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.
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.
Lynn Cooley grew up in Portland, Connecticut, the middle child of five. Her father was in aeronautical engineering and her mother in physics, so she had a very early introduction, if not a genetic predisposition, to science. In high school she liked chemistry and mathematics courses best and finished all of those available by the end of her junior year. In consultation with her guidance counselor, she decided to graduate in only three years and to start college. Cooley matriculated into Connecticut College, where she majored in zoology. In college she discovered modern dance. She also took a semester off to take a course at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, which led to her participation on a research cruise. During a later summer course at Woods Hole Cooley discovered biochemistry and immediately decided that was what she wanted to do. She applied to graduate schools, entering the University of Texas, where she persuaded Kwan Wang to take her into his lab to work on cytoskeletal proteins. She continued her dancing as well, using it often as a release from growing tension in Wang's lab. Eventually she decided to leave the university after completing her master's degree, at which point she worked as a lab technician for Joanne Ravel and performed with a modern dance company. Wanting to return to the East Coast, she transferred to Dieter Söll's lab at Yale University, where he later suggested she complete her PhD at the University of Texas while conducting research in his lab. Cooley then accepted a postdoc appointment in Allan Spradling's lab at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Baltimore, Maryland, where she began researching the regulation of expression in follicle cells. She also developed a focus on the kelch and chickadee genes. This research continued when Cooley started her own lab at the Yale School of Medicine, in conjunction with students Feiyu Xue and Esther Verheyen. The lab's research divided into two components: genes related to the function of ring canals and genes related to the regulation of actin in nurse cells. In the meantime, Cooley earned a pilot's license and married her husband, Ted Killiam, with whom she has a daughter. Cooley discusses the scientific and academic issues she finds critical, including cutbacks in science funding, the impact of molecular techniques on developmental biology, the need to improve the public's understanding of basic research, and shifting trends in funding. She concludes the interview by expressing her satisfaction with her career.
Fenyong Liu was born and raised in Guangzhou, China during the Cultural Revolution. Early on in life he knew that he wanted to pursue science as his career, learning English during junior high school and having influential teachers while attending high school in Guangzhou. After passing the university entrance examinations, Liu matriculated at the prestigious University of Science and Technology of China. Initially he decided to pursue physics, but then transferred to the biology program after two years of study. Encouraged by his professors, Liu decided to attend graduate school in the United States at the University of Chicago, briefly spending time in the Medical School before transferring into the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program, where he worked with Richard Roller and Bernard Roizman. While his initial research focused on the biochemistry of viral DNA replication, Liu focused in the last years of his doctoral study on the genetics of the herpes virus capsid protein; his research resulted in a patent and created intense interest from the pharmaceutical industry. He followed up his graduate research with postdoctoral positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute and Yale University, where he worked with Sidney Altman on the inhibition of antiviral gene expression. Liu discusses his wife (also a scientist) and family as well as balancing family commitments and career, especially during the period when he became a principal investigator at University of California, Berkeley. His current research in molecular biology and virology has focused on cytomegalovirus infection; during the interview he describes his typical workday and both his laboratory management style as well as the multiple roles he plays as a principal investigator. The interview concludes with Liu's reflections on his various scientific mentors and on his wife's career trajectory and the difficulties of being a woman in science. Liu concludes his interview by reflecting on his various scientific mentors.
Stephen J. Elledge was born in Paris, Illinois. He had two older sisters and an older half sister. He attended Roman Catholic elementary school but rebelled against the religious teaching and switched to public schools. From a young age, he was interested in science; Elledge’s grandmother bought him chemistry kits, and he made rockets. Elledge’s high school had very good science and mathematics classes, and he loved chemistry (“fun” he calls it). He was on the chemistry team, on which he won the individual and team competitions.
He was the first in his family to go to college, and he did not have enough guidance to know what he could or should do, so he entered the University of Illinois intending to major in chemical engineering. He won the chemical engineering prize as a freshman, but then switched his major to chemistry. By his junior year he’d taken all the chemistry courses, and recombinant DNA was just becoming the hot topic in biology, so when he went to University of Southampton for his junior year he took a genetics course. During his senior year he took a biochemistry class, which he found combined chemistry and his new interest in biology, and he officially switched to biology for graduate school. He decided to apply to Harvard University for graduate school, but he ended up going to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which people said was the best place in the world. There he worked in Graham Walker’s lab, combining molecular biology and genetics. He did his first cloning there and became interested in methodologies for cloning.
