Mark D. Fleming begins the interview discussing his childhood, which was dominated by his father's job at IBM [International Business Machines]. Fleming moved to various communities in the Eastern United States, where the majority of his friends also had fathers working for IBM; a scientific and technological atmosphere pervaded his childhood. Fleming discussed his matriculation at Princeton University and the academic influence of organic chemistry professor Maitland Jones, Jr. Throughout his undergraduate career, Fleming conducted research during summers at the University of Vermont, where he met his future wife as well as where he developed an interest in blood research. Following graduation from Princeton, Fleming received a Marshall Scholarship, which allowed him to pursue D Phil work with Sir Jack E. Baldwin at the University of Oxford; Fleming described the differences between scientific research in Europe and the United States in some detail. Following his D Phil work, Fleming undertook medical training at the Harvard Medical School's Health, Sciences, and Technology Program, which was academically rigorous and stimulating. He developed into a clinically-oriented research pathologist, beginning with his work in Laurie Glimcher's laboratory at the Harvard University School of Public Health and continuing into his post-doctoral research with Nancy Andrews at Children's Hospital. Due to a unique job offer at Children's Hospital, Fleming smoothly transitioned from post-doctoral researcher to full-time principal investigator. Throughout the interview, Fleming discussed issues related to funding and laboratory management and the manner in which he encourages the academic growth of his own research students. The interview concludes with a discussion of broader issues in the biomedical sciences including increasing the racial diversity of students and of faculty in the sciences, scientific literacy, and collaborations.
Jane E. Koehler was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1953, the third of four sisters. Her father was the son of German-American farmers from Missouri; he was a World War II veteran who was the first in his family to attend college and would later go on to obtain a master's degree and a PhD in soil chemistry. Koehler's mother was of Danish parentage and also grew up in Missouri. She earned her master's degree in food science. Both of Koehler's parents taught at Washington State University during the majority of her childhood. From a young age, she was very interested in medicine, and she credits her sisters with being a considerable influence on her personal ambition and success. Koehler graduated from Vassar College in 1975. She struggled with Hashimoto's thyroiditis during this period, and although she found it hard to adjust to student life, Koehler applied to graduate schools and matriculated into a PhD Program at the University of California, Berkeley. She then decided to earn a master's degree in microbiology instead of a PhD in order to pursue a medical education. Koehler worked as a research associate while she took her MCAT and applied to medical schools. She was eventually accepted into the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where she received an MD in 1984, and met her husband, Stephen X. Nahm. The couple moved to California so that Koehler could begin internship rotations at the University of California, San Francisco. It was there that she became much more interested in the study of infectious diseases. In 1984 Koehler was awarded an infectious disease fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, where she researched the causative agents of bacillary angiomatosis in Dr. Richard S. Stephens' lab and later in Nina Agabian's lab. In 1988 Koehler began working at the University of California, San Francisco, as a Clinical Instructor of Medicine in the Infectious Diseases Department. She rose through the ranks from Research Microbiologist to Assistant Professor and was eventually appointed Associate Professor of Medicine in Residence in the Infectious Diseases Department. Her current research focuses on tracing the complex life cycle of Bartonella and its role in the frequent infection of immunocompromised patients. Throughout her oral history Koehler points out the many obstacles that women face when undertaking a professional career, and she stresses the importance of positive female mentors. She has won several awards including the American Medical Women's Association Scholarship Achievement Citation, the ICAAC Young Investigator Award, the Pierre Richard Dick-Virbac Fondation First International Award and a Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award.
Alison E. M. Adams was born in Penang, Malaysia, the third of six children. Her parents were British citizens: Her father, a British citizen, had worked for the British government for many years; her mother, also a British citizen, went from England to Malaysia after World War II; there she met and married Bill Adams. When Alison was four, the family moved to a small town, Sherborne, in England; they continued to move among small towns around the area. Although she went to smallish schools that in retrospect she thinks were not very good, Alison liked school, especially the sciences. She played field hockey, continuing into her college years. She also played other sports and took violin and piano lessons.
