Browse Oral Histories Alphabetically

Maurice J. Kernan was born in Dublin, Ireland. He loved natured and enjoyed bird watching on nearby Bull Island. He attended Trinity College, where he developed an interest in genetics and conducted summer research at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University. Kernan's project focused on nitrogen fixation done Rhizobium in the root nodules of legume plants, specifically trying to isolate the rec-A gene from that bacterium by complementation-testing transformed, rec-A deficient E. coli with bits of Rhizobium DNA. Kernan moved to the United States for graduate school at University of Wisconsin-Madison, joining Barry Ganetzky's Drosophila laboratory; his doctoral research led to a pair of Cell papers. After a postdoc, he accepted a faculty position at SUNY Stony Brook, where he is today.

Daniel S. Kessler was raised in Binghamton, New York and attended Cornell University for his undergraduate degree. Not until he worked in Stanley A. Zahler's bacterial genetics laboratory did he decide to become a scientist. He went on to Rockefeller University for graduate studies, where he worked with James Darnell on interferon signaling proteins (the STATs) identifying the activation of STATs in response to interferons, the STAT complex, and its regulation. Kessler then pursued postdoctoral research in developmental biology with Douglas A. Melton at Harvard University. Finally, he accepted a faculty position at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he works on control of mesoderm and endoderm germ layer formation, behavior of nodal signals during different stages of embryogenesis, and formation of the Spemann organizer.

Margaret C. Kielian became interested in science at an early age while growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. She studied microbiology at the University of Nebraska. She considered Stanford and Rockefeller Universities for graduate school and was encouraged to attend Rockefeller, where she studied fusion of phagocytic vacuoles with lysosomes in the lab of Zanvil A. Cohn lab. She became increasingly interested in molecular biology. After a stint as a visiting scientist working on Semliki Forest virus at the University of Helsinki, she continued her postdoc position at Yale University. Kielian's research focus shifted to conformational changes in the spike protein. She isolated the mutant virus fus-1, which turned out to be a useful pH probe for work on endocytosis. Vigorously recruited by Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Kielian set up her lab there with funding from National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, and Pew Foundation. Kielian discusses her lab's work on fusion in the SFV spike protein; the role of cholesterol in SFV infection; and the representation of women on the Einstein faculty.

Peter S. Kim was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Massachusetts, Brooklyn, and New Jersey as a child. He studied chemistry at Cornell, then went to Stanford for his PhD, where he worked in Robert "Buzz" Baldwin's lab on nuclear magnetic resonance. Another interest he developed was in catalytic antibodies. He won the third Whitehead fellowship granted. In his lab at the Whitehead he developed a peptide model of a protein-folding intermediate and worked on Leucine zippers and coiled coils with his postdocs and assistants. There, he was promoted first to assistant and then to associate member. Kim also became a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an associate investigator at the Howard Hughes; he remains in all three positions today. 

Seung K. Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, the oldest of three boys. The family immigrated to the United States when Kim was about three. He attended Harvard University, where he found inspiration in a biochemistry class taught by Mark Ptashne, Tom Maniatis, and Douglas Melton. Kim talks about his college laboratory experience with Richard Goldstein; the process of writing; and his tutelage under James Rheinwald at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After graduation, Kim enrolled in the MD/PhD program at Stanford University, and worked in Dale Kaiser's biochemistry laboratory studying cell signaling during development. He discusses his experiences in the MD/PhD program at Stanford; his interest in oncology; and his residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Kim accepted a fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, then did a postdoc on pancreas development in Douglas Melton's lab. He then took a position at Stanford University in developmental biology and set up his lab. Kim concludes his interview with lessons he has learned; his reasons for becoming a principal investigator; and the qualities of a good scientist.