Stanford University offered him a postdoc in Ronald Davis’ lab, where he first began work in plants, but soon switched to yeast. He became convinced that it was important to find out how cyclin-dependent kinases that run the cell cycle were regulated, with a view toward an intersection between cell cycle and cancer. While at Stanford Elledge met his future wife, Mitzi Kuroda, herself a scientist.
Elledge accepted an assistant professorship at Baylor College of Medicine, where he has since advanced to associate and then full professor. He has brought some technological advances to genetics, and he and his lab discovered inhibitor molecules, especially the tumor suppressor p21, the first mammaliam inhibitor. It was a new field then, but in the few years since publication, Elledge estimates that others have published perhaps a hundred papers on the subject. Elledge himself has continued his interest in what these molecules actually do, now that they have mostly been found. He has been selected a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Associate Investigator; he continues to publish; he has won numerous awards, including the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences Award. Most importantly, he attempts to balance his life at work with his life at home with his wife and two children.
Carlos T. Moraes grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, one of three children. His father was in the military at first, but then became a mechanical engineer and a professor. His mother completed a degree in physical education. He discusses some of his childhood activities, which he says were much like those of American children's, and some of his memories of his private-school education. After assessing the value of his education at a private school he discusses his reasons for attending Escola Paulista de Medicina and describes some of his college experiences. Moraes then pursued a master's degree; he explored several career options after his internship, including a course at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas Fundacion Campomar, where he worked under Armando J. Parodi. He eventually enrolled in a doctoral program at Columbia University, where he worked in the Eric A. Schon lab. Moraes's decision to come to Miami was abetted by his love of windsurfing. He professes no religion, but in his youth was involved in Pró-Vida; he feels that one can define God to be compatible with science. Moraes continues with his first impressions of the United States; his admiration for Alex Tzagoloff; obtaining dual citizenship; the shortage of American students in American science; and his funding history. He talks about the grant-writing process, explaining why he believes that he writes better than he speaks. Lab management for him includes the difficulties of article writing in a lab with many native languages. Moraes's administrative duties are substantial, but he has few teaching responsibilities. He compares American and Brazilian graduate students in medicine; discusses the ethnic makeup of graduate students at the University of Miami; describes a typical workday; again talks about his love of windsurfing; and gives us his thoughts on the underrepresentation of women on science faculties. A major reason for Moraes attending Columbia University was his fascination with mitochondrial abnormalities. He accepted a position at University of Miami to study mitochondrial diseases; he also has devised some related projects and possible applications of his DNA mutation studies. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages of being a principal investigator and of competition and collaboration in science. Moraes explains his thoughts about ethical issues in science; his concerns about overpopulation; and his thoughts about the use of animals in scientific research. Moraes concludes the interview with an assessment of his professional and personal achievement and an intimation of his future plans.
Peter G. Gillespie was born in Seattle, Washington in 1958; the elder of two brothers. Both Gillespie's mother, who came from Idaho, and his father, who came from Washington, attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where they were mathematics majors. His father worked for several computer companies during the early days of the industry. Gillespie was an avid reader of books throughout his youth; he also became very involved in outdoor activities such as bicycling, hiking, and rock-climbing. He credits his love of the outdoors and some important high school influences for his love of the sciences. Gillespie received his Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Reed College in 1981. Initially he struggled with the course load at Reed and contemplated alternative career paths. It was during his fellowship studying photoreceptors at the Neurological Science Institute that he became interested in neuroscience. Following graduation he worked for two years as a lab technician and decided to apply to graduate school. Gillespie matriculated into the Graduate Pharmacology Program at the University of Washington, where he did he research in Joseph A. Beavo's lab. He received his PhD in 1988. He also met and married his wife, Susan K. H. Gillespie, when he was a graduate student. Gillespie accepted a postdoctoral position at the University of California, San Francisco in James Hudspeth's lab only to have to move with Hudspeth a year later to his new lab at the University of Texas Southwest in Dallas, Texas. With Hudspeth, Gillespie began to focus his research on the molecular characterization of auditory hair cells. In 1993 Gillespie was appointed Assistant Professor in the Physiology Department at Johns Hopkins University, which was under new leadership. Unfortunately, after several years the program was not achieving the goals for which Gillespie had hoped; as a result he opted in 1999 to accept a position as an associate professor at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. Gillespie now carries out his research at the Vollum Institute, where he studies auditory hair cell signal transduction and the implications of different myosin isozymes on this complex physiological process. Throughout the oral history Gillespie emphasizes the importance of keeping experiments simple and sharing all scientific discovery. Gillespie has won several awards, including a postdoctoral fellowship, NIH grants, and the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant that he discusses in the oral history.
Michael J. Overduin was born in Ontario, Canada, the second oldest of five children. Overduin's father received master's degrees in English and music and was a teacher who traveled around Ontario to develop new programs at various schools—in music, English, and theater; in addition, he was well-respected in musical communities, especially those associated with churches, he put out several CDs, and, later in life, became a professor (without a PhD). Overduin's mother was a teacher as well, before having her children, and musically inclined too—classical music was a mainstay of the Overduin household. As a child Overduin was interested in music (though never performed) and art, and he appreciated the creativity of science. His interests and his parents' belief in education cultivated his love of biology and nature; influential teachers in school and early laboratory experiences proved formative as well. Overduin matriculated at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and pursued a major in biology and a minor in mathematics. While in college he completed a thesis with Bernard Glick on the transformation of Pseudomonas aeroginosa and Esherichia coli by electroporation. After receiving his baccalaureate of science, he chose to attend Rockefeller University for graduate studies in structural biology, working in the laboratory of David Cowburn. Overduin's graduate work used nuclear magnetic resonance to determine the structure of a signal transduction protein; additionally, he worked with David Baltimore. For his postdoctoral fellowship, he worked with Mitsuhiko Ikuraat the University of Toronto and focused on the structural protein cadherin and its involvement in cell adhesion. After his time in Toronto, he accepted a position at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and began research on the domain structure of receptors involved in endocytosis. He also assisted in establishing an NMR spectroscopy facility and biomolecular structure program while there. After several years at Colorado, he moved to the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, helping build the NMR spectroscopy facility there, and continuing his research on complex systems and protein domains of therapeutic targets. The interview concludes with Overduin's thoughts on his laboratory management style; the process of writing journal articles; the issue of patents; the role of the scientist in educating the public about science; setting the national science agenda; recruiting foreign students as science graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the United States; and balancing his career and time with his family. Overduin's oral history ends with his reflections on the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on his research and what he likes most about being a principal investigator.
Gregory J. Hannon was raised in New Castle, a town in western Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh, the elder of two children in a large Irish-Catholic family. His father worked as a quality inspector at Johnson Bronze Company; his mother was a homemaker. After completing high school, Hannon attended Case Western Reserve University, choosing to major in biochemistry. During his sophomore year he began working in Joyce E. Jenhoft's laboratory, which served as a pivotal moment in his scientific career. The experience of scientific research in the Jenhoft lab encouraged Hannon to participate in a program for early admission to Case Western's graduate school. Upon starting his graduate career, he entered Timothy N. Nilsen's lab and began his work on RNA processing, developing new techniques to answer his research questions. Hannon completed his PhD at Case Western and then chose to continue his studies as a postdoctoral fellow with David Beach at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. In Beach's lab he worked on cell cycle interacting proteins and RNA interference (RNAi). It was during this time that Hannon began collaborating with Yue Xiong (Pew Scholar, Class of 1995) and Manuel Serrano on CDK. He accepted a permanent research position at Cold Spring Harbor, and worked through the complexities associated with transitioning from someone else's lab to one's own research lab at the same institution; he also started his work with Genetica, Inc. Throughout the remainder of the interview, Hannon talks about partnerships and collaborations between academia and industry; the privatization of scientific research; and trademark issues. He also discusses his perspectives on the grant-writing process; the peer review system; and gender issues in science. The interview concludes with his reflections on balancing his career and his family life, his scientific aspirations, and the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on his work.
Antony Rosen grew up in South Africa, the middle child of three. His great-grandparents had migrated there from Russia, but after a couple of generations most of the family had moved on, many settling in the United States. Rosen's father had studied history but sold insurance; his mother was a chemist until she had children. Parental expectations were high (all three children have advanced degrees). Rosen could not avoid experiencing South African apartheid, one result of which was that he attended a Jewish school. He loved the music and liturgy of the Jewish services and went to synagogue every morning; he sang in the boys' choir and led high-holy-day services. For Rosen, science and religion are fundamentally intertwined. Rosen did well in all his high school classwork, but he loved math most. He was not especially inspired until he got to medical school, which, in South Africa, begins right after high school. His teachers influenced his career choice and his coursework in medical school. After finishing medical school he did a rotating internship and then studied for a year in Capetown, South Africa, with Wieland Gevers. Rather than entering military service, he chose to pursue a PhD His PhD application was rejected by the authorities in South Africa, so he accepted a postdoc in the Alan A. Aderem lab at Rockefeller University, though neglected to make living arrangements before he arrived. Rosen adjusted to work in the Aderem lab and to life in New York City, soon meeting Livia A. Casciola, his future wife, who was in Baltimore on a postdoc. He was interested in returning to clinical medicine so he secured an Osler residency and rheumatology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and he and Livia were able to marry. She then converted to Judaism and they had another ceremony. Rosen decided to specialize in rheumatology; he accepted a faculty position, and he established his own lab at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center (JHUMC). Throughout the interview Rosen discussed his definition of science; how his brother, Hugh Rosen, influenced his medical school career; the limits of technological expertise in medical science; gender inequality at JHUMC and in science generally; and ethnic and racial issues. He also described his collaboration with his wife in establishing his lab; the meaning of tenure at JHUMC; his funding history and funding in general; the impact of private philanthropy on his lab and research; his teaching, clinical, and administrative responsibilities; the process of writing journal articles; and his lab management style. Rosen's current research centers on apoptosis, and he tells how he became interested in it. He explains what he thinks may be practical applications of his work, and explicates his views on patents; competition and collaboration in science; and the origin of his ideas. He explains how he tries to balance family and career in his typical workday and talks about his interest in food and cooking. He concludes by assessing his professional and personal achievements and goals and discussing his future research plans.
Stephen L. Johnson was raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the middle (with his twin brother) of four children, growing up in the pre- and post-Civil Rights Era. His father received his degree in electrical engineering and taught in that discipline at Vanderbilt University, though he also pursued a degree in divinity; his mother was a trained psychologist. Johnson partook in the normal activities of childhood, including Boy Scouts and music, but he had a very high affinity for and interest in writing. He matriculated at Vanderbilt University with the intention of becoming a writer.
After deciding against becoming a novelist, Johnson's interest in science was piqued while working in Lee Limbird's pharmacology lab, though he still had some trepidation about whether or not science actually suited him. Ultimately he decided to pursue science and was accepted into the genetics department at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he worked under Breck Byers on fusing Cdc4 and LAC-Z genes in yeast. While at Washington he was also fortunate to be mentored by Nobel laureate Leland H. Hartwell. Upon finishing his graduate studies Johnson decided to remain in the Northwest and began to work on zebrafish with James A. Weston and Charles A. Kimmel at the University of Oregon, Eugene. While there he worked on tissue regeneration mutants, pigment patterns, isometric growth, and genetic mapping, and he developed inbred strains and centromere markers for mapping the zebrafish genome. Johnson then accepted a position at Washington University School of Medicine to continue his work.
Near the end of the interview Johnson uses the topics already discussed in his oral history as a way to reflect upon his scientific development and the ways in which he mentors students and how he thinks about and practices science. The interview concludes with Johnson's thoughts on the role of technological innovation on his work; the advantages and disadvantages of competition in science; the direction of the national science agenda; the National Institutes of Health; gender issues; and the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences funding on his work.
Jochen Buck was born and grew up in Reutlingen, Germany, in the Swabian Alb. His father was a teacher of science in the Gymnasium. His mother, a housewife, came from a middle-class family of butchers, and Jochen might have been expected to follow in the family business. Instead, he became interested in politics early, as a result perhaps of the Vietnam War. Instead of performing his national service in the army, he became a conscientious objector, working with disabled youths. His early interest in mathematics waned, and he decided to become a doctor. But in medical school at the University of Tübingen, he discovered that he loved scientific research; and he added to his MD studies a PhD, with his dissertation dealing with interferon. He worked in Ulrich Hammerling’s lab, where he localized cell growth caused by autocrine growth factor. He accepted a postdoctoral position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, working with Vitamin A and discovering retro-retinoids. He stayed at Sloan-Kettering for a few years until accepting an assistant professorship at Cornell University Medical College. He is now an associate at Cornell, where his lab and Lonny Levin’s share space and where he and Levin work together on adenylyl cyclase. He lives in New York City with his wife, Chantal Duteau-Buck, and two children. He has won several awards and continues to publish articles.
Beverly M. Emerson was born in Eugene, Oregon, and spent much of her childhood there. She was the only child of her two parents, but her father had three children by a previous marriage. Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mother began travelling, settling in San Francisco for a month or two at a time and then returning to Eugene. Beverly missed a great deal of school, but she educated herself by reading. Although she herself had not finished high school, Beverly’s mother emphasized to Beverly the importance of college education, and insisted that the University of Oregon was not good enough for Beverly. Somehow able to support them both, Beverly’s mother sent Beverly to La Châtelainie Institute in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, for a year. Beverly’s early school experiences did not instill academic diligence, and Beverly’s grades were only average.
Fortunately, her test scores were good, and she matriculated into the University of California, San Diego, where at last she discovered a love of learning, especially in science. During college Beverly spent a year studying at St. Andrews in Scotland, and when she came back her academic ambitions were well established. She worked in Donald Helinski’s and Peter Geiduschek’s labs; the latter became her mentor and template for a scientist, and she continues to have a professional relationship with him still. She admired him so much that when she graduated she spent a year working as a technician in Geiduschek’s lab.
Deciding to attend graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, Beverly began working in Robert Roeder’s lab. Her project caused her some difficulties she could not solve until a guest speaker, Shirley Tilghman, pointed out something to her. When she finished her PhD, she decided to accept a postdoc in Gary Felsenfeld’s lab at the National Institutes of Health; there she began the transcription research that she has continued ever since. Although she began her current work in Felsenfeld’s lab, that work has branched off from his area; she is concentrating on ß-globin and chromatin. Beverly has her own lab now at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences. She foresees herself continuing this same work until the end of her career, quite possibly at the Salk.
In addition to explaining her work, Beverly discussed protein purification, gene cloning, gene transcription, transcription factors, TATA boxes, chromatin structure, the construction of an in vitro transcription system, the locus control region, the Salk Institute, her Frog Room, and the status of women in scientific research.
Andrew Koff was born and raised in New York the elder child of four siblings, with three younger sisters. He attended Long Beach High School in New York, influenced by Jeffrey Elias, his high school biology teacher. Koff matriculated at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, majoring in political science. While an undergraduate he worked as a technician in Peter Tegtmeyer's lab on SV40 large T-antigen; he decided to remain at Stony Brook for his graduate studies and researched herpes simplex virus replication. From there he began a postdoctoral fellowship in James M. Roberts's laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington, studying cyclin E; he collaborated with Joan Massague on cyclin E-CDK2 activity. After Seattle, Koff accepted a position at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York, and focused his lab on p27 interactions and regulation, on developing mouse models mimicking p27 activity, on cyclins in meiosis, and on angiogenesis. The interview concludes with his thoughts on grant writing and the peer review process; balancing family and career; the importance of being familiar with the history and context of a particular field of research; the pressures of publication and production in the scientific community; dealing with a stutter; what it is like to be a primary investigator at a prestigious research institute; and the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on his career.
Julia P. Cooper was born in Morristown, New Jersey, one of three children. Her father was at first an engineer, then a psychologist interested in the psychology of vision. At first Julia lived in Trumbull, Connecticut, but when she was in elementary school, her family moved to Washington, D.C., where her father had a job with the Army Research Institute, studying how people see in order to make them see more efficiently. Her mother worked with early computers at Bell Laboratories until her children were born; after they were in junior high school, she and a friend started their own business indexing, mostly for the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Julia’s brother was an engineer but left the field for work with computers; her sister owns a gourmet food store.
Julia felt that her early schooling was uninspiring; it was only in college that she discovered biology. During her high school summers she worked as a waitress and one summer travelled to Yugoslavia with her father. She began Emory University planning to be a geologist, but a biology class introduced her to plant physiology, and she switched her major to biology. She worked on cockroach muscles in a lab in college. She began graduate school in pharmacology at the University of Colorado. In Paul Hagerman’s class she discovered that DNA is flexible, an exciting and beautiful idea to her. Hagerman became her Ph.D. advisor; in his lab she studied the biophysical properties of branched DNA. During her years at Colorado she met and married her husband and had her first child as she was finishing her degree.
After travelling in Switzerland, Julia, her husband, and their first child went to Washington, D.C., where she accepted a postdoc at the National Institutes of Health. She worked on chromatin structure in Robert Simpson’s lab. She had a second child while in Washington, and then she accepted another postdoc in Thomas Cech’s lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder; there she worked on telomeres in fission yeast. After three years she wanted to work with Paul Nurse at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. She spent a year there and then accepted a position at the University of Colorado at Denver. From there she moved to the London Research Institute, where she continues her research on telomeres and genomic stability. Cooper also discusses balancing family life with her career, which includes the usual searching for funding; publishing; working toward tenure; variable administrative duties; and working in the lab.
Roy M. Long grew up in Lebanon, a small town near Hershey, Pennsylvania. His father worked at the Hershey factory, his mother in a department store. Because his father worked afternoons and evenings, Long spent most of his time with his mother, older sister, and grandmother. He attended what he calls average public schools, where his performance did not live up to expectations from standardized tests. Teachers told his parents he was good in science and math, so his parents pushed him toward medicine. Long attended Pennsylvania State University, majoring in molecular and cell biology. He made his decision to pursue scientific research rather than medicine when he took a gene expression class; then, wanting to gain lab experience to see if indeed research would be a good career for him, he worked in Ross Hardison's laboratory. He worked for two years as a technician in Alberto Manetta's laboratory and then entered Milton S. Hershey Medical School of Pennsylvania State University for graduate study in biochemistry, where he worked in James Hopper's laboratory. Here he discusses his reasons for choosing Penn State, what the university was like, and his criteria for selecting Hopper's laboratory. He also talks about using yeast as a model system for gene regulation and expression, the running of the Hopper laboratory, and Hopper's mentoring style. He describes his graduate-school classes, his doctoral research in gene expression in Hopper's lab, and thesis defense. During this period of his life, Long also marries and has a daughter. Long accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with Robert Singer at University of Massachusetts Medical School; there his research centered on RNA localization. He discusses Singer's mentoring style and why Singer moved his lab to Albert Einstein Medical Center, where Long did another postdoc. Long interviewed for jobs at a number of universities and eventually chose Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He discusses the process of conducting scientific research; setting up and running his laboratory; funding; the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant on his work; and his teaching and administrative responsibilities. He continues discussing his collaborations; his laboratory management style; how he writes grants; and his view of competition in science. Long next talks about his current research in gene expression studying the mechanisms of RNA localization in yeast; his role in the lab; and practical applications of his research. He expresses his opinion on such issues as setting the national science-funding agenda; patents; how to educate the public about science, the importance of doing so, and the scientist's role in that education; and gender and ethnic issues in science. Long details a typical work day. He concludes by discussing his wife and daughter and explaining how he attempts to balance family and career.
Andrew D. Ellington was born in 1956 in Missouri; the elder of two siblings. His father was a title lawyer, and his mother was a high school mathematics and computer science teacher. From a very young age Ellington's parents, specifically his mother, pushed him very hard to succeed in academics. Ellington credits his love of science and research to many influential high school teachers whom he still speaks with on occasion. Ellington attended Michigan State University, where he earned his B.S. in biochemistry in 1981. During his undergraduate years, Ellington worked tirelessly in the lab, often sleeping in classrooms or computer labs. In 1988 he earned his PhD from Harvard University, where he pursued research in Stephen C. Harrison's lab, followed by research with Steven A. Benner whom he would later follow to Switzerland. It was in Benner's lab that he developed his Palimpsest Theory for Evolution based on his observations of RNA. Ellington accepted a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School; there he did his research at the Massachusetts General Hospital, in Jack W. Szostak's lab. He studied Type 1 self-splicing introns and performed his best-known research on in vitro selection in Szostak's lab. In 1992 Ellington was appointed associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University, Bloomington. In 1998 he was appointed associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin. His current research is varied, but focuses most interestingly on aptazymes—allosteric ribosomes that can be engineered to recognize almost any molecule. Ellington hopes to show that these aptazymes can be used to effectively recognize and subdue the HIV virus population of infected individuals. He is also working on designing defensive biosensors for the United States Military which would allow for quick recognition of pathogens or noxious substances. Throughout his oral history Ellington stressed the importance of innovation and the need to bridge the divide between technologists and scientists. He has received several grants and awards, including a fellowship from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the American Foundation for AIDS Research Scholar Award, the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, and the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant, which he discusses in the oral history.
Thomas W. Muir grew up in Stranraer, Scotland—a major port city about two-hundred miles south of Glasgow—the oldest of three brothers. His father was a telephone engineer technician and his mother a housewife, both of whom had an interest and aptitude for music; and though they both had the intelligence for a college education, neither had enough money to attend when younger. Muir was raised in a working-class home, attending public school like all of his friends, with an intense interest in soccer and golf. His paternal grandfather fueled Muir's innate interest in mathematics; and although teachers were aware of his affinity for mathematics, and, later, chemistry, large, public-school classes offered little opportunity for his teachers to foster his interests. Muir excelled at his college entrance exams and received an unconditional acceptance to all the schools to which he applied (he chose to remain in high school one additional year instead of starting college early). He decided to study chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, developing friendships with classmates Steven Thom and James H. Naismith. Muir stayed at the University of Edinburgh to pursue PhD research with Robert Ramage on the physical properties of synthesized peptides and then undertook a postdoctoral position with Stephen B. H. Kent at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. After being influenced by Mark J. Ginsberg's work on cellular interactions, Muir switched his research focus from FTV protease to chemical ligation and the integrin system, collaborating with Michael J. Williams, and eventually becoming a senior research associate. He then accepted a faculty position at Rockefeller University where his research focused on chemical biology and the use of chimeras of synthetic peptides and recombinant proteins for in vitro biochemical pathway studies. Throughout his oral history interview, Muir discusses his teaching and administrative duties, the ways in which he manages his science, publishing, patents, funding, and collaborations. He also reflects on his creative process for pursing scientific questions and the role that the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences played in his early career development.
David D. Ginty was born in Danbury, Connecticut, but grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut; he has an older brother and a younger sister, and all three are adopted. Ginty's father worked in insurance, eventually becoming the head of the malpractice division for the state of Connecticut. His mother began as an elementary school teacher but eventually founded her own nursery school, which flourished. Their extended families were large and close, for which David still feels extremely fortunate. He loved school, especially mathematics and science, and he did well until high school. Then he took advantage of his parents' "laissez-faire" attitude toward their sons and hived off with his brother instead of going to school. He did, however, play football and jai alai in high school. His parents were devout Roman Catholics, and religion was an important part of Ginty's childhood. Religion was also an important factor in his mother's urging Ginty to attend Mount St. Mary's; she wanted him to become more disciplined and more religious. There he majored in biology, which was the strongest of the science departments. Because it was a small college it offered very little lab experience, but Ginty was able to work for Dr. Thomas, who worked on the synthesis of porphyrin rings; because Dr. Thomas loved his work, he inspired Ginty. Dr. Gauthier offered a course in physiology that Ginty also found exciting. Furthermore, Ginty met his future wife at Mount St. Mary's. In spring of his senior year of college, Ginty realized that he needed to decide what he would do next. He was offered a job at National Institutes of Health, but a friend's mother urged him to obtain a PhD He applied to graduate schools very late but was accepted at East Carolina University. There he found a small program, with close relations between faculty and students; also, this program was new and required students to have a broad foundation in the sciences, so Ginty took many other courses. He had five rotations, all of which he loved, but he went to work in Edward Seidel's lab to study nerve growth factor signaling. Ginty's interest in the nervous system led him to a postdoc at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where he worked in John Wagner's lab on growth factor signal transduction in the neuron. When Wagner moved to Cornell University he wanted Ginty to go with him, but Ginty decided to stay at Dana-Farber, and he went to Michael Greenberg's lab, studying phosphoantibodies. After three years there he accepted an assistant professorship at Johns Hopkins University, where he is now an associate professor. He continues to work on nerve growth factor and retrograde signaling; to teach; to publish; to write grant proposals; and to balance his work with his family life.
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.