Her family took several trips to Ireland, which Adams loved so much she decided she wanted to attend college there. She matriculated into Trinity College, Dublin, where she began in chemistry but soon switched to genetics. She spent an undergraduate semester in John Pringle’s lab at the University of Michigan. After finishing at Trinity she came back to the United States, where she again went to Pringle’s lab at the University of Michigan, researching Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After finishing her PhD she went to the University of Edinburgh to do a postdoc, but it did not work out, and she arranged for a postdoc position in David Botstein’s lab at Massachusetts Institutes of Technology; from there she went to Genentech with Botstein. While working in Botstein’s lab, Adams identified the protein Sac6 by means of genetic techniques versus biochemical methods, and discovered that fimbrim isoforms can compensate for Sac6. Adams’s work on the protein Sac6 would be the basis for future research at the University of Arizona, where she established her own lab. While she was teaching at the University of Arizona, Adams’s work shifted toward biochemistry through her collaboration with William R. Montfort on the crystal structure of Sac6 and her interest in applying yeast studies to human beings. Adams plans soon to take a sabbatical to pursue research for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and possibly to teach in India. Adams concludes the interview by illuminating her thoughts about her role in science, her perspective on the future of mankind, and her desire for cooperation among scientists.
Charles M. Rubin grew up in Deal, New Jersey, the second of four children. His father was a dentist, his mother a secretary; both are Conservative Jews. He attended public school, which he liked and in which he did well. He was especially interested in science and mathematics, enjoying problem-solving. Racial tensions and riots at his high school in Asbury Park, however, framed much of his high school experience. Rubin entered the University of Pennsylvania for his undergraduate degree. He spent summers as a counselor at a camp for handicapped children; he continued to visit the children during the school year; and when he was in medical school, he worked in the camp infirmary. Inspired by Bertram Lubin's course in genetics, he decided to enter medicine. In his last year of college he was excited by C. Everett Koop's separation of Siamese twins at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He studied chromosome abnormalities in the lab of William Mellman, conducting research on spina bifida; he found (and still finds) gratification in helping sick children. He was admitted to Tufts University School of Medicine, about which he discusses his medical school classes and his interest in academic medicine. He took electives at three different children's hospitals, learned the health needs of inner-city children, and decided to specialize in pediatric oncology. Rubin did subspecialty training in pediatric hematology/oncology at the University of Minnesota. Studying cytogenetics with Diane C. Arthur increased his interest in research, and he began studying chromosome damage in recipients of chemotherapy and radiation; Rubin's study of retinoblastoma recurrence has since led to more aggressive treatment. Rubin accepted a fellowship at the University of Chicago to acquire more training in research; there he found a clinical focus in Janet D. Rowley's lab. He began conducting further research on chromosome abnormalities and studying large pieces of DNA with pulsed field gel electrophoresis. Rubin ends the interview with a discussion of his marriage and family and the challenge of balancing family and career. He talks about how national treatment protocols are created; about how research affects clinical practice; and about his shift away from research toward practice. He explains his teaching responsibilities and his clinical duties and talks about how he started the Joint Pediatric/Medical Cancer Risk Clinic. He finishes with a discussion of the genetic component in cancer and the limits of gene therapy.
Thomas C. Alber grew up as an American in post World War II Japan and had to deal with issues related to his bilingualism and biculturalism. After moving to Los Angeles with his mother in 1964, Alber was encouraged in all areas of study, including the sciences, through his involvement with the Independent Program School at University High School in Los Angeles. This unique high school experience helped Alber choose the University of California, Santa Cruz for his undergraduate studies because of its non-traditional structure. At Santa Cruz, Alber worked in Anthony L. Fink’s enzyme mechanism laboratory and pursued an opportunity to perform research with Gregory A. Petsko at Wayne State University. his research experience solidified his future interests in chemistry and biochemistry over other fields, such as the history of science. With a Danforth Foundation Graduate Fellowship, Alber undertook graduate research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), first under Alexander Rich and later under Petsko (when Petsko joined the MIT faculty). traveled as a graduate student to do research at various laboratories including those at the University of California, San Diego, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Oxford. After earning his PhD, Alber started his postdoctoral research with Brian W. Matthews at the University of Oregon. Since Matthews was involved with the interdisciplinary Institute of Molecular Biology, Alber continued his pattern of research and study in a non-traditional setting. While finishing his postdoctoral research, Alber authored “Mutational effects on Protein Stability,” in the Annual Review of Biochemistry in 1989. In this article, he proposed departing from the traditional model system of structural protein research and instead stressed the importance of all possible hydrogen-binding sites, the external amino acids on the rigid portion of the active site, the relative unimportance of the so-called ‘floppy part,’ and the necessity for flexibility in a protein. Alber’s movement from the University of Oregon to the University of Utah and then on to the University of California, Berkeley allowed him to reflect on the American model of university science, the ways in which that model differs at a range of institutions, and the ways in which it varies from science in other nations. Alber’s oral history ends with a discussion of the ways in which Alber’s laboratory life changed over a ten-month period in 1993 right after he joined the faculty at Berkeley.
