, once he started doing experiments and collecting neurophysiology data, he "fell in love" with research; Miller switched his major to psychology so that Vardaris could be his advisor. He matriculated at Princeton University for his graduate studies, ultimately working in the laboratory of Charles G. Gross studying the visual cortex, though his research in neuroscience evolved from object recognition to cognition; during this time Miller met his wife, a psychologist who later worked for the American Psychological Association. From Princeton Miller undertook postdoctoral work with Robert Desimone at the National Institutes of Health, transitioning from studying vision to studying the cognitive operations that operate on sensory information; he had a number of publications in top tier journals come out of this work. He moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts upon accepting a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; he focused his lab on cognitive neuroscience and executive brain control. The remainder of the interview with Miller focuses on what he believes are the practical applications of his research; the future of his research in cross-translational neurophysiology (from gene to system level); and his professional responsibilities. The interview concludes with his thoughts on the peer-review process; the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences; competition and collaboration in science; experimenting on living animals; and the privatization of scientific research.
Jorge E. Galán was born in Pellegrini, a small town near Buenos Aires in Argentina. His father was a businessman, dealing with agriculture, his mother a homemaker. He had one older sister and one younger. While he still lived at home, he attended political and business meetings with his father and became very interested in politics. When Galán was 12, he was sent to a Salecian boarding school in Santa Rosa. After high school he decided to attend the University of La Plata, where he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and his Doctor of Veterinary Science. He became interested in infectious diseases, particularly in horses, and was accepted to the PhD program at the veterinary school at Cornell University. There he discovered his major interest, the clever Salmonella bug. He worked for several years in Roy Curtiss' lab at Washington University in St. Louis before he started his own lab at SUNY Stony Brook. There he discovered Type III protein secretion system; and he continued to study Salmonella. He continues to work most hours of every day in his lab, to teach, and to mentor his graduate students and postdoctoral students.
Bradley B. Olwin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, but his family moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico, when Olwin was an infant. There his father was an engineer who worked on the Poseidon Missile warhead and on nuclear testing at the test sites in Nevada; his mother was a housewife. Olwin has one younger brother, who now works as an engineer for the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington. Olwin's family was a close one, engaging in outdoor weekend activities like skiing, water skiing, hiking, camping, backpacking. He still travels to the Cascade Mountains to climb, camp, and backpack. In high school he loved science but also studied Russian literature. Olwin matriculated at University of California at San Diego because he wanted to be an oceanographer; but he soon switched his major to chemistry, which he loved. He also kept up his Russian during college. While still an undergraduate Olwin worked in Stuart Brody's lab and in Susan Taylor's lab. Olwin applied and was accepted to the University of Washington, where he entered the pharmacology department. After rotations in Joseph A. Beavo's and Daniel R. Storm's labs, he joined the Storm lab. He found a mentor in his lab postdoc, David C. LaPorte; there he used anisotropy to study calmodulin-binding interactions. In his third year of graduate school Olwin and his first wife, whom he had married before he left San Diego, were divorced. Subsequently, Olwin met and married Jennifer Martin, who was also a student in pharmacology at the University of Washington. They have two children. Olwin accepted a postdoc at University of California at San Francisco in Zach Hall's lab, but because Jennifer was not able to transfer to San Francisco Olwin left Hall's lab after just one year and went to Stephen Hauschka's lab at University of Washington, where he stayed for three years. From there he accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Wisconsin. Because his wife could not get a job there eventually Olwin decided to accept a professorship at Purdue. There Jennifer also was offered a position, and there they remain today. Olwin continues to work on the effects of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) on cell differentiation and regulation, cell de-differentiation, and signaling.
Carol W. Greider was born in San Diego, California. Her father was a physicist; her mother was a biologist who died when Carol was young. Her father had a position at Yale University when Carol was a child, and they lived in New Haven for a couple of years. Then they returned to California, to the University of California at Davis, where they continued to live while Carol grew up, except for a year in Germany when Carol was about ten. She learned to speak German there and continued to study the language when she was in high school. Beatrice Sweeney, a friend of her father, inspired Greider to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara. She studied circadian rhythms there, working with a graduate student who was studying microtubules in chicken brains. She spent her junior year in Göttingen, Germany. In part because of Elizabeth Blackburn, Greider decided to attend graduate school at University of California at Berkeley. In Blackburn's lab she cloned telomeres by functional complementation and became interested in how sequences are added into telomeres. She began searching for the telomerase enzyme; when she discovered it she determined its nucleic acid component, finding that telomerase is sensitive to RNase and has an RNA component. After completing her PhD she accepted a postdoc at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where she remains. Greider continued work on telomerase, relating it to human aging and cellular senescence and attempting to clone the RNA component of telomerase. She found herself in competition with Blackburn's lab to some extent. But her collaboration with Calvin Hurley, who was recruited into Geron Corporation, led to a position as an advisor there; she has, therefore, what many scientists consider a great deal of funding. Competitors have risen in what used to be Greider's own area, but still telomerase remains uncloned. Greider has organized and held a conference on telomerase; she is editing a textbook; and she meets with others—most recently in Sweden—who are interested also in telomeres and telomerase.
Rebecca Rimel begins this brief interview with a discussion of the circumstances that led to the formation by The Pew Charitable Trusts of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. She discusses the roles of the Board and the Advisory Committee in determining the mission and aims of the Program, then turns her attention to evolutionary changes that have taken place in the Program over the course of its first five years. After describing the activities and expectations of the Pew Scholars, the interview concludes with Pew's plans for Scholars Programs in areas other than the biomedical sciences.
Gökhan S. Hotamisligil was born in the small town of Pazar on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, the youngest of three siblings. He moved several times when young, attending at least three separate elementary schools, though he spent most of his youth in the city of Ankara. His father was a physician who served underdeveloped areas of Turkey (hence the early travel); his mother was trained as a teacher but spent her time raising Hotamisligil, his brother, and his sister. Hotamisligil learned much from his family intellectually, socially, and culturally, and from the private boarding school he attended for middle and high schools in Ankara. He was a varsity athlete in high school (track and field, volleyball, and table tennis) and was interested in his studies, though his science classes did not provide him with much experience in experimentation. He wanted to be a physician from an early age. He took the entrance exam for and attended Ankara University to obtain his medical degree during a time of political upheaval in Turkey (the 1980 military coup). Hotamisligil decided to specialize in pediatrics and was fortunate to have his residency at Ankara University instead of serving his compulsory government service in the remote town of Bingöl. While at Ankara, he became interested in genetics while preparing a seminar on the molecular basis of thalassemia. His wife's scholarship to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Mental Retardation in Massachusetts gave him the opportunity to apply for a position in Xandra O. Breakefield's laboratory at Harvard Medical School. Hotamisligil's work on monoamine oxidases in Breakefield's lab led him to apply for graduate study at Harvard; he undertook his graduate research on tumor necrosis factor, obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes in Bruce M. Spiegelman's laboratory. He remained there for a postdoctoral fellowship until accepting an offer for a position at the Harvard School of Public Health. After setting up his lab, he began his work on the molecular mechanisms of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and began to think about studying the connections between the immune and metabolic systems, the inflammatory response, and disease. The interview ends with reflections on role of serendipity in his work; the process of writing grants and journal articles; and balancing family and career. Hotamisligil concludes the oral history with thoughts about the direction of the national scientific agenda; the role of the scientist in shaping public policy; the industrialization of science; and the role of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences for his previous and current work.
James L. Sherley was born in Memphis, Tennessee, one of five children. His parents had been sharecroppers in a small town in Mississippi, but they moved to the Memphis area so that Sherley's father could become a worker in concrete; he worked his way up to supervisor and is now safety officer for DuPont. He also became a Baptist minister at about the time James was leaving for college. Sherley's mother's family gradually settled in the neighborhood, too, but Sherley's father's family stayed in Mississippi. As far back as he can remember, Sherley wanted to be a scientist; and he and one of his brothers were always performing experiments (making gunpowder, for example) in the backyard. In junior high school he decided he wanted to be a microbiologist. He attended a high school for college-bound students, to which he had to be bused; there an AP biology class solidified his desire to be a microbiologist and to go to Harvard. Some of his teachers encouraged him to apply elsewhere as well, but he was determined to go to Harvard. He had always done well in school, too; but though he was valedictorian of his high school, the administration thought it inappropriate that he give the commencement address (he is African-American) and asked the salutatorian (she is Caucasian) to do so instead.
At Harvard Sherley joined Alfred Loeblich's laboratory, working at first with algae. He went to Mark Ptashne's lab when Loeblich moved to the University of Houston. There he learned microbiology, worked on lambda phage, and took a course in tumor repression that pushed him into the study of cancer. He was advised that fully to realize his ambition to study cancer he should get an MD/PhD, so, although it was late in his undergraduate career, he became pre-med and eventually was accepted for the MD/PhD program at Johns Hopkins University, where he began his study of thymidine kinase in Thomas J. Kelly's lab. After receiving his MD and PhD, he took a postdoc at Princeton University, working in Arnold Levine's lab. His studies included T antigen and p53 antioncogene. His association with Levine's lab was not harmonious, and he accepted an associate membership in the Department of Molecular Oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where he stayed for seven years before running out of funding. From there he moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is an assistant professor in the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health today.
Sherley is married to Marion Cunningham and has two young daughters. He continues to publish his work; to balance family life and work; and to worship God.
Peter S. Kim was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to parents who had emigrated from Korea after the Korean War and were studying at Georgia Institute of Technology. His father was a chemical engineer, his mother a biochemist. He had a sister who was several years younger. While he was still a child, his family moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, where his father was a professor at the University of Massachusetts; from there they moved to Brooklyn, where Peter attended school for a few years; then they moved to Ridgewood, New Jersey, so that his father could work in New York City. Peter's mother became a high school science teacher. For a while Peter and his family attended a Korean church, but then they switched to an American Presbyterian church; here Peter discovered a love of music and began to sing. He entered Cornell University, where his chemical engineering major lasted just one semester before he switched to chemistry. He met his wife-to-be when he was a freshman. From Cornell Peter was accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Stanford University to complete a joint MD/PhD degree. After two years of medical school Peter decided he wanted to do only research so he dropped the MD In Robert "Buzz" Baldwin's lab Peter worked on nuclear magnetic resonance to develop pulse-labeling in protein folding. Another interest he developed was in catalytic antibodies. Having decided not to finish medical school, Peter knew he had to obtain a postdoctoral position. He won the third Whitehead [Institute for Biomedical Research] fellowship granted. In his lab at the Whitehead he developed a peptide model of a protein-folding intermediate and worked on Leucine zippers and coiled coils with his postdocs and assistants. At the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research he was promoted first to assistant and then to associate member; Peter also became first an assistant and then associate professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an associate investigator at the Howard Hughes; he remains in all three positions today.
Michael A. Caudy was born and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. His parents divorced when he was two, and for about eight years he lived with his mother and sister; for some of that time his grandparents also lived with them. When he was about ten, his mother married a theoretical physicist. His stepfather, whom he calls a brilliant scientist, had—at least subconsciously—a major influence on Caudy's interest in becoming a scientist. The more immediate moving force was a summer job for Caudy when he was in high school: a neighbor was head of a veterinary pathology lab at Ohio State University, and he hired Caudy to work as a technician. When he entered the Ohio State University, Caudy had been playing rock guitar for years; in college he discovered classical guitar, and then he became interested in building guitars. He also liked to read English literature, so he took longer than usual to complete his undergraduate work, attending school part time, reading, playing and studying music and dance, and doing some science, until he finally settled on an English education major. After college he spent some time teaching in different elementary and junior high schools to learn about alternative methods of teaching. During these years he maintained a serious interest in science, primarily physics and mathematics, until he entered the biophysics graduate program at Ohio State. After a year there he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, to David Bentley's lab, to study theoretical biophysics and neurobiology, with a focus on developmental neurobiology. After describing his experiences growing up in the early 1970s, Caudy compares and contrasts the environment at Ohio State and Berkeley. He then explains his reasons for accepting a position at Weill Cornell Medical College and describes his lab there. He discusses his research in mammalian and Drosophila genetics; he describes his work on the hairy gene and its binding sites, lamenting the difficulty of finding funding. He analyzes the academic and clinical organization of Weill Cornell Medical College, and the pressures on medical schools in general. He explains his lack of interest in working for private industry. He shares his future research agenda while philosophizing about the need for scientists to have time to ponder larger questions. He explains the specifics of a functional lab, including funding and size, and stresses the need for creativity and innovation within it. Although Caudy experiences pressures in his career he claims those pressures have not detracted from his love of science. He concludes the interview by suggesting policies that might further the cause of scientific discovery.