John Zaharchuk grew up in Newburgh, New York. He attended Bucknell University and obtained a Master's in Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Zaharchuk became familiar with Ambler as he drove between home and work. He had been thinking about the old boiler house on the Keasbey & Mattison factory property for development. With Borough officials he gathered private and public investors and held informational meetings for local residents. Although they wanted the boiler house saved and were supportive of his ideas, the residents were leery of the asbestos, so Zaharchuk's project removed it all. The Ambler Boiler House is a successful Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building. Zaharchuk is currently building a series of apartments on another piece of the Keasbey & Mattison property. The major contaminant there is magnesia, which has determined the footprint of the building. Asbestos would have been easier to deal with, as it requires only capping to be safe and stable. Zaharchuk is also talking to other property owners in the area, especially the BoRit site, with a view to developing more of Ambler. He says that Ambler is only about half redeveloped, and that his experience with contaminated property is valuable. After the first remediation in Ambler when people first learned about the dangers of asbestos, investors kept away, contributing to Ambler's economic decline, but people no longer fear remediation, and they want more improvement.
Philip D. Zamore spent his childhood in New York City and Long Island. As an undergraduate, Zamore developed his interest in science and decided to focus on molecular biology. He spent time in several laboratories, though the majority of his laboratory experience was at Massachusetts General Hospital with John H. Hartwig. Staying at Harvard for a semester after graduating to work as a laboratory technician with Michael R. Green, Zamore decided to conduct his graduate research there as well. He moved with Green from Harvard to the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, where his work on snRNP flourished. He detailed his experiences with RNAi and his early work running his own laboratory. Throughout the interview Zamore discussed the importance of writing and publishing and his relationship with his students, as well as balancing his family life with his career.
Yixian Zheng was born in Chongqing, China. She went to school on the campus of Chongqing University, where her parents were faculty. The end of the Cultural Revolution brought about a radical change in Zheng's education. She entered Sichuan University and soon became interested in cell biology. Encouraged by her father, who was a visiting professor at University of Akron, Zheng applied to Ohio State University's graduate program. She worked in Berl R. Oakley's laboratory; her graduate thesis focused on gamma tubulin and centrosome function. Zheng took a postdoc in Bruce Alberts's laboratory at University of California, San Francisco, where she continued research on centrosome function and purification of the gamma tubulin complex. She then accepted a position at the Carnegie Institute, where she is today.
Yi Zhong was born in Ji Shou, Hunan Province. When he was eight the Cultural Revolution reassigned his parents; he was sent to live with his grandparents. After high school he was assigned to a farm. He heard about the 1976 Tiananmen Square protesters on a radio he had built himself. College entrance exams were reinstituted, and Yi was accepted at Tsinghua University, where he was assigned to study nuclear engineering. He met Mu-Ming Poo, who recommended Yi to Chun-Fang Wu at the University of Iowa. Yi suffered severe culture shock when he arrived, marveling at the freedom to determine his own future. After finishing his PhD he set up a lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He visits China regularly, planning to start a parallel lab there.
Z. Hong Zhou was born in China the year before the Cultural Revolution. At the end of the Cultural Revolution, China committed itself to science and Zhou's father spent a month's salary on a set of science books for Zhou to encourage his education. When he was fourteen, Zhou went to high school at a boarding school away from his village, not returning to his home for over a year. With an interest in high-energy physics, he attended University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. He received a master's under Lienchao Tsien, conducting research using cyclotron radiation imaging, then attended graduate school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is now at University of Texas Medical Center, studying viruses using structural and computational biology.
Bruno Zimm in his oral history recalls growing up in Woodstock, New York. where he had a growing fascination with science. Zimm undertook both undergraduate and graduate studies at Columbia University, where he recalls faculty, curricula, adn the effect of World War II on the research activities. In 1944, Zimm transferred to Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute to work on a wartime project on the degradation of polyvinyl chloride. Here he started his study of the theory and practice of the light scattering of polymer solutions, which he continued at the University of California, Berkeley. Later, Zimm moved to the General Electric laboratories at Schenectady, where he further developed his studies of dynamic methods for the investigation of polymer solutions. A short time as a visiting professor at Yale University rekindled his interests in biological polymers, especially DNA. At the University of California, San Diego, Zimm continued instrumental research as well as his theoretical interests. The interview closes with Zimm reflecting on the changes in polymer science over the duration of his career, and he comments on educational opportunities in this discipline.
Kai Zinn was born in Berkeley, California, but grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He attended the University of California, San Diego, where Paul Saltman inspired him to study chemistry. During his last year in college Zinn worked on an independent study with Jack Kyte. After graduation Zinn had planned to travel, but broke his leg while at Yosemite and ended up at Kyte's lab for the summer. Kyte persuaded Zinn to attend Harvard for his PhD. There he worked on SV40 in Mark Ptashne's lab. Zinn joined Tom Maniatis's lab to work on interferon, then moved to Corey Goodman's lab. After finishing postdocs at Stanford and Berkeley, he accepted a job at California Institute of Technology, where he is now an associate professor.
Charles S. Zuker was born and raised in Arica, Chile. He attended the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, where he worked as a teaching assistant, learning about scientific research from a doctoral student. He attended MIT for graduate school, where he worked with Harvey F. Lodish using slime molds as a system for studying development and trying to characterize the genes turned on as the molds developed spores. He took a postdoctoral position at the University of California, Berkeley, focusing on neurobiology. He then accepted a faculty position at the University of California, San Diego, and set up his research on Drosophila signaling pathways. He discusses competition in science, his gene research, the development of electrophysiology techniques, the NIH, and balancing life and work.