Jeffery F. Miller grew up in Toledo, Ohio, the elder of two children. His father was a pediatrician, his mother a nurse and housewife. His parents were devout Roman Catholics, and religion had a strong influence on Miller: he and his father still debate the harmony between science and religion. As a child Miller went to his father's office and was able to study bacteria through a microscope; this is where his interest in medicine in general and in bacteria specifically began. A study he and his father did of Streptococcus pyogenes won him a fellowship to spend a summer studying bacterial pathogens at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Miller entered Case Western Reserve University, finishing with a double major in biology and chemistry. Here he talks about fraternity life and his love of motorcycles. Miller's first college classes were large, and he found that he enjoyed college much more when he entered C. Willard Schuster's lab to study plasmid-encoded hemolysin. It happened that he loved the lab and decided to pursue a science rather than a medical career. Most importantly, he met his future wife, Jeanette Polaschek, in college; and here he tells a little about her and her family. Influenced by Moselio Schaechter, whom he calls "almost larger than life," Miller matriculated into Tufts University School of Medicine. He discusses here his classwork and rotations at Tufts. One of his rotations was with Michael Malamy, whom Miller calls the most rigorous scientist he has ever met, and who eventually became Miller's mentor. In Malamy's lab he studied genetic regulation in E. coli. Miller explains the circumstances surrounding his entry into the Stanley Falkow lab at Stanford University School of Medicine; at Stanford he also spent a year in the Lucy S. Tompkins lab. Miller greatly admired Falkow, and in one of their discussions, Miller coined the term "the Zen of pathogenesis." He talks about his debt of gratitude to Lucy S. Tompkins; Falkow's approach to science; and the diversity of research projects in the Falkow lab. Miller studied gene regulation in Bordetella pertussis; and then Bordetella bronchiseptica in guinea pigs as a model of host-parasite interaction. Miller talks about Falkow's creativity and ability to enlist capable scientists in his lab; Falkow's success at finding jobs for his postdocs; and what it was like to serve as a bacterial genetics consultant at Affymax biotech company. Miller accepted an assistant professorship at University of California, Los Angeles, with a good start-up package. His lab personnel have been doing research on the molecular biology of transmembrane signaling; his graduate student Brian Akerley has reversed the circuitry regulating virulence and that regulating motility. Miller has developed Listeria monocytogenes as a bacterial probe and has been experimenting with viral vaccines. He discusses the prospect of testing the lab's vaccines in humans; obstacles to developing a workable vaccine; his competitors and how designing innovative experiments reduces competition between labs; his plans to study transmission of infections in vivo; and his study of bacterial pathogens' interaction with the immune system. Miller's rigorous approach to science infuses his management of his lab. Miller talks about his funding; science funding in the United States; the benefits of being a Pew scholar; his patent issues; his hopes of partially funding his own research through founding a company; the need for basic research; and how teaching and research are mutually beneficial. He then gets more specific and personal, talking about MD's in the lab; his lab's publication record and what he construes as reviewer bias in competitive biomedical fields; his own journal review procedure; lab safety and the potential dangers surrounding recent biomedical developments; and the impact their children have had on Miller and his wife. He reverts to his science, explaining the characteristics of bacteria and describing what might be new bacterial epidemics. Miller's mother's affliction with an antibiotic-resistant bacterial strain has increased his desire to find answers. As he points out, there is an increasing number of problems with bacterial food poisoning, to which biodiversity among bacteria contributes; he suggests that solutions might be derived from the E. coli genome project. Miller concludes with his philosophy of nature.
Manfred Frasch was born in Holzgerlingen, Germany, in Swabia. His father was what we would call a contractor, building mostly wooden roofs. This business was begun by Frasch's grandfather, and the Frasch family has lived in that area for many generations. Manfred lived on a farm, where his mother did the farming. His father's workshop was also on the farm. He was brought up in the Lutheran faith. He had an early curiosity about how things work, leading him to chemistry and biology. After finishing gymnasium, Frasch completed his compulsory military service. He entered the University of Tübingen, where he majored in biochemistry. He also studied molecular biology at the University of Munich, with which Tübingen had an exchange program. His diploma thesis concerned gene regulation in Drosophila; he found Drosophila so fascinating that he has remained in that field. Liking the projects, the atmosphere, and the independence of Tübingen, Frasch decided to stay there for his PhD , using biochemical rather than genetic techniques in his research into Drosophila. He eventually learned cloning techniques and decided to pursue genetic approaches rather than biochemical. He worked in Friedrich Bonhoeffer's lab, where he had a great deal of independence. Wanting to see more of the world and wanting to expand his scientific horizons, he applied for postdocs in the United States. He accepted a position in Michael Levine's lab at Columbia University, working on the even-skipped gene. He had always intended to return to Germany, and he accepted a position as a research fellow in Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard's lab in the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, where his focus was on mesoderm development. There, work on S59 led to the characterization of tinman and bagpipe. Frasch was not sanguine about his career prospects during his last year at the University of Tübingen, so he decided to return to the States, and accepted a position in the Brookdale Center for Molecular Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. There he established his own lab, where he hopes to find clinical relevance for his mesoderm and heart development research. He began as an associate professor in the Brookdale but is now a tenured associate professor. He is married to Hanh Thi Nguyen, who is also a scientist.