Paul J. Anderson, the oldest of four children, was born in 1954; he grew up in a suburb of Syracuse, New York. His father was a school teacher and administrator, his mother a housewife. He discovered a love of science when he was about 10 years old, a love he nurtured through his BS degree in biology from the State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook in 1978. Biochemistry professor Bernard Dudock inspired Anderson to work part time in William Bauer’s labs, where he was encouraged to design his own experiments, an unusual practice for undergraduates. At that time Bauer was working on DNA, and in his labs Anderson met Francis Crick. Anderson also was able to publish some articles about his work in those labs.
He then entered a joint MD/PhD program at New York University (NYU), receiving his MD in 1983 and his PhD in 1984. Interested in immunology, he specialized in rheumatology for his two clinical years at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. During this period he became involved in the excitement of working on interferon and interferon receptors. He also began working at Stuart F. Schlossman’s lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where work was being done on different subpopulations of T lymphocytes in the peripheral blood.
Schlossman became a mentor to Anderson, whose biochemical background and focus on immunology led him to develop an assay to identify intracellular antigens. This involved developing a cytometric flow assay to screen for monoclonal antibodies. Anderson observed that natural killer cells express zeta, an antibody that reacts with cytotoxic lymphocytes. He tracked the antigen causing transplant rejection to cytotoxic granules, reinforcing the theory that the antibody could recognize a toxic molecule. It became clear that the full-length RNA-binding protein is involved somehow in signaling apoptotic death in cytotoxic lymphocyte target cells, and we now know in all cells. He helped found the biotechnology company Apoptosis Technology as a subsidiary of Immunogen; he has several patents.
Anderson finds science unpredictable when he enters new areas; this is exciting to him and is one of the main reasons he continues to love research science. He believes we will continue to learn more about the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis, which will allow us to interfere in the molecular cell death and thereby to control or cure various diseases and health problems like cancer or organ rejection.
Peter R. Arvan begins the interview discussing his childhood in Queens, New York. Arvan’s family background played an important role in his development, including his mother’s escape from Nazi Germany as a teenager. Although his parents were extremely interested in his education, there never existed any particular emphasis on science; his movement into a scientific career could have been altered had he found any inspiration or an inspirational figure in the humanities instead. Arvan’s decision to pursue science developed from his involvement in the National Science Foundation Summer Program in Biochemistry before his senior year in high school. Arvan returned to this program as an advanced student the following summer and even as an instructor while he was an undergraduate; this program was extremely influential in his academic development. Arvan joined Efraim Racker’s laboratory at Cornell University and then pursued his MD/PhD at Yale University working in the research laboratory of J. David Castle. After one year at the University of North Carolina for residency, Arvan returned to Yale under the Research Residency Program where he pursued research in Howard Rasmussen’s laboratory. Throughout the interview Arvan discussed the difficulties of scientific funding, the fortuitous events which have shaped his scientific thinking, and the difficulties inherent in the MD/PhD program.
James C. A. Bardwell was born and raised in Saskatoon, Canada. He was influenced early on by his family and by his religion, and knew that he had the interest and drive to go into science. Bardwell entered the University of Saskatchewan and was introduced to research and laboratory work by Louis P. Visentin at the Canadian National Research Council, where he focused his work on recombinant DNA. Bardwell's interest in the outdoors led him to take two trips between his undergraduate and graduate work to Papua, New Guinea and the Northwest Territories, Canada. He continued to travel throughout his graduate career at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his postdoctorates at the National Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. While at Wisconsin, Bardwell worked in Elizabeth Craig's laboratory on heat-shock proteins, which remain an interest of his to this day. His postdoctoral work included research in genetics on protein disulfide isomerase. After his postdoctoral research and several publications, Bardwell travelled to Germany for a guest professorship, where he gained experience in running a small lab. He left Germany for a position at the University of Michigan, where he has continued his research on protein folding, and where he has had to juggle between family and career—specifically the two-body problem. Bardwell's roles as principal investigator and as an associate chair of his department have required him to take on many responsibilities, including administrative work and recruitment. These duties are in addition to his more "everyday" duties, which include publishing, grant writing, overall laboratory management, and his time at home. He begins to conclude the interview by reflecting on the wider scope of national scientific policy, public awareness of science, and scientific funding, and how these broader themes have influenced his own work and that of his peers. Drawing from his own experience with recruiting, his graduate work with Craig, and his interactions with his wife and peer Ursula Jakob, Bardwell also discussed in detail the state of women in science—in the United States, in Germany, and in his own lab. The interview ends with a discussion of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences, which united Bardwell's love for travel and open discussions of scientific research.
Charles K. Barlowe was raised during the time of desegregation in Saluda, Virginia near the Chesapeake Bay, the youngest of three children. His father was a World War II veteran who used the G. I. Bill to become, ultimately, a dentist; his mother received her degree in history from the College of William and Mary, and became a school librarian once her children were in school. Barlowe started in public schools, but eventually transferred to private schools due to overcrowded classrooms and better educational opportunities. His education and childhood were, according to him, quite typical. Following in his family's footsteps, Barlowe enrolled in the College of William and Mary for his undergraduate education, where he decided to pursue his interest in chemistry. He worked with Gary C. DeFotis, a physical chemist who studied transition metals, analyzing crystal complexes by an x-ray diffraction method and then measuring their ferromagnetic properties with large magnets. Unsure of what path he wanted to follow for a career, after college Barlowe applied for and received a laboratory position with I. David Goldman in the Hematology/Oncology department of the Medical College of Virginia where he worked on antifolate polyglutamylation and competitive drug displacement at dihydrofolate reductase as important elements in leucovorin rescue. After his experiences at the Medical College of Virginia he decided to apply to, and was accepted at, the University of Texas. He studied with Dean R. Appling on folic acid metabolism in yeast for his doctoral work and then moved on to Randy Schekman's laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley for postdoctoral research on transport vesicle formation in membrane trafficking. Family and professional considerations led him to accept a faculty position at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. The interview ends with a discussion of setting up his laboratory at Dartmouth Medical School, the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant on his work, and his current research on mechanisms of COPII-dependent transport. In addition, he talks about scientific funding in the United States, his wife's career, balancing family life with work commitments, and the role of the scientist in society.
Brenda L. Bass grew up in the 1960's in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her parents were young and had no opportunity to finish college, taking jobs as realtors. As a result, Bass was often cared for by her maternal grandmother, to whom she attributes her independence, her toughness, and her love of the truth. Severely asthmatic and allergic, Bass lived at the Children's Asthma Research Institute and Hospital in Denver, Colorado, from age eleven to age twelve and a half. Here she developed a love for the West and a very different perspective on social conditions in the South, determining that she would always want to live in the West. She returned to Florida to finish her junior high school and high school years. She then attended Emory University for a year, studying English. Dissatisfied with the program, she took a semester off and then transferred to Colorado College, where she planned to study nutritional chemistry. Interest in nutritional chemistry developed into interest in chemistry and ultimately into biochemistry. After obtaining her BA she remained uncertain as to what she wanted to do, and she applied to Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois. She walked out of a nutritional chemistry class when the teacher brought out plastic models of foods. She became a research technician at Rush, which she worked at for three years before returning to University of Colorado, Boulder, to pursue a PhD in biochemistry. There she worked in Thomas R. Cech's lab, focusing on self-splicing RNA and its implications for biological catalysis. When she received her PhD, in 1985, she accepted a post-doc with Harold Weintraub in Seattle, Washington, where she worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for four years. She then accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Utah, and from 1995 until the present she has been an associate professor there as well as and assistant investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She has published numerous papers; she is involved in conferences and committees; and her first love remains "the bench."
Carolyn Bertozzi grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, the second of three girls. Her father was a nuclear physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her mother a secretary in MIT's physics department. Carolyn's father's four siblings, all born in Italy, also went into some branch of science. During the Great Depression Carolyn's maternal grandparents and uncle emigrated from Nova Scotia and established a farm. Carolyn's older sister, a "math genius" now teaches at Duke University, and her younger sister became a psychologist. It was expected that Carolyn and her sisters would do well in school, and Carolyn did, but she also played soccer in high school and was recruited to Harvard with what would be at any other school an athletic scholarship. She found soccer and later crew too time-consuming, however, and quit sports to devote herself to academics. She began as a biology major but in her second year took an organic chemistry class, which she loved, although she continued to take biology classes, she switched her major to chemistry. She was first in her class and eventually graduated summa cum laude, but Harvard's chemistry department was exclusively male at the time. As a result, she went to a lab in the biochemistry department, where Joseph Grabowski, her teacher for a physical organic chemistry class, asked her to work for him during the summer. He was so impressed with her work that he required her to write a graduation thesis, which he then submitted for an award of a substantial amount of money. He convinced her to go to graduate school at University of California at Berkeley. At Berkeley, she joined Mark Bednarski's bioorganic chemistry laboratory to study carbohydrates. Bednarski was also new, and Carolyn found him enthusiastic, and she wrote a number of grant proposals in his lab. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the synthesis of carbohydrate analogues for biological applications. Continuing her interest in carbohydrates, and contrary to the advice of other chemists, Carolyn went to work in Steven Rosen's cell biology laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, for her postdoc. There she studied the role of carbohydrates in inflammation and leukocyte adhesion. After her postdoctoral work, she accepted an assistant professorship at the University of California at Berkeley and set up her own laboratory. She and Rosen also founded a private company, Thios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. At Berkeley she enjoys teaching, finding her students very intelligent, hard-working, and interesting. In the laboratory she writes (and gets) grants, mentors (particularly women), and sets problems. She has published many journal articles. Her current research interests continue in glycobiology, which she sees as having potentially a wider clinical application. Now a tenured professor, she has a number of academic appointments and steady funding.
Mark D. Biggin grew up in Chesterfield, England, near the Peak District National Park, where he cycled the moors and hills from an early age. He attended a local school, tracked on the basis of his IQ. He remembers one inspiring teacher of biology, from whom he developed an early interest in science, originally wanting to be a veterinarian. He attended the University of Lancaster in Lancaster, England; he so loved working in a lab that he applied to graduate school at Cambridge University, where he joined Frederick Sanger's Division at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. There he worked in Bart Barrell's lab, where he sequenced Epstein-Barr virus DNA. He became interested in transcription and took up a post-doc at Robert Tjian's lab at U. C. Berkeley. He focused on gene expression in Drosophila; on even-skipped (eve), zeste, GAGA, and NTF; and on homeodomain proteins. He then moved to a professorship in Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, where he continues to teach, advise graduate students, and work in the laboratory he started up. He is attempting to define the function of promiscuous homeodomain protein binding—activation and repression—to discover how homeodomain proteins interact in the cell.
James B. Bliska was born in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1959, the youngest of four children. His father was an architect originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan who died when James was only five years old. His mother was an elementary school teacher from Minnesota. His family moved throughout the United States several times during his youth, a lifestyle that provided several challenges for Bliska. It was, however, the yearly summer trips to his family’s lake house that sparked his interest in biology; and with the positive influence of his high-school biology teacher, Bliska was able to focus his interests.
Bliska attended Western State College of Colorado for one year and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin. It was not until his employment as a dishwasher in Oliver Smithies’ genetics lab that Bliska began to try his hand at research. Eventually he was performing the majority of the lab procedures and became published. This experience led him to develop a great interest in academic research and to switch his declared major from biology to bacteriology. Bliska applied to several PhD programs, and upon receiving his B.S. in Bacteriology in 1983, he matriculated into the University of California, Berkeley’s Molecular Biology PhD program, where he worked in Nicholas R. Cozzarelli’s Lab researching DNA topology during site-specific recombination reactions. He then collaborated with a lab at the University of California, San Francisco studying drug resistance in trypanosomes. This research led him down the path of infectious disease, one that would shape his career.
After receiving his doctorate in 1988, Bliska began his postdoc research in Stanley Falkow’s lab at Stanford University, where he attempted to purify a biologically active form of a Yersinia surface membrane protein. He then switched his focus to Yops (Yersinia outer membrane proteins) in a collaborative effort with Jack E. Dixon. He met his wife, Janice Valmassoi, in Dixon’s lab at Stanford.
In 1993 Bliska accepted a post as a principal investigator in the microbiology department of the State University of New York, Stony Brook and in 1999 received academic tenure as an associate professor. Since his arrival at SUNY Stony Brook his researched has focused primarily on Yops as bacterial toxins and the type-III secretion systems used by Yersinia to deliver them into host cells. He studies these bacterial-host cell interactions in hopes of explaining a widely conserved method of toxin delivery that has widespread medical applications.
Throughout his oral history Bliska emphasizes the importance of balancing personal and academic responsibilities. Bliska has received several grants, including a postdoc and a Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant, which he discusses in the oral history interview. He has published many articles on a variety of subjects in his young career.
James Anthony Borowiec was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1958, the youngest of four children. His father was a union lawyer, interested in local politics, and his mother was a housewife. His extended family, of Polish descent, lived also in the "Polish neighborhood" where they celebrated holidays and family events together. While still a child, Borowiec and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where Borowiec had a Catholic education through high school. Although he says now that science was not well taught, he was interested in science from an early age. Borowiec received his BS in Organic Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1980. While there he worked in a chemistry lab during the school year. During one summer he worked for the U. S. Forest Service in Elko, Nevada. He matriculated into the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA, where he received his PhD in 1986. At UCLA he also met and married Dianne Applegate, a fellow scientist. Borowiec did a rotation in Paul D. Boyer's laboratory, at the Molecular Biology Institute, and then in Jay D. Gralla's laboratory. He worked on DNA supercoiling; lac; and footprinting technique. After receiving his PhD he obtained a post-doc in the Department of Molecular Biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. There he worked in Jerard Hurwitz's lab, studying SV40 per se and as a model of human DNA replication. In 1989 he was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry at New York University Medical Center in New York City. His work continues there, encompassing over the years an interest in replication of linear DNA; flaws in C. Richard Wobbe's discovery of SSB DNA; T-antigen; ARS; and particularly bovine papillomavirus. Borowiec and his wife, Dianne, who works in her lab at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and his 2-1/2-year-old son, Zachary, live in Greenwich Village, where they attempt to balance the demands of scientific research and publication with the demands of family life. Borowiec has received several grants, including a post-doc and a grant from the NIH and a Pew Scholars Program grant. He has published many articles on a number of subjects; the articles appear in many different journals, including JMB, Biochemistry, Cell, and PNAS.
James U. Bowie was born in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1959; the youngest of four siblings. Bowie's father, E. J. Walter Bowie, was a doctor originally from England who met Bowie's Swiss mother, Gertrud Ülrich, while she was on summer vacation in England. The family eventually moved to Canada, where they lived for a while until Bowie's father began working at the Mayo Clinic, and then they moved to Minnesota. Bowie went through school with relative ease and regularly got into trouble until he traveled to Switzerland with his mother and decided to change his approach to life. He first discovered biology and proteins while working for one of his father's colleagues in a laboratory at the Mayo Clinic. From that point on he knew that he wanted to pursue Biology. Bowie received his BA from Carleton College in 1981 and credits one professor in particular with making molecular biology interesting. He was an avid skier in college and met his wife during his sophomore year. Bowie was accepted into medical school for the following year, but instead elected to defer for one year. During this period he worked as a lab technician; an experience that pushed him to decide against medical school. After a subsequent year of applications to graduate school programs, he matriculated into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his PhD in 1989. In 1989 Bowie accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he began learning crystallography in David S. Eisenberg's Lab. He and Eisenberg focused on analyzing the sequence and structure of proteins through computational biology and on the use of novel computer programming to predict protein structure. During this period Bowie also developed a specific interest in characterizing the structure, function, and regulation of cell membrane proteins, a field with widespread medical and pharmaceutical applications. Bowie was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1993. His major area of research there still centers on identifying the structure and function of key cell membrane proteins. Throughout his oral history Bowie explains how fortunate he has been to have had such an easy childhood and so many opportunities to succeed. He has received several grants, including a fellowship, a National Science Foundation Young Investigator award, a McCoy Award in Chemistry, and most notably a Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant, which he discusses in the oral history interview.
Christopher Bradfield grew up in the San Francisco, California, area. His early schooling was in Daly City, California, and he attended high school in Half Moon Bay. He has an older brother and a younger sister. His father obtained his PhD in psychology from University of California, Berkeley, during years of social upheaval, and Bradfield can remember being on campus during those times. Bradfield's mother suffered from cancer for several years during Bradfield's early adolescence, dying when he was in high school. He finished his schooling intending to become a soccer coach. Bradfield applied to college because his father was a professor and expected his children to go to college. Finally, calling himself a late bloomer, he began to see the value in learning and displayed an aptitude for sciences, which a biology teacher at his community college encouraged Bradfield to pursue. He particularly admires the elegance of scientific solutions. He received a two-year degree from Skyline College and his BA from University of California, Davis. Bradfield ponders the questions of whether scientists are born or made; the role of serendipity in science; and types of intelligence. Bradfield decided to get a master's degree from University of California, Berkeley and he entered Leonard F. Bjeldanes' lab, where his research involved identifying indoles; he became so involved in his project that he finished a PhD instead of a master's degree. By then, he had realized that environmental and nutritional issues must be dealt with in the political arena, not simply the laboratory. Bradfield decided to accept a postdoc in Alan P. Poland's lab at the University of Wisconsin. Under Alan Poland's influence Bradfield flourished, beginning work on the AH purifying proteins. He then accepted an assistant professorship at Northwestern University, where he was unable to do the work he had anticipated, so he moved to McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at University of Wisconsin. Bradfield discusses his concern about the lack of creativity in most science; differences between good and great scientists; his love of laboratory work; his frustration with scientific journals; the status of the "scientific method" in current research. He explains how he decides what research projects the lab should pursue; the present status of his dioxin research and unpublished work on the relationship between dioxin and hypoxia; and doing research at McArdle. He puts forth his views on the best way to structure research institutions and compares the funding of science at McArdle and at Northwestern University. Bradfield then reverts to the personal, talking about his own funding, his reasons for becoming a scientist; the advantages of not leading research in one's own field; keeping his lab afloat financially; the goals of his dioxin research; his patents; and the impact of his winning the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award. Back to the larger picture, he talks about possible breakthroughs in gene therapy and disease intervention; his thoughts on the training of future MD's; dangers of government policy masquerading as science. He finishes with a discussion of his family life.
William Braell grew up in Palmyra, a small town in New York, the oldest of five children. His father was a general practitioner, his mother a housewife. He was always interested in science and always had chemistry sets. His physics and chemistry teacher was a good teacher and helped steer him to Massachusetts Institute of Technology instead of the local colleges his classmates mostly attended. Braell settled on biochemistry halfway through college and worked in Philip Robbins' biochemistry lab his senior year. At the time, not much was known about membranes, so for his PhD, Braell chose to stay at MIT because of its good membrane program. There he worked on spectrin and band 3 membrane proteins of red cells, eventually losing interest in spectrin and concentrating on band 3 in Harvey Lodish's lab. Braell did his postdoctoral work at Stanford University, in the lab of James Rothman, who had an "idea a minute." Arthur Kornberg's management at Stanford produced an electric atmosphere and many famous scientists. Braell goes on to detail some of the advances in sciences, particularly in membrane studies. He talks about the discovery of a signal on proteins; mannose-6-phosphate; Peter Walter and SRP; Randy Schekman and sec; and Stuart Kornfeld and lysosomal enzymes. Braell focuses on the biochemistry involved in the enzymology of membrane fusion. He explains some of the difficulties of the scientist: getting good students; isolating vesicles; competing with molecular biology and cloning. He likes having his small lab, as it is more efficient to supervise and easier to fund. He points out that his work has potential clinical implications: for the AIDS virus, for example, and for drug-protein interactions. He explains that since we don't know which proteins are involved or how they work, fusion could be temporary or contact cell-to-cell; thus understanding membrane fusion is very important. Braell hopes to emulate his ideal scientist, Eugene Kennedy, and be still on the bench many years from now.
John D. Altman was born and raised in Birmingham, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. He and his sister, two years younger, attended public schools, where, without parental prodding (or so he remembers), both were good students. He had an inspiring literature class in high school but remembers no inspirational classes in the sciences. His family belonged to a Hebrewless temple where the rabbi had established the Society for Humanistic Judaism; Altman was bar mitzvah there in an unusual ceremony.
Altman had planned to attend medical school after obtaining an electrical engineering degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after which he would work on medically related things, but by what he calls incremental steps he reverted to biology. Soon after beginning college he switched majors to chemistry, working in Michael Marletta’s toxicology laboratory throughout his college career. Extracurricular activities included fishing in Gloucester, biking, and playing intramural hockey on his fraternity’s team. During his junior year he realized that he wanted to go into research, not medicine, and he decided to attend the University of California, San Francisco, for graduate school; his two influences for this decision were Marletta and Gregory Petsko. At the University of California, San Francisco, his doctoral research in Irwin Kuntz’s biophysical chemistry laboratory involved using two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study protein structure. Altman then discusses his experiences and project with Steve Anderson at Genentech Corporation during his postdoctoral fellowship in Mark Davis’s immunology laboratory at Stanford University. At Stanford he meets and marries his wife.
Altman continues with a discussion of his postdoctoral research on protein chemistry and immunology with T cells in the Davis laboratory; his collaborations with Oxford University studying T cells and HIV immunity; his defining moment at Oxford; and meeting Rafi Ahmed. Altman accepted a position at the Vaccine Center of Emory University and set up his lab. Altman then delves into his funding history. He explains his administrative roles at the Emory Vaccine Center and the MHC Tetramer Core Facility; he talks about his collaborations, his current research in viral immunology, and his direction of the Immunology Core Laboratory in the Vaccine Center. He explains the funding at the MHC Tetramer Core Facility and discusses his patent and his research on vaccines at the Southeastern Regional Center for Excellence in Biodefense. Altman describes his lab management style and the makeup of his lab and discusses how he would like to set the national science agenda. He concludes the interview by reflecting upon the wider context of his work, the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant on his work, the grant-writing process, and the issues of patents, politics, religion, and ethical questions in science.
Michael J. Berry II begins his oral history discussing his childhood, which was heavily influenced by the chemistry careers of both his parents and involved several moves from California to Wisconsin, New Jersey, and then Texas. During high school Berry developed an interest in both physics and chemistry, while also engaging in some philosophicalq uestions. Shortly after matriculating at the University of California, Berkeley, Berry decided to pursue physics as his major instead of chemistry. The questions at the heart of physics seemed both more intellectually stimulating and intriguing. Although Berry felt he had a calling within the field of physics, he still found time to wrestle with philosophical inquiry. As an undergraduate Berry began to think about neuroscience as the melding of his two interests: physics and philosophy. After earning his bachelors degree, however, Berry pursued a PhD in physics at Harvard University under Robert M. Westervelt. While finishing his thesis work on semiconductor physics and chaotic systems, Berry decided to pursue post-doctoral research that led him farther from physics and closer to biology. Prior to beginning his post-doctoral work, Berry enrolled in a Marine Biological Laboratory course at Woods Hole focused on electrophysiology and found a community of physicists working in neuroscience and the biological fields. As such, the time spent with Markus Meister at Harvard University for post-doctoral research allowed Berry to transition successfully into the field of neuroscience (which he found better suited to his intellectual needs). By focusing his research on visual processing in the retina, Berry discovered the joys and challenges of working in a field that, unlike physics, did not yet have what he considered a well-defined framework. Before securing his faculty position at Princeton University in the Molecular Biology Department, Berry encountered some difficulty in choosing between physics-based and biology-based departments. Shortly after starting at Princeton, Berry was awarded the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award. Throughout his oral history, Berry addressed such important issues as funding, mentoring his students, and attempting to balance his personal life with his career. The oral history concludes with a discussion of the connections between neuroscience and philosophy and the globalization of science.
Glen A. Evans grew up in San Diego, California, the oldest of three children. His father was an illustrator and later an engineer working on airplanes, his mother a housewife. Both were of Welsh descent. All three of their children obtained degrees from University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and live in the area.
Evans first decided on a science career when he was in high school. An arrangement with UCSD allowed him to take courses at the University even while in high school, and during the summer before he matriculated at UCSD he worked in Renato Dulbecco’s lab. As a result he was able to graduate in just three years, with a major in biology and enough credits for another major in chemistry, and with two published papers. Medical school beckoned, as did research, so Evans decided to combine the two in the Medical Scientist Training Program offered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), choosing UCSD. There he was able to continue in Michael G. Rosenfeld’s lab, where he had worked as an undergraduate on activation of hormone genes in the pituitary gland. He finished his MD and his PhD degrees together in just six years, with an internship at Stanford University and a thesis on the regulation of prolactin by TRF.
Evans’ first job was in Philip Leder’s lab at the NIH’s Public Health Service, funded by the U.S. Navy. Finding the lab too large, Evans moved to Jonathan Seidman’s lab to work on histocompatibility antigens. When Leder and Seidman left NIH for Harvard University, taking most of the lab with them, Evans decided to finish his third year and then move to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Though he has to fund his own work at the Salk he finds it intellectually free, smaller, and more efficient. He has little difficulty getting grants, except for expensive equipment, like a confocal microscope, so he attempts to share whenever possible. He keeps his lab small, preferring graduate students to postdocs, as he finds them are more curious, willing to stay longer, easier to teach, and willing to experiment. These days Evans is not working at the bench, as his lab is mostly involved with the Human Genome Project, and his time is better spent in administration, but he hopes to get back soon. Evans’ wife has degrees in both mathematics and music and is now a professional musician. The couple has two children, with another on the way. Evans’ interests include skiing; playing piano, organ, and synthesizer; and building furniture. To finish the interview Evans discusses his documentation, a typical day at work, his rolling contract, and his ideal lab environment.