Victor J. Kimm received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil (then sanitary) engineering.  After some time volunteering in Latin America and working with labor unions in DC, Kimm went to work at the Economic Development Administration. He obtained a senior post at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation and worked on the Safe Drinking Water Act, promoting the states’ efforts to qualify for delegation of implementation responsibilities. He became Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances. During his ten years as Deputy, OPTS was responsible for implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act. Kimm discusses risk assessment management in TSCA and adds his own third aspect, risk communications. He praises OPPTS, its scientists, and its innovations. He laments the complexity of regulation that leads to inconsistent standards for chemical tolerances and results in an inability to foster the public interest. He hopes for more resources from Congress and for greater emphasis on alternatives to dangerous substances. 

Reatha Clark King was born in Pavo, Georgia, the second of three daughters. Her father was a sharecropper who never learned to read or write, and her mother, who went to school only through third grade, worked as a maid. King attended Clark College; chemistry was a required course for a home economics major, and King was immediately smitten with it. She resolved to become a research chemist, an ambition encouraged by Alfred Spriggs, head of the department, in whose lab she worked on gas chromatography. King won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship was admitted to the University of Chicago, where she obtained her PhD in thermochemistry. Her first job was as research chemist at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC, where she remained for five years. While there she worked on a project for the Advanced Research Projects Agency and published several papers. When her husband accepted a position at Nassau Community College in Garden City, Long Island, New York, King took an assistant professorship at York College of the City University of New York, progressing to associate dean of the college. From there she was chosen president of Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and then she moved on to General Mills, Inc. , as a vice president, and as president of the General Mills Foundation, a philanthropic organization.

Chalmer Kirkbride, influenced by his brother-in-law, a chemist for Sherwin-Williams, studied chemical engineering at the University of Michigan and initially worked for Standard Oil of Indiana before moving on to positions at Pan American Transport Company and Magnolia Petroleum Corporation, among others. Kirkbride was appointed as the first distinguished engineering professor at Texas A&M University, a position he held briefly before returning to industry. Kirkbride discusses his interest in environmental issues as well as recent activities as part of Kirkbride Associates.

Caroline F. Kisker grew up in West Berlin, West Germany, where she attended the John F. Kennedy German-American grammar school. After completing her Abitur, Kisker planned to study medicine, but due to the university placement lottery system she was not able to matriculate. In the interim, while working as a medical apprentice, she decided to pursue biochemistry at the Freie Universität in Berlin. She joined the large laboratory of Wolfram Saenger and had the opportunity to conduct laboratory work in Zürich, Switzerland and Frankfurt, Germany with Nobel Laureate Hartmut Michel. Her doctoral research centered on the determination of medically relevant tetracycline repressor protein, the results of which she published in Science . After completing their doctorates, Kisker and her husband pursued postdoctoral research in Douglas C. Rees's laboratory at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). At Caltech, Kisker solved the sulfite oxidase structure and published it in Cell . Kisker then accepted a position as a faculty member at State University of New York, Stony Brook. In 2000 Kisker received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award and in 2006 she moved to the Rudolf Virchow Center at the University of Würzburg in Germany. She continues her research on structure-based drug design and DNA repair through the tools of structural biology. Kisker discusses the ways in which structural biology has changed throughout her career in response to new technologies and the ways in which funding affects her research and research choices.

Donald L. Klein grew up in Brooklyn, New York. With his childhood friend, Neil Wotherspoon, Klein developed an early passion for chemistry, electronics, and amateur radio, interests that would follow him throughout his life and career. After completing a degree under Roland Ward, Klein was recruited to work for Bell Laboratories, and began working on the production of semiconductors. His group was involved in developing etching techniques for semiconductors and methods to prevent different types of contamination in semiconductor production. While at Bell, Klein and his colleagues identified the problems with current FET models and processes; then came the idea of using a heavily doped polycrystalline silicon layer as the gate of an FET. The gate was to be supported on dual layers of a silicon nitride and silicon dioxide serving as the gate insulator. Using the FET as a model for integrated circuits, they fabricated and characterized hundreds of FET devices at high yield that exhibited close electrical tolerances. After a restructuring, Klein left Bell to work for IBM.

Gordon Kline discusses his lengthy career at the National Bureau of Standards and his work on applications of organic resins to aviation. Kline also expands on his other polymer-related activities, including his role in setting national and international standards for testing synthetic polymer products, his tenure as Technical Editor of Modern Plastics, and his time in Germany investigating German plastics laboratories.

For more information on Michael Klymkowsky, 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. 

William S. Knowles begins his oral history by discussing his early life during the Great Depression and his education, including time at Harvard University and Columbia University. Knowles spent the majority of his career at Monsanto Company, where he moved from studies of vanillin to research on steroid chemistry and L-Dopa, among other topics. Knowles discusses the many projects he worked on while at Monsanto, his 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and the challenges of being an industrial scientist.

Jane E. Koehler was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and graduated from Vassar College, Though she had first intended to pursue a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, she soon decided to earn a master's degree instead and pursue a medical education. She attended George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where she received an MD in 1984. After a postdoc there, Koehler began working at the University of California, San Francisco, as a Clinical Instructor of Medicine in the Infectious Diseases Department. She rose through the ranks to Associate Professor of Medicine in Residence in the Infectious Diseases Department. Her current research focuses on tracing the complex life cycle of Bartonella and its role in the frequent infection of immunocompromised patients.

Michael R. Koelle was raised in Seattle, Washington. His first laboratory experiences were during high school when he worked in the labs of Barbara L. and Stephen M. Schwartz at University of Washington. He attended University of Washington, then pursued his doctoral degree at Stanford University with David Hogness, working on hormonal controlled development and the ecdysone hormone receptor. Next, he 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. His discusses the varied duties of an academic scientist, views on public understandings of science, his current research, and more.

Andrew Koff was born and in New York and attended State University of New York, Stony Brook for political science. 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, then took a postdoc in James M. Roberts's laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, studying cyclin E. He also collaborated with Joan Massague on cyclin E-CDK2 activity. Koff then accepted a position at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he focuses on p27 interactions and regulation, developing mouse models mimicking p27 activity, cyclins in meiosis, and angiogenesis. He discusses grant writing, peer review, the importance of understanding the history of one's field, pressures of publication, and more.

For more information on Bruce Kohorn, 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. 

Izaak Kolthoff begins his interview by discussing his early life in Holland, his education, and the factors influencing his decision to become an analytical chemist. Kolthoff details the effects of the McCarthy era on his career and accusations of Communist sympathies. Kolthoff ends the interview by discussing his research, including his work on crystal surfaces, and his participation in synthetic rubber research during World War II.

For more information on J. Michael Koomey, 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. 

Adrian R. Krainer was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Political unrest, anti-Semitism, and Zionism framed his teenage years. He attended Columbia University to study biochemistry, finding courses with James A. Lewis and Charles R. Cantor, and research with Catherine L. Squires quite stimulating. While at Harvard for graduate school, Krainer worked with Thomas P. Maniatis, developing a system for cell-free RNA splicing, which enabled them to elucidate the mechanisms of human pre-mRNA splicing. He took an independent fellow position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, mentored by Richard J. Roberts, and began to characterize snRNP and protein components of the splicing machinery, before accepting a faculty position there in 1989.

For more information on James Krause, 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. 

Athan Kuliopulos was raised in North Reading, Massachusetts. He worked as a science-assistant while in junior high, and in high school, his biology teacher encouraged him to pursue independent biological research-Kuliopolos chose to study bacterial growth and natural products that inhibit such growth. He matriculated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he had his first publication with Charles W. Boylen. He then began work in James Coward's laboratory, studying enzyme kinetics. Next, he joined the MD/PhD program at Johns Hopkins University, where he undertook doctoral research on ketosteroid isomerase in Albert S. Mildvan and Paul Talalay's laboratories. At Tufts University-New England Medical Center, where he is today, he has focused his research on protease activated receptors and pepducins involved in blood coagulation and cell signaling.

Samuel M. Kunes was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He was uninterested in school as a child, but a decision to drive across the country after high school graduation brought him to the town of Corvallis, Oregon, where he began to realize his academic potential. Kunes earned his BS at University of Oregon, where he discovered his interest in science and did research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Next, he attended graduate school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he became interested in genetics. He took a postdoc in Hermann Stellar's lