Browse Oral Histories Alphabetically

For more information on Shing Chiu, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences

For more information on this oral history, please contact the Director of the Center for Oral History. 

Ken W. Y. Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, but moved to Japan when he was five years old. His Korean heritage limited his career options, so he attended university in the US, receiving his B.A. in Chemistry from Grinnell College. Cho was forced to rapidly assimilate a new language and culture, spending entire nights just completing reading assignments. While completing his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, he conducted research in Roberto Weinmann's lab at the Wistar Institute. During a postdoc at University of California, Los Angeles, Cho became interested in homeobox genes and their role in the development of embryos. Now a faculty member at University of California, Irvine, he researches the regulation of homeobox and goosecoid genes in the context of embryological development in vertebrates.

George M. Church was born on MacDill Air Force Base in Florida and lived near Tampa, Florida, until high school. He read a lot, especially science; when he was about ten he built an analog computer. For high school he was sent to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, which he loved and where he throve. Dartmouth College, which was nearby, was beginning timeshare computing, and Church used their computer to teach himself more about computers. Church entered Duke University and finished in two years. He took a summer course in quantum physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then began a job in Sung-Hou Kim's crystallography lab. There he "finally found the intersection of computers and biology." Also during these years he published five papers. Church entered Harvard University's PhD program, doing sequencing in Walter Gilbert's lab, working on polony sequences, and developing some of the earliest sequencers; he introduced multiplexed sequencing. Next he worked a short while at Biogen Research Corporation before taking a postdoc in Gail Martin's lab at the University of California, San Francisco. Needing a job in Boston, Church talked to a friend, Gary Ruvkun, who offered him an assistant professorship in genetics at Harvard Medical School. He has advanced through the ranks and is now Director of the Harvard-MIT Genome Technology Center and Director of the Lipper Center for Computational Genetics, as well as a full professor in genetics.

Stuart Churchill attended the University of Michigan, where he was quite active in the mathematics department as well as in chemical engineering. After working in industry for five years, at Shell Oil and Frontier Chemical, he returned to Michigan for graduate school. There he began both his extensive research on heat transfer, natural convection, and combustion, as well as his career in teaching. After earning his PhD and a position on Michigan's faculty, he began work on several military projects in the nuclear field. In addition, he served on the National Council of and as president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. After acquiring increasing administrative responsibilities as chairman of the department, he chose to move to the University of Pennsylvania to return his focus to research and teaching. 

For more information on Gregory Clark, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences.

For more information on this oral history, please contact the Director of the Center for Oral History. 

W. H. Clark grew up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, with an early interest in journalism. He decided to major in industrial engineering at North Carolina State University, where he became interested in technical selling. His first job was at Standard Oil of Ohio as a sales engineer, later moving to Nalco Chemical Company, where he spent the rest of his career. 

Don R. Clay graduated from Ohio State University, and after a brief stint at Monsanto Company, entered the US Army serving two years. After several years working in operations research, Clay began work in the Bureau of Drugs at the US Food and Drug Administration spending several years as Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Evaluation before leaving for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Office of Program Planning and Evaluation. His work included being liaison among the EPA, OSHA, CPSC, and the FDA.  Frustrated with the bureaucracy at the FDA, Clay moved to the Office of Toxic Substances, where he became Acting Assistant Administrator of what is now the Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPTS). He now works in the private sector. Clay discusses the cultural differences among agencies; their different goals and processes; the differences between career staff and political appointees; and the difficulties of the regulatory process itself. He talks about what he perceives as successes and failures, focusing on asbestos regulation. 

Vincent J. Coates was too young to join the military at the start of World War II, so he got a job filing machine parts and began attending the Bridgeport Engineering Institute. He later applied the knowledge he had gained at the Institute on the Navy's Officer Candidate School exam, earning him the highest score in Connecticut. At the behest of his mother, Coates attended Yale University, majoring in mechanical engineering. After a short tour in the Navy, Coates took a job at Chance-Vought Aircraft. In 1948, he was hired at Perkin-Elmer Corporation; when John U. White left suddenly in 1949, the responsibility for their project, the Model 21, fell completely on Coates's shoulders. After the original Model 21 became a proven success, he began developing accessories for the instrument, such as the Prism Interchange Unit, to expand its potential market. Coates decided to leave Perkin-Elmer after the president decided to shut down Coates's field-emission scanning electron microscopes (FESEM) project. With Len Welter, he started the Coates & Welter Instrument Company to produce the world's first commercial FESEMs. Later, his Microspot Film-Thickness-Measurement Systems became essential for the manufacture of advanced microchips, and his company became extremely successful as a result. 

Mildred Cohn advanced through her early schooling rapidly, being prepared to enter college by age fourteen. She matriculated at Hunter College, though facing difficulties as a woman in the sciences. She moved on to graduate school at Columbia, where, after working for a short time at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, she began her work with isotopes in Harold Urey's lab. She worked with du Vigneaud at George Washington and Cornell universities and at the Cori's lab at Washington University in St. Louis. Cohn spent much of her career at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Charles N. Cole attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pursue his degree. His interest in viruses led him to switch from Harvey F. Lodish's Laboratory to the laboratory of David Baltimore (Cole's research involved the polio virus and the role of defective interfering particles). This oral history also serves to complement CHF's oral history with David Baltimore . 

Michael D. Cole grew up in Ada, Ohio, the oldest of four children. Having excelled at math and physics in high school, he majored in physics at Ohio Northern University. He found biology more attractive as a career so he entered a PhD program at Johns Hopkins University, starting in Michael Beer's lab. As a postdoc in Ru Chih Huang's lab, Cole planned to study immunoglobulin but ended up working to characterize the myc gene instead. Cole accepted a position at St. Louis University, where he found the translocation and translocation breakpoint of myc, a major breakthrough in the study of cancer. He moved to Princeton Universityand has stayed with myc since, still seeking the binding site. He has two other related areas of interest:  finding cofactors necessary for activating tumor growth and studying growth factor receptors. 

Kathleen L. Collins grew up in Norwell, Massachusetts, and developed an early love for chemistry. Attending Wellesley College, Collins worked in Andrew C. Webb's molecular biology laboratory for her honor's thesis. She also worked on cloning interleukin-1 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Collins was accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program at Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a joint MD/PhD degree. She did doctoral research on DNA synthesis in Thomas Kelly's molecular genetics laboratory, mentored by Mark Wold. Collins completed a postdoc at MIT in David Baltimore's lab, then accepted a position at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She discusses the impact of receiving the Pew award; gender issues in science; administrative duties; writing grants; advice to would-be scientists; publishing; teaching duties; and clinical responsibilities. 

Tucker Collins grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He won the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and was accepted at Amherst College, where he worked with Edward Leadbetter and Walter Godchaux. He spent two summers at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he attended Gerald Weissmann’s physiology course. Collins went into University of Rochester’s Medical Scientist Training Program program, obtaining both his MD and his PhD. Collins began work on vascular endothelial cells while in Jordan Pober’s pathology lab section at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, while finishing his residency in pathology. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded his research into platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). Collins set up his own lab with one of his numerous grants and began teaching at Harvard University. His lab continues investigations into cytokine adhesion and PDGF, hoping to discover how and why organisms form or malform.

Fred Conner, Jr., grew up in Northeast Philadelphia. He majored economics at Upsala College, Conner, served in the Marine Corps for twelve years, and worked as a defense contractor. Marriage brought him back to Pennsylvania. Conner became Director of Facilities and Economic Development Officer at Rosemont College and earned an MS in Community and Regional Planning (CRP) from Temple University. Conner first became aware of the asbestos-containing waste of the White Mountains and the BoRit site through an Open Space study he developed at Temple. He had been on the Planning Commission and Zoning Hearing Board of Whitpain Township and was now chair of the Township Board of Supervisors. Conner says that many of the original recommendations of the CRP study have been implemented successfully. Conner says the situation has been ameliorated somewhat, and while they wait for the results of the feasibility study, they have made some improvements to West Ambler’s general quality of life. Conner believes that complete removal of the asbestos-containing material from the site is probably not practicable. He suggests that other communities facing contamination problems should establish a multijurisdictional organization and convene a forum with a neutral facilitator to help them consider all views. Conner feels that there is no longer a health risk.

Charles E. Connor was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up with relatives who had a science background and knew he wanted to be a scientist from a young age. He attended Loyola College in Maryland for undergrad and Vanderbilt University for his master's degree in pharmacology. After a stint in law school, he entered the neuroscience program at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied neural signaling for texture. He stayed at Hopkins for a postdoc with Gian F. Poggi and Michael Steinmetz, then took another postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis with David C. Van Essen. Connor returned to Hopkins for a faculty position in the neuroscience department, where his research has focused on understanding the neural code for object shape in the brain. 

Paul M. Cook was young when he developed an interest in chemistry, going so far as to build a laboratory in the basement of his parents' house. After graduating from high school in 1941, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied chemical engineering with Warren K. Lewis. In 1943, he put his education on hold and enlisted in the Army. While enlisted, he enrolled in the Army Specialized Training Program, through which he attended Stanford University for two terms, studying mechanical engineering. In 1946, Cook left the Army and worked for Submarine Signal in Boston; he then returned to MIT, where he completed his degree in 1947. After graduation, Cook started the Warren Wire Company with his older brother. A year later, Cook left the fledgling company to join the Stanford Research Institute as a chemical engineer. There he worked on a number of projects, including the growth of the algae Chlorella  and the potential uses of waste fission products. In 1951, Cook founded the Sequoia Process Corporation. Five years later, he left Sequoia to found Raychem Corporation, which opened in 1957. 

Gregory Cooke grew up in West Ambler, Pennsylvania. Cooke was a chaplain's assistant in the U. S. Army for eight years, before moving to North Hills, Pennsylvania. After he and his wife divorced Cooke lived in Ambler with his grandparents, during which time he obtained a social work degree from Villanova University. After meeting Edward Emmett, Cooke was hired to interview residents of Ambler for the REACH pilot program. He helped interview residents who lived near and played on the huge piles of waste without awareness of or concern about asbestos's dangers. The story was personal, as Cooke's own grandfather died of mesothelioma. Cooke thinks that the Environmental Protection Agency is taking too long to clean up the hazard and is not good at communicating with Ambler's citizens. He would like to have all the waste removed, not just capped, despite the many years of inconvenience that would cause. He has left the REACH project and is currently working on a University of Pennsylvania project studying the health of Ambler's residents. 

Sharon Cooke-Vargas grew up in Ambler, Pennsylvania. She says everyone knew about the asbestos, but because it took decades to manifest as a health problem, she was not concerned until the US Environmental Protection Agency ordered dumping of the asbestos-containing waste stopped. After a developer wanted to build a mixed-use high rise on one of the un-remediated piles, as well as witnessing the impact of the flooding in South and West, Cooke-Vargas joined the community advisory group (CAG) as an American Legion member. She feared the high-rise would finally displace the black communities that had been there for generations. Unfortunately, her experience has been that the CAG is ineffective, that the EPA does what it chooses. She feels that because the CAG meets outside the affected areas, those residents often do not attend meetings and are therefore less knowledgeable. Cooke-Vargas’ strongly-held opinion is that there is no good use for the BoRit Asbestos Area and the EPA should communicate better and accede to citizens’ wishes about remediation, not acting until its tests are all completed.

Lynn Cooley grew up in Portland, Connecticut, where her parents were scientists. She studied zoology at Connecticut College, then attended the University of Texas, where she studied biochemistry and worked in Kwan Wang's lab. After finishing her master's degree, she became a lab technician for Joanne Ravel, then transferred to Dieter Söll's lab at Yale University. He suggested she complete her PhD at the University of Texas while working in his lab. After finishing her degree, Cooley accepted a postdoc at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, where she began researching the regulation of expression in follicle cells, research she continued at Yale. Cooley discusses scientific issues, the impact of molecular techniques on developmental biology, improving the public's understanding of research, and trends in funding. 

Julia P. Cooper was born in Morristown, New Jersey. She began Emory University planning to be a geologist, but switched her major to biology. She began graduate school in pharmacology at the University of Colorado. Paul became her PhD advisor; in his lab she studied the biophysical properties of branched DNA. She accepted a postdoc at the National Institutes of Health and worked on chromatin structure in Robert Simpson’s lab. She later accepted another postdoc in Thomas Cech’s lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder, working on telomeres in fission yeast. After three years she left to work with Paul Nurse at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, spending a year there before accepting 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.

Frank Costantini grew up in New York City. 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, entering Eric Davidson's lab to work on sea urchins. He went into Christopher Graham's lab at University of Oxford to focus on molecular biology, especially as applied to mammals. 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. At Columbia Costantini can do whatever he can get funding for. 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. 

For more information on Pamela Cowin, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences

For more information on this oral history, please contact the Director of the Center for Oral History. 

For more information on Jeffery Cox, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences

For more information on this oral history, please contact the Director of the Center for Oral History. 

Joseph Craft was born in Wilson County, North Carolina. He did not leave the farm area except for school, a mile away, until college, when he attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill. Craft chose UNC for medical school, where he decided he wanted to be an academic clinician. Wanting further training, During his three busy years of residency he considered switching to research. After a further year in general medicine he accepted a postdoc in rheumatology at Yale. While doing his postdoc he did his clinical work in his spare time. He began by studying Lyme disease, but switched to autoimmunity in general. Craft discusses his early publications; explains how the Pew grant helped him make the transition from clinic to lab; talks about his collaborations with John Hardin and Tsuneyo Mimori; details his funding; and talks about competition, tenure, a typical day at the lab, and his administrative duties. Craft concludes his interview with reflections on the interaction between his clinical practice and his science work. 

Ann Marie Craig was born in Ithaca, New York. By the time she entered university, she had fallen in love with the beauty and logic of science. She began classes in psychology, interested in how the brain works. She spent two summers working for the National Research Council of Canada. Her work was molecular neurobiology, leading her into cancer research. For her PhD, Craig chose David Denhardt's lab at the University of Western Ontario because she wanted to learn DNA cloning. After two postdocs, her interest shifted, this time to synapses, and she accepted a position at Washington University. Her research interests include molecular mechanisms underlying synapse formation and synaptic plasticity. She hopes in the future to initiate research on central neuron synapse assembly, modulation, and electrophysiology. 

Donald J. Cram grew up in Vermont, Florida, and New York, and attended Rollins College. He undertook his graduate work at the University of Nebraska with Norman Cromwell, which led him to work at Merck during World War II; he did his doctoral work at Harvard. In 1947 he took a position at the University of California, Los Angeles, and remained at the institution in the chemistry department for over thirty years. Cram's major research effort in the late 1970s on guest-host chemistry led to his sharing the Nobel Prize in 1987. 

Emmett D. Crawford was born in Meridian, Mississippi, but grew up in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Interested in space, Crawford decided to major in meteorology at North Carolina State University, but when he heard that chemical engineering was the hardest subject he switched majors, intrigued by the challenge. Crawford's professor, Richard Felder, said Crawford was the best problem solver he had ever seen, and Crawford managed an almost perfect record throughout college. For graduate school Crawford chose the University of Massachusetts at Amherst because their polymer science and engineering program was small and afforded personal attention. There he worked with Alan Lesser, a new professor, and published several papers on epoxy resins; from these publications he drew his dissertation. Wanting to use his PhD in industry, Crawford chose a job at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee. At Eastman TMCD (2,2,4,4-tetramethyl-1,3-cyclobutanediol) had been studied from a chemical perspective many times over the years, but Crawford brought his experience with materials science to studying it again and developed a new theory that produced a plastic combining durability with pliability, a theory that eventually was confirmed by small-scale testing. Supported by some of the management Crawford was able to bring what was given the name Tritan to commercial production. Crawford won the Society of Chemical Industry Gordon E. Moore Medal for developing Tritan. 

Carlos A. Cuadra, a pioneer in the field of information sciences, continued his education while serving in the Navy during World War II. He did his undergraduate and graduate work in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and wrote his dissertation on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. He began to work for RAND in the System Development Division, which split off and became System Development Corporation (SDC). He learned about computers and programming while he was working on intelligence project 466L for the Air Force and was made head of the Intelligence Systems Branch of SDC, working on various information systems such as MEDLARS II, MEDLINE, ORBIT, and ELHILL. He started the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Cuadra briefly worked as a consultant for the National Academy of Science's Committee on Scientific and Technical Information (COSATI), and was later appointed to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS). Within SDC, Cuadra created SDC Search Service, one of the first online retrieval services. 

Susan Curry moved to Ambler, Pennsylvania in 1998. Wanting to live sustainably, she joined Alliance for a Sustainable Future, took a master's degree in environmental studies and psychology, and joined the newly founded Ambler Environmental Advisory Council (EAC). Curry moved to Ambler just as a five-year review by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the remediated asbestos piles found everything all right. Curry talks about her role in the establishment of the community advisory group (CAG) when the EPA listed the BoRit Superfund site on the National Priorities List, and she explains the structure and workings of the CAG. She had belonged to the Removal and Remedial Monitoring workgroup of the CAG and thinks that they should be requiring the EPA to test the ground under the pond, which is now having the water removed and cleaned, for all kinds of toxic substances. She praises Salvatore Boccuti's aerial photos of the site. She agrees that the town is vibrant; in fact, parking is a problem now. All of this is a result of good community efforts and strong local leaders, like the current Borough Manager. She believes asbestos is not a concern for most people. Curry stresses the importance of establishing a CAG, getting aerial photos, demanding quarterly tours of the remediation. Communities should research previous Superfund sites. Be sure the EPA does not define too small an area for the site boundaries. Make use of Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) for gathering and interpreting information. 

Jason G. Cyster was born in Western Australia. In high school, he obtained the highest aggregate score on Australia's Tertiary exams in his state, receiving the Beazley Award. He decided to study biology based upon his childhood interests in animals and the caliber of lecturers at Western Australia University. By his third year, he became interested in immunology and began working with Wayne R. Thomas. After receiving a Commonwealth Overseas Studentship, Cyster attended Oxford University, where he worked with Alan F. Williams characterizing the CD43 molecule and collaborated with Paul C. Driscoll and Ian Campbell on a structural analysis of the T lymphocyte CD2 antigen. After a postdoc at Stanford, he accepted a position at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is today. 

Hugh A. D’Andrade began his career in corporate law as General Attorney for the Ciba-Geigy Corporation in 1968. By 1977, he had risen through the ranks to become Vice President of Administration and Counsel of the Pharmaceuticals Division. In 1981, he joined Schering-Plough Corporation as Senior Vice-President of Administration. During D’Andrade’s first years with Schering, the company worked with Cetus Corporation on antibiotic screening, and also worked with Biogen on interferon and erythropoietin.  D’Andrade worked on the development side of the interferon project and was instrumental in patent negotiations with Roche.

Seth A. Darst grew up near Seattle, Washington.Though he loved music, the difficulties inherent in a musical career persuaded him to go into chemical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He had never had to study hard before, but he learned fast in college. A required undergraduate class in biochemistry, taught by Larry Gold and Michael Yarus, had introduced him to structural biology. At Stanford for grad school, he worked in Roger Kornberg’s lab on this subject. Near the end of his master’s degree he found electron microscopy and crystallography, his ongoing interests. He remained in Kornberg’s lab until he was offered an assistant professorship at Rockefeller University. Now a tenured professor, he continues his work in prokaryotic transcription.

William H. Davidow obtained his MS in electrical engineering at Dartmouth College, after which Davidow decided to pursue science over business and enrolled in the California Institute of Technology. After receiving his MS at Caltech and his PhD at Stanford University, Davidow worked at General Electric on peripheral devices.  He realized that his talent was in marketing rather than science, and moved on to marketing positions. After working at Hewlett-Packard and Signetics Memory Systems, Davidow moved to Intel and became responsible for marketing of its microprocessor development systems. Eventually he was charged with running the microprocessor division, and embarked on a massive marketing campaign called “Operation Crush.” After the success of Operation Crush Davidow moved to work in Intel’s marketing and sales division; this is the time period during which increasing Japanese competition forced Intel to withdraw from the memory business and focus of microprocessors.

J. Clarence Davies’s interview begins with a discussion of his education, and his uncertainty over whether to become an activist or academic. Davies briefly worked at the Office of Management and Budget as the examiner for the environment, where he found himself continually bombarded by chemical crises. He returned to academia, where he wrote an influential book on pollution and chemical regulation, The Politics of Pollution, but was quickly drawn back to government work. Davies soon became involved with the Ash Council, creating the Environmental Protection Agency. Throughout the interview Davies discussed the difficulties in implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act. According to Davies, the most important elements of TSCA to address in reform will be the burden of proof in TSCA, the way new chemicals are treated and defined, a re-emphasis on the cross-media capabilities of TSCA, and confidential business information.   

Mark Davis grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He matriculated at Johns Hopkins University, where he majored in biology because he thought it answered important questions. He worked in Michael Beer's lab, trying to sequence DNA with a transfer scanning microscope. His advisors suggested graduate studies at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). There he eventually settled in Leroy Hood's laboratory, where he worked successfully with Philip Early, an early molecular biologist. Davis cloned the first mouse genomic library. His next move was to National Institutes of Health. In William Paul's lab he designed a general technology to find genes expressed at very low levels. Recognizing that T-cell receptors are important for immunology, Davis, the only molecular biologist in his department, began his work on T-cell receptors, work that continues today. 

Melvin S. Day grew up during the Depression and often worked in his father's oil company after school to help ends meet. Day attended Bates College as a chemistry major, receiving his BA in 1943. After graduation, Day immediately accepted a position with Metal Hydrides, Inc. in Beverly, Massachusetts. Then he enlisted in the US Army in 1944. Recognizing Day's background in chemistry, the Army sent him to serve at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of the Corps of Engineers for the Manhattan Project. In 1946, Day was assigned to work for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) under Major Alberto Thompson, reviewing newly declassified documents from the Manhattan Project. In 1958, Day transferred to AEC headquarters in Washington, DC to be the Director of the Technical Information Office. He then joined the newly established National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1960, and developed the plans for NASA's information program. In 1970, Day began working for the National Science Foundation (NSF); there he worked on the funding end of developing information systems. He left NSF in 1972 and became the Deputy Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM); there he helped build the Lister Hill Center and to develop MEDLARS and MEDLINE as online systems. 

Robert C. De Lisle was born in Buffalo, New York. He credits his father (an electrical engineer and inventor) with influencing Robert's interest in science. Having won a National Merit Scholarship, he entered University of Massachusetts, Boston, where he discovered a love of lab work, then went onto Case Western University, where he worked in the Ulrich Hopfer laboratory, researching the pancreas. Next, he accepted a postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco, working with John Williams, whom he followed to the University of Michigan. Eventually De Lisle accepted a position at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He is currently working on two broad projects: what muclin protein does in the exocrine pancreas, and applications to cystic fibrosis. 

Allen G. Debus grew up in Evanston, a suburb to the north of Chicago, where he attended public schools. He earned a BS in chemistry, with almost enough credits for a second major in history. After working at Abbott Laboratories for about five years, Debus decided to seek a PhD in the history of science, at Harvard University under I. Bernard Cohen. He accepted an assistant professorship University of Chicago and became the first director of the Morris Fishbein Center for the Study of the History of Science and Medicine. Debus wanted to study the place of chemistry in the scientific revolution with materials available to all; to that end he has a large collection of rare books from this time period, a collection he began in the early 1940's. He says that he has about 650 such books, the earliest from 1501. 

Peter DeCarlo grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana. His father is a professor at Purdue University and his mother is a teacher. DeCarlo majored in biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and learned mass spectrometry during an internship at American Cyanamid Company. Between college and graduate school DeCarlo spent a year in Kenya. At the University of Colorado he joined Jose-Luis Jimenez's atmospheric research group and did fieldwork in Mexico and Canada. DeCarlo accepted a National Science Foundation postdoctoral award to work at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, then an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellowship to work in the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he became involved with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. DeCarlo is Assistant Professor of Engineering and Chemistry at Drexel University where he is conducting local and regional atmospheric research, characterizing and developing Aerodyne mass spectrometers, and promoting scientific understanding. 

Sandra J. F. Degen grew up in the San Fernando Valley, outside of Los Angeles, California, one of four children. Her father was a scientist and her mother a seamstress and homemaker. It was expected that the children would go to college, and Sandra chose the University of California, San Diego, where she majored inchemistry. She worked on fibrinogen in Russell Doolittle's lab. Sandra undertook graduate work in Earl Davie's lab at the University of Washington, completing her PhD thesis on human prothrombin. Edward Reich, who had just left Rockefeller University for Meischer Institut in Basel, Switzerland, recruited Sandra and her husband. After two years there, they returned to the states and both accepted assistant professorships in the pediatrics department at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Claude K. Deischer received his undergraduate education at Kutztown State and Muhlenberg and went on to graduate and postgraduate research at the University of Pennsylvania. He had an interest in the history of science and he played a part in starting Chymia. He also contributed much to the American Chemical Society and the Moravian Church.

Jack DelConte grew up in South Ambler, Pennsylvania. His father worked at Keasbey & Mattison, as did his grandfather and an uncle; only his uncle and a cousin have developed asbestosis. He remembers Ambler as a thriving town until about the time he returned from the Air Force, when K&M had left and the town began its economic slide. Having returned from the Air Force and a few years working in Washington, D. C. , DelConte and his wife settled in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. DelConte was hired to demolish and refurbish some of the old Wyndham Hotel. When the construction was complete DelConte was hired to manage the hotel's restaurant, 34 East Tavern. When asked his opinion about the BoRit site, DelConte says he trusts the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to be capping it properly. Furthermore, he thinks that attempting to remove all the asbestos is impossible, as it will have been dispersed everywhere by weather and flooding. He says Ambler is progressing nicely. Despite all these changes, however, he says that there is still the old community feel.

Stephen M. Denning was born in rural North Carolina, where he loved to read about scientists and grew interested in chemistry and biology. He received a B.S. in chemistry from Duke University. An emeritus professor of chemistry, Marcus Hobbs, convinced him to go into medicine, as there would be more breakthroughs in that field. Denning attended Duke Medical School where he did research with Sheldon Pinnell on collagen antibodies; he then did his internship and residency at University of Chicago. He accepted a fellowship in cardiology under Joseph C. Greenfield at Duke University, where he has remained. His greatest interest is in the intersection between his clinical work and his research on molecular mechanisms and their therapeutic or interventional value.

Joseph DeSimone is now the Director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC. He attended Ursinus College for undergraduate and was recruited by Virginia Polytechnic Institute for graduate school. The University of North Carolina persuaded him to join their faculty where he began work with supercritical fluids. He became the first Kenan Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, eventually establishing an NSF Science and Technology Center. His next interest was supercritical CO2, with which he replaced water to manufacture surfactants. DeSimone found further use for supercritical CO2, producing bioabsorbable stents with Richard Stack. He met Stephen Quake and changed the direction of the STC from CO2 to more microfluidics, inventing “liquid Teflon.” He and his students invented PRINT (Particle Replication in Non-Wetting Templates), developing uniform colloidal particles for the delivery of nucleic acids and medicines, and founded, Liquidia Technologies. Because of PRINT’s nanotechnology DeSimone was asked to establish the Carolina Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. DeSimone established the Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanoscience, and Technology, increasing knowledge in medicine and energy.

For more information on Douglas DeSimone, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences

For more information on this oral history, please contact the Director of the Center for Oral History. 

Rolf Dessauer was born in Nuremberg, Germany, one of two sons of a physician and a housewife. His family fled to the United States after Kristallnacht, eventually settling in Flushing, New York. After service in the U. S. Army, Dessauer received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. Dessauer began his career at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, working at the Jackson Laboratory on dyes and UV-screening agents. He developed dyes for Alcoa's anodized aluminum, discovered a way to color Teflon, and taught dye chemistry to employees at DuPont's Ducilo plant in Buenos Aires. Although his inventions often met with resistance, his work on UV-screening agents was a commercial success.

In his oral history Michael J. Dewar describes his education and long career in chemistry, both in academia and industry. He discusses his research and colleagues at Courtalds, Ltd. , his learning physical chemistry, his work on resonance theory and molecular orbital theory, and his theoretical publications at that time. He also describes his associations with H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins, Charles A. Coulson, and Jack Roberts. 

Ken A. Dill grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, one of two children. His father was an engineer for the telephone company and his mother a housewife. Having displayed an early interest in electronics, Dill attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), obtaining a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in bioengineering. His master's degree experience convinced him he wanted to do research so he applied for and received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and matriculated at the University of California, San Diego. Rotations there gave him an interest in questions about the origins of life. 

Carol Ann DiPietro's mother's families left Italy to settle in Ambler, Pennsylvania, where her great-grandfather and grandfather worked in the asbestos factory, Keasbey & Mattison Company. Her mother worked there as a secretary and tells of white dust visible in the air and settling all over clothing. A parting gift from the company was a box of raw asbestos, which Carol took to kindergarten show and tell. At that time, however, asbestos was not known to be a hazardous material and no relatives died of asbestos-related diseases. The decline of the town center began with the building of the mall in the 1970s; then CertainTeed Corporation moved out of Ambler. When a large high-rise project was proposed for Kane Core, the asbestos problem came to light. DiPietro was living in Lower Gwynedd Township and began attending the high-rise meetings. She became interested in the asbestos question, and began to attend BoRit community advisory group (CAG) meetings as well. Eventually she was appointed to the Planning Commission. She thinks the EPA should have done more for Ambler back in the 1980s when the remedy of capping the White Mountains was chosen. She wishes the asbestos at the BoRit site could be taken completely away. She wants very much to see the six-acre wasted space made into a park-like area.

The central portion of Carl Djerassi's interview covers his life as a student at the University of Wisconsin, followed by research work at Ciba, a faculty position at Wayne State University, and steroid research at Syntex in Mexico City. The interview continues with a move to Stanford University, and expands on Djerassi's dual positions in business and academe, concluding with personal views on writing scientific and non-scientific literature, interest in the arts, and a number of ways in which chemistry has changed during his career. 

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