Eric G. Pamer was born in Los Angeles, California, where he spent his first several years. His father, who came from Austria, was an engineer with Cleveland Crane; he was transferred to Luxembourg to open a company branch, and the family stayed there for five or six years. Then they returned to Cleveland, Ohio, where Pamer senior became president of Cleveland Crane. Eric's mother had come from Russia and ended up in Los Angeles, where she met and married Eric's father. Eric has a younger sister as well, who has ended up living in Hamburg, Germany. Eric started first grade in Luxembourg in an international school; Eric's classes were in German, but he also studied French, and the family spoke English at home. Just before sixth grade the Pamers returned to Cleveland. Junior high school did not have good teachers or classes and was, in fact, dangerous. High school was better; there Eric had John Hurst as a biology teacher as well as cross-country and track coach. Eric had always liked nature and ecology, and he became very interested in biology. He loved collecting and cataloguing; eventually he studied daphnia as his senior project. He also loved to take long bike rides. Eric completed his BA in biology at Case Western Reserve University, initially studying hydra in Georgia Lesh's lab and working summers at the Cleveland Clinic. Deciding he wanted to go to medical school, he became a good student and finished in three years. He worked on hydra in Georgia Lesh's lab and worked summers at the Cleveland Clinic. He spent a month in Europe, liking it so much he worked as a technician for a year to earn money to travel around the world. He applied to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and, granted deferment, he spent a year traveling around the world. When he entered medical school he began in Abdel Mahmoud's lab, working on immune defense against schistosomiasis. During his fourth year he spent three months working in a Kenyan hospital. His surgery internship was at University of California at San Diego; he switched to medicine, first as an intern, then as a resident, and finally as chief resident. During this time he met and married his wife, Wendy, and they began their family. Next came three fellowship years in Charles Davis' lab at UCSD. During his first year Pamer worked on African sleeping sickness. He became interested in the study of infectious disease and immunology. He moved his cysteine protease research to Magdalene So's lab at Scripps Research Institute when Davis' lab became too small. From there he and his family moved to Seattle so that he could work on immunity in Listeria in Michael Bevan's lab. After two years and a strong paper, Pamer was offered an assistant professorship at Yale University; he has been there since. He is, however, about to move to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he wants to build up the infectious disease service. His own work continues to be the study of the interface between the immune system and microbes. His lab has mice whose response to Listeria has been to build immunity rapidly and completely; Pamer wants to study how to use that response in humans to protect such diseases as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. Pamer has had a number of grants and published many papers. He teaches; he has some administrative duties; he manages his medium-sized lab; he is attending physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital two months each year; he continues to publish; he is preparing to move himself and his lab to New York City. Most important, he attempts to balance all this with his life with his wife and two children. If he could not be a scientist he would travel and write books about his experiences.
Martyn D. Goulding was born in 1958 in Auckland, New Zealand; the eldest of five siblings. His father was a blue-collar worker, originally from the Fiji Islands, who would later open his own plumbing manufacturing company. Goulding's mother suffered from increasing disabilities caused by polio during her childhood, and she worked several jobs intermittently. His family attended church regularly, as his maternal grandfather was a church minister; an experience which he credits as one of his most positive influences. Through high school and other influences Goulding came to appreciate science and medicine and decided to apply to medical school. Goulding attended Auckland University Medical School with the original intention of earning an MD degree. His first laboratory experience with Raymond K. Ralph, however, gave him a newfound interest in research and he decided to switch to a PhD program. Goulding stayed on in Ralph's lab studying the role of cyclic AMP in tumor cell growth regulation for which he earned a Bachelor of Science degree; he then did research on c-fos and other oncogenes to earn a PhD He also met and married his wife, Yolanda Leenders, during his time at Auckland University. In 1988 Goulding began as a postdoctoral fellow in Peter Gruss's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, in Göttingen, Germany. During his time in Gruss's Lab, Goulding focused his research on PAX genes and their role in notochord development. He then spent some time in England, where he was a senior research fellow at Guy's Hospital, and spent five months doing research at the University of Nottingham. In 1992 Goulding was appointed Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego and was also appointed Assistant Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California. His current research concentrates on spinal chord interneurons and the genes and transcription factors which during development are crucial to the appropriate growth and function of these interneurons. Throughout his oral history Goulding emphasizes that the goal of any true researcher should be to seek the truth, and cautions against financially motivated research. He has received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant, which he discusses in the oral history.
Stephen R. J. Salton was born in Cambridge, England, and moved to Australia when he was about seven. When he was about ten, his family moved to Cranford, New Jersey, where his father became chairman of the microbiology department at New York University. Salton attended public schools, and he remembers a good chemistry teacher. He had an early interest in biology, partly because he liked it and partly because his perception of science was influenced by his father's career. Although he felt that there were deficiencies in his pre-college science curriculum, he did have a chance to perform research one summer in the Joel Oppenheim and Martin Nachbar labs at New York University.
Salton entered the University of Pennsylvania to major in biology; there he found stimulating introductory biology and biochemistry courses. He had the opportunity to undertake undergraduate lab work at the Wistar Institute with James England and Michael Halpern who taught him the importance of learning to solve problems at the bench. He decided to enter New York University's MD/PhD program, where he did his PhD research in pharmacology under Michael Shelanski and Lloyd Greene, making antibodies for work on PC12 cell surface glycoprotein response to nerve growth factor v (NGF) treatments. He became enmeshed in the debate over basic science and clinically relevant research and the funding problems raised by that debate.
Though somewhat dissatisfied with medical school coursework, some of that dissatisfaction was mitigated when in his second year he met his future wife, Johanna Baeuerle. Also to his benefit during his schooling, Salton had a good working relationship with Shelanski and Greene who taught him the usefulness of collaborations between labs for meeting funding deadlines and the politics involved in collaborations. He then did a residency and postdoc in the James Roberts lab; balancing professional life and life with his family (Baeuerle and their two children) was sometimes a challenge. Salton had entered the Roberts lab in order to learn molecular biology techniques; he was later able to apply molecular techniques in an attempt to determine the differences between neutrophic growth factors and non-neutrophic growth factors. He found exciting the rapid evolution of molecular biology techniques into a widely accessible tool that can decrease the potential tedium involved in large-scale DNA analysis.
The interview concludes with Salton's discussion of some ideas about how to keep a small lab competitive; the political advantages of publishing in Cell, Nature, or Science; and the insular editorial tendency at the top science journals. He discusses funding; professional opportunities for science PhD 's; and sharing lab facilities; he continues with Mount Sinai's process of recruiting faculty to the new Fishberg Research Center for Neurobiology as illustrative of his own transition from postdoc to assistant professor. He ends with his beliefs about the effect of changes in the health care industry on medical school funding, his opinion of the proposed merging of Mount Sinai Medical School and the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and regret over a lost opportunity to pursue clinically based research under Ira Goldstein.
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 R. Koelle was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico but was raised mainly in Seattle, Washington, the youngest of the family's three children. Both of his parents were German emigrants (his father as an infant, his mother during the 1930s). Koelle's father worked as an electrical engineer in Los Alamos until the age of fifty when he started his own business focused on electronic identification technologies; his mother raised the children on her own in Seattle while working as a special education teacher. Koelle's older brother, who studied medicine, encouraged Koelle to study science; Koelle was also very interested in pursuing music. His first laboratory experiences were during high school when he had the opportunity to work in the labs of Barbara L. and Stephen M. Schwartz at the University of Washington, Seattle. After completing high school he attended the University of Washington where he majored in biochemistry (after taking a course on recombinant DNA technology) and worked in Theodore Young's laboratory in his junior year. Deciding to continue his study of biochemistry, Koelle pursued his doctoral degree at Stanford University with David Hogness, working on hormonal controlled development and the ecdysone hormone receptor. Following the completion of his PhD , Koelle undertook post-doctoral research on the genes involved in neural function and on the mechanics of neurotransmission with H. Robert Horvitz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then accepted a position at Yale University, focusing his research on G protein signaling and regulation and planning to expand his research on the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission as a means of studying embryogenesis. Koelle spends much of the interview talking about the multiple duties of an academic scientist, like teaching, lab and research administration, mentoring, and participating in professional duties, and about his views on the practice of science in contemporary society, like, the issue of patenting intellectual property, the privatization of scientific research, competition and collaboration in science, the national scientific agenda, and educating the public. The interview ends with his thoughts on the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences and its role in his own research and scientific research generally.
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.
David A. Brenner grew up in Queens, New York, the oldest of three children. His father worked in the family business, a ladies’ clothing store; his mother was a housewife until her children were grown, at which time she went into real estate. Brenner was bar mitzvah, but he had no attraction to religion. He was always interested in the sciences.
For Brenner the sciences meant medicine, and he chose Yale University as a good school for biology. He found chemistry static and dull, but biology was burgeoning. After his junior year, Brenner spent a year on a research ship, working for Edward Thorndike of the Lamont Geological Observatory, and becoming interested in marine biology. Back at Yale he reverted to biology, working in Joseph Bloomer’s lab and winning an award for his outstanding thesis.
Only two medical schools required a thesis of students, and wanting to continue to do research, Brenner chose Yale. He continued working in Bloomer’s lab, studying protoporphyria in the Liver Study Unit. He took his two years of classes and then went back to the lab. He worked on variegate porphyria, writing a thesis that was published in New England Journal of Medicine. Brenner and his wife, who had also been a medical student at Yale, then went to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for three years. He wanted to learn molecular biology, so he spent three years in Daniel Camerini-Otero’s lab, while his wife did rheumatology.
Brenner next took a job at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He worked for a year in clinical gastroenterology on liver diseases. He set up his lab and began his study of ferrochelatase. Mario Chojkier persuaded Brenner to join his molecular biology knowledge with Chojkier’s biochemical knowledge in a study of collagen. Brenner also joined the staff of the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
At the end of the 1990 interview, Brenner explains his title and its connection to tenure; his lab management style; competition and collaboration; and his winning of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award.
He starts the 2009 interview by reviewing his early years in college and affirming his career decisions. He expresses joy in the richness of biology; he appreciates the insights his clinical experience gives him in his research. He also reminisces about his long lab hours and his residency. He remembers life in the NIH labs and discusses moonlighting to keep up his clinical skills while he did his postdoc. And he talks about the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award and the Pew annual meetings.
After several years Brenner moved to the University of North Carolina (UNC), becoming a full professor and continuing his work on ferrochelatase and fibrosis in cirrhosis. He was named director of the university’s Center for Digestive Diseases and Nutrition and became Editor-in-Chief of Gastroenterology. He commanded more lab space and more equipment. He found UNC’s intellectual approach similar to those of UCSD and Yale. North Carolina, furthermore, had a welcoming lab community and was a good place to establish his family life (and, as Brenner notes, there was also Atlantic Coast Conference basketball, and the sky was always Carolina blue). His children had time to grow up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, before Brenner moved to Columbia University, where he became Samuel Bard Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine. After his five years as Editor of Gastroenterology Brenner was lured back to San Diego; there he became Vice Chairman for Health Services and Dean.
At the end of the interview he talks about various universities; his administrative duties; and his lack of time for the lab. He explains his hope to affiliate the children’s hospital to the UCSD system, tells some visa stories about his foreign postdocs, and talks more about grant writing and his grants. He laughs when asked how he has balanced his home life and work life, saying he never did balance them and mentions that his children are now grown, his daughter in medical school at Columbia, and his son, a graduate of University of Georgia, in business. They all get together, however, at the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball championships, of course rooting for the Tar Heels.
Judy Lieberman, the second of three daughters, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in a New Jersey suburb of New York City. Her father worked for Maidenform Incorporated, and her mother was an elementary school teacher. The three girls had an intensely cultural and educational childhood and family life; they were expected to excel at school and to study science or mathematics or music or art in their spare time. Judy attended summer programs in science at Columbia University and physics at Cornell University. She loved to paint—she still paints—and also attended an art camp at Cornell University one summer. The family celebrated the Jewish holy days with family but were otherwise atheists. Until about tenth grade Judy wanted to be a labor historian, but an excellent biology teacher and the Cornell physics program turned her to science. Although she loved biology in high school, she thought perhaps physics would be more challenging and elegant, so Judy entered Harvard University intending to be a theoretical physicist. She found it an intellectually stimulating discipline, but a solitary one, and she was not sure she had made the right choice. Nevertheless, she decided to pursue a PhD in physics at Rockefeller University, where she studied with Bram Pais. During her second year as a graduate student she married Edward Greer, who had been her betrothed since her last year in college. She then spent three years at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University; from there she moved to Chicago to a job at the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in nearby Batavia, Illinois. Judy was not happy as a physicist and decided to become a doctor. She obtained her MD from a special joint program in Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during which time she bore her first son. She did her internship at the New England School of Medicine and her residency at Tufts University School of Medicine and then accepted a postdoctoral position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research. It was during her residency that she bore her second son. After the postdoc she moved to hematology/oncology at Tufts University School of Medicine, where she held several positions until she moved back to Harvard's Center for Blood Research. Because it is difficult to do both science research and clinical practice well Judy has decided to devote her skills to science, specifically immunology, where she believes she can make a greater difference to more people. There she continues to seek an immunotherapy for AIDS as well as for other diseases. Although she says that finding the immunotherapy for AIDS has turned out to be much more difficult than she had originally thought, she does believe that there will be good therapy, if perhaps not a cure. In this oral history Judy discusses, in addition to her work, women in science; ethics; lab management; raising children; translational research; funding.
Frank Costantini grew up in New York City, one of three sons. His father was a chemical engineer, his mother an artist. He was good in math and liked quantitative, objective subjects. He matriculated at Yale University, working on RNase Q in Sidney Altman's lab. For graduate school Costantini chose California Institute of Technology, in part because a girlfriend was going to University of California, Los Angeles. He entered Eric Davidson's lab to work on sea urchins; William Klein, a postdoc, acted as his submentor. The science in Davidson's lab was mostly biochemical and molecular, but Costantini thought it more important to know the "logic behind doing science" than what science the lab did. Costantini still wanted, however, to focus on molecular biology, especially as applied to mammals, so he went into Christopher Graham's lab at University of Oxford. His wife, Elizabeth Lacy, also did a postdoc in Graham's lab. There Costantini worked on deriving embryonic carcinoma cell lines to go into the germ line to make genetically altered mice. At first this did not work, but Costantini showed the possibility of getting into the germ line by injecting DNA directly into the nucleus of an egg, rather than into the cytoplasm. Then a new research field, his result has now become a commonly-used technique. Thinking about another postdoc, this time at Rockefeller University, Costantini was instead persuaded to apply for a job that had come open at Columbia University, and his wife took a job at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Although both are still working on mutations that affect early development, they no longer collaborate. At Columbia Costantini can do whatever he can get funding for. His lab is an exciting place, with much happening. He likes to figure out what can be done with a new and interesting technique rather than try to fit the technique to a specific project. He still works mostly on mammalian development biology and gene regulation. He says that embryonic stem (ES) cells can now enable mutations in all genes, and that his best collaboration is with Elizabeth Robertson and her ES cells work. Costantini concludes his interview by saying that his free time is dominated by his eighteen-month-old son. He also likes to cook and to travel when he can. He still loves the intellectual challenge of science.
Ronald A. Milligan grew up on a farm outside of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the youngest of five children. Life was, in his words, "primitive." He spent most of his free time outside, never feeling bored. He was interested in birdwatching, eventually in hunting birds. He passed his 11+ exam, attended grammar school, and went on to university, the first in his family. He had been interested in biology all through his childhood, and when a school trip to Queen's University in Belfast exposed him to bacteriology, he decided he wanted to study botany and bacteriology. His scores admitted him to the University of Leeds. He had made the decision to be a research scientist earlier, though he does not remember how he learned what a scientist did. During his teenage years religious conflict in Northern Ireland became extreme; there was the outbreak of terrorism and British military occupation. Milligan was graduated with a lower second-class honors degree and began to hunt for a job. He took a position as a research assistant at the Nuffield Institute of Comparative Medicine at the London Zoo, where he studied botulism and bovine pleuropneumonia. From there he became a research assistant at the Medical Research Council (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, going to work on nuclear pore complex (NPC) in Nigel Unwin's lab. When Unwin was recruited to Stanford, Milligan went along as a graduate student. Here Milligan discusses Unwin's reasons for leaving MRC and his [Unwin's] own experiences at Stanford. Milligan goes into detail about his work on low-temperature ribosome crystallization and how electron microscopes damage specimens. He spent three months in Heidelberg, Germany, studying cryo-electron microscopy; his results allowed him to acquire independence as a researcher. Milligan talks about his NPC research, grantsmanship, and "safe science"; he explains his work of freezing specimens in amorphous ice and the damage caused by electron microscopy and by freezing; he goes into methods of enhancing imaging, synthetic universe visualization software, omega energy filtering microscopes, field emission guns, atomic force microscopy, and relations with competitors; and he continues with explanations of cell symmetry and the structure of the NPC and NPC intermediate structures. Milligan's research continued with studying muscle cell structure with cryo-electron microscopy, and he collaborated with Paula F. Flicker: there was a lack of evidence for the cross-bridge muscle cycle theory but a discovery of new myosins. He attended cell biology conferences and spent money setting up a lab. He conceived an interest in molecular motors and talks about microtubule dynamics. Milligan winds down his interview with answers to general questions: he talks about the need to work in the mainstream of scientific research; personnel in his lab; the role of computers; how funding trends shape research; the autonomy provided by Scripps Research Institute; Milligan's raison d'étre; pure science and applied science; scientists' motivations; Scripps's ties to Johnson and Johnson; how Scripps recruited Milligan; and the Scripps administration. He finishes with insight into his marriage and thoughts about his future.
David E. Fisher grew up in Highland Park, New Jersey, the second of three children. His grandparents and their extended families had escaped Germany just in time—his grandfathers actually from camps—and settled ultimately in Chile. Some then went to Cuba and then to the United States or Israel. David's father obtained his PhD in biochemistry and nutrition from Rutgers University and then founded their department of nutrition, in which he still works. Fisher's mother became a musician and plays and teaches in the area. David and his siblings all had to learn to play piano, beginning at age five, and later a stringed instrument. David played cello, his siblings violin. His first piano and cello teachers had a strong influence on both his approach to music and his strong work ethic. Fisher was raised in the Conservative Jewish tradition, but his wife's conversion to Judaism led him to become Orthodox. Fisher attended what he calls "terrific" public schools, where he excelled. During summers he went to music camp. Fisher decided to pursue a career in medicine, attending the Curtis Institute of Music and Swarthmore College concurrently. He spent his first college summer in his father's lab, from which he published his first paper. Through Maxine Singer he obtained a summer position in Robert Weinberg's lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his third summer; here he discovered molecular biology and oncology. Although he still wanted to be a doctor, he also wanted to work in the lab, so he decided to pursue a joint MD/PhD degree at Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Rockefeller University. He did his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. At the end of his residency he married. He then began his research in Henry Kunkel's immunology lab; in Günter Blobel's laboratory he completed thesis projects on systemic lupus erythematosis and T-cells. Fisher then talks about his fellowships in adult and pediatric oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston; his studies of TFEB transcription factor as a postdoctoral student in Phillip Sharp's laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the births of his children. He then accepted a research position at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He talks about grant writing; funding; the impact of his grant from the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences; his teaching duties; and minority students and women in the graduate programs and on the faculty at Harvard University. He continues with an explanation of the makeup and management of his lab; his administrative responsibilities; publishing; traveling; clinical responsibilities; and balancing his clinical and science duties. His current research on apoptosis and on microphthalmia transcription factor (Mitf) in melanocytes and osteoclasts fills out the interview, leading to a description of a typical day for Fisher. He hopes for clinical applications of his research projects, and explains some of his future research plans. He gives us his opinions on such matters as serendipity in science, patents, competition vs. collaboration; scientific ethics; career satisfaction; and his long-term goals. He finishes with his favorite memories and his pride in his teaching award.
Diane M. Papazian spent her early years in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of three children. Her father was an insurance salesman and administrator, her mother a housewife. She exhibited an early interest in science, thinking she would become an astronaut. When she was about eight or nine the family moved to Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, where Papazian attended a school that tracked students, so she was able to be in advanced classes of all subjects; she found the science instruction particularly excellent. She decided to attend the University of Michigan, though had been unable to choose between biology and chemistry and had thought that biochemistry would combine the two, but Michigan required her to major in chemistry. Her organic chemistry class had students identify a dozen compounds without using modern methods; figuring out how to go about that all on her own Papazian found enthralling. Her first experience in the lab was less successful than hoped, but she loved lab work. She noticed that there were no women on the faculty at Michigan, but she was undeterred. Still wanting to be a biochemist Papazian entered graduate school at Harvard University, where she discovered neurobiology. She worked in Stanley M. Goldin's lab; there she reconstituted and purified two types of calcium transporting ATPases as a thesis project. She found the learning environment at Harvard very stimulating. Papazian accepted a postdoc at the Lily Y. and Yuh Nung Jan lab at the University of California, San Francisco; there she worked on cloning the Shaker gene. Walking along the chromosome presented technical problems, exacerbating the tension caused by competition with other labs to clone the Shaker gene first. She describes the Jans's adventurous approach to science, which leads into her belief that one should follow his or her intellectual interests rather than being confined to one area of study. She continues with a description of the differences between the Jan and Goldin labs. Soon after, she accepted a position at University of California, Los Angeles because she would find there people whose work could both complement and supplement hers. She particularly had in mind a collaboration with Francisco Bezanilla, one in which she could demonstrate her innovative biochemical approach to the potassium channel field. She organized her lab and began research on the biogenesis of the channel, attacking the question of why the Shaker superfamily contains some channels that are not voltage-dependent, and identified the charged residues of the S4 and S2 sequences as contributors to the voltage sensor. She discusses postdocs and students in her lab and her management style; Bezanilla's inspiring enthusiasm for science; the challenges of teaching new material; the impact of early retirement policies on faculty teaching loads; and the pressure to secure grant money. When asked about other possible careers she mentions law, owning a bakery, teaching, and writing; she does not mention dancing, though she and her husband met dancing and continue to enjoy it. She concludes the interview discussing her belief that neurobiology must become more interdisciplinary; her view of funding disparities; her strategies for keeping abreast of the field; her impression of the atmosphere in the UCLA Department of Physiology; her philosophy of nature; and her recognition of the benefits of the Pew scholarship and her regard for the goals of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
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.
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.
Chavela M. Carr grew up near Indianapolis, Indiana in a large family. From early childhood she was interested in school, finding the math-based sciences interesting. Due to a high school human genetics course, Carr decided to pursue molecular biology as an undergraduate. She attended Vanderbilt University, studying German, earning Phi Beta Kappa, and remaining involved in choir and musical theatre. More importantly for her future career, however, Carr also worked with Douglas R. Cavener on Drosophila genetics, a research laboratory experience that differed in distinct ways from her general science laboratory courses. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with honors and awards, Carr attended MIT for graduate work in biology. Soon she joined the laboratory of Peter S. Kim (Pew Scholar Class of 1990) and began researching protein-protein interactions and coiled coils. There she began a long-term collaboration and friendship with Frederick M. Hughson. In 1993 Carr published a Cell paper on the spring-loaded mechanism of conformational change in flu-virus—a paper which merited news releases in the New York Times and Washington Post. After completing her PhD, Carr moved to New Haven, Connecticut to join Peter J. Novick’s laboratory at Yale University, where she wanted to begin working on a yeast model system; her work and publications on the Sec1 proteins binding to SNARES proved controversial and have only recently been resolved. While at Yale Carr met her husband Hays S. Rye, introducing the ‘two-body’ problem to both of their career tracks. Upon receiving a position at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Carr began her research group and soon received the Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Science Award, which she recounted at length. Carr discussed her current research and the difficulties associated with publishing and funding during the oral history and she ended the interview talking about biomedical science more broadly, including the public perception of science and science education.
Seung K. Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, the oldest of three boys. His father had escaped North Korea at the beginning of the Korean Conflict, and he eventually became a doctor. His mother was from a large family in Seoul; she was a pharmacist, owning her own pharmacy. When Kim was about two his father took a job in a hospital in Johnson City, New York; he then accepted a position at the University of Pennsylvania. The family arrived when Kim was about three. They were intending to return to South Korea when Kim's father finished his radiology training, but visa uncertainty due to the Vietnam War caused them to decide to stay here. Kim began school in a Roman Catholic school in Philadelphia, but the family moved back to Johnson City when Kim was in second grade. They spent two years there before moving to Vestal, a suburb of Binghamton. Kim was, he says, obsessed with baseball, playing and reading about it. He also began to go fishing with his father, who had liked to fish in Korea. Fishing also provided Kim with an experiment for his seventh-grade science class. His teacher for that class was influential, by taking Kim seriously and by encouraging him. Mr. Jason, the science teacher, even told Kim's father that he thought Kim could go to Harvard, which was, as Kim says, "the Everest" of colleges in his father's mind. A friend who went to Phillips Exeter Academy told Kim about the school at Thanksgiving, and Kim spent the rest of the school year persuading his parents to send him there and then having to go through the application process. He was accepted and began three of his happiest years when he was a sophomore. He had finally found an academic atmosphere that suited and challenged him, and he loved it. He especially loved math and his math teachers, but he also began to discover experimentation, one summer designing for himself a chemistry experiment to work on when he began school in the fall. He talks here about a number of his teachers who were excellent and whom he still remembers by name. He entered Harvard University, which he found large, anonymous, and somewhat disappointing after Exeter, until he had a biochemistry class taught by Mark Ptashne, Tom Maniatis, and Douglas Melton. Here Kim talks about his college laboratory experience with Richard Goldstein; the process of writing; and his summer tour-guide job in Paris, a job that showed him how much he liked to lecture. He describes his tutelage under James Rheinwald at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; his exposure to the literature and history of his field of research; and his decision to pursue a career in medicine. Kim applied to medical school and became discouraged by the interview process. Urged by Goldstein, he accepted a late interview invitation from Stanford University, where he met Stanley Cohen. He found California beautiful and decided to attend Stanford. There he entered the MD/PhD program and worked in Dale Kaiser's biochemistry laboratory studying cell signaling during development. He discusses his experiences in the MD/PhD program at Stanford; his interest in oncology; and his residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital. On his first day as an intern he met the woman who became his wife. He accepted a fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and then he did a postdoc on pancreas development in Douglas Melton's lab. He goes into great detail about his wife's career, also in medicine. Next he talks about his collaboration with Matthias Hebrok and his research on pancreas development. He accepted a position at Stanford University in developmental biology and set up his lab. He explains his laboratory management style and his role in the laboratory and goes on to talk about his administrative duties; the personnel make-up of his lab; and how he sets the research agenda of his laboratory. He continues with a discussion of his current research using three model systems to study pancreas development and function and insulin production; the practical applications of his research; the issue of patents; balancing family and career; the percentage of women and minorities as graduate students and principal investigators; and the process of writing journal articles. Kim concludes his interview with lessons he has learned; his reasons for becoming a principal investigator; and the qualities of a good scientist.
Patrick Brennwald is the youngest of three children, two boys and a girl. They lived first in Deerfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago; when Patrick was about ten, his parents divorced, and a few years later his mother remarried and the family moved to neighboring Northbrook, Illinois. He remembers a regular childhood, in which he and his siblings played usual games with other children in the area. He does not remember any particular scientific attraction, except that he and his brother used to help a friend catch snakes in a nearby field.
He attended Roman Catholic schools through junior high school, and then switched to the public high school. In sixth grade, in his Roman Catholic school, he was taught about evolution, perhaps where his interest in science began. In eighth grade he had a dynamic general science teacher who helped cement Brennwald’s interest. As a sophomore he was in honors chemistry and honors biology classes; his biology teacher bred owls and was an inspiration to Brennwald. In high school he had to come up with a project of his own, so he studied the sex determination mechanism of swordtail fish. He also worked through high school and college, first as a bagger and then as the supervisor of baggers at his local grocery store. The supervisory work was good preparation for managing a lab, he says.
Brennwald chose Carleton College, an excellent liberal arts college in Minnesota, because he wanted a small school with a broad education. He began in biology, but switched to chemistry. He loved the bench and realized that to be a scientist he had to go to graduate school. In addition to taking science classes he also studied philosophy; he spent time arranging parties, hiring bluesmen from Chicago; and he played ultimate Frisbee and softball.
Brennwald entered the University of Illinois for graduate school, working in Jo Ann Wise’s lab. Researching Schizosaccharomyces pombe he cloned four small RNA’s and had two first-author papers. He then took on a project that never quite went where he had hoped, and he ended up finishing his thesis in three weeks so as to go off to a postdoc.
Brennwald accepted a postdoc in Peter Novick’s lab at Yale University to research membrane transport. While at Yale he met the woman who is now his wife, Guendalina Rossi. At the time she was a student in another lab at Yale, studying another aspect of membrane transport. After his fourth year, Brennwald accepted an assistant professorship at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. In his first year there he won the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award. He has just been promoted to associate professor. He teaches quite a lot, as he considers it important and he likes it. He sits on committees; he publishes; he writes grants, of course; he manages his lab; but he would like more time for the bench. He is continuing his work on gene family Rho.
As is usual with a busy person who loves his work, Brennwald feels that he could use a few more hours in the day, hours to spend with his family; hours to work at the bench; hours just to read and listen to music. All told, however, he believes he has so far met both his personal and his professional goals.
Dean H. Kedes' oral history begins with a discussion of his childhood and family life. Heavily influenced by his father, also a biomedical scientist, Kedes developed an interest in science early in life. He would visit his father's laboratory at Stanford University often and he became aware of its friendly and productive atmosphere. During his youth, he traveled abroad with his family in support of his father's research. Time spent in Italy and England, while also traveling to other parts of Europe, proved enriching. Kedes applied to college while in Europe and he subsequently chose to attend Stanford University. Upon matriculation, though, the ‘living on campus' experience made it seem as if he had gone to school farther away from home than was actually true. Starting from enrollment, Kedes pursued a major in biology with the intention of applying to medical school. His coursework and laboratory research in the neurobiology laboratory of Eric Shooter, however, increased his interest in pursuing basic science as well. Kedes decided to undertake a joint MD/PhD program at Yale University. After an uninspiring first laboratory rotation working on a descriptive Drosophila project, Kedes eventually joined the laboratory of Joan A. Steitz to study pre-mRNA splicing. Upon earning his MD/PhD, Kedes returned to Stanford University to undertake his clinical residency, though he experienced difficulty transitioning between laboratory research and clinical medicine. After completing his residency, Kedes built upon his laboratory research with post-doctoral studies in Donald Ganem's laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. There Kedes developed his interests in the molecular biology of infectious diseases including Hepatitis B and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus (KSHV). Following his successful work with Ganem, Kedes was offered a position at the University of Virginia—a location at which both he and his wife could find work—and began the “thrill and excitement” of running his own laboratory. Throughout the interview Kedes emphasized the importance of balancing family life with laboratory work and creating a positive atmosphere within the laboratory, something that he works hard to maintain at the University of Virginia. Shortly after becoming a principal investigator, Kedes was awarded a Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award and he reflected upon the importance of the award with respect to scientific funding and collaboration. Kedes also discussed funding in the United States more broadly, especially the problem of the attrition of science students due to a lack of funds as well as the national push towards translational research. The interview concluded with Kedes' reflections on the field of biomedical science, on scientific publishing, and on the public perception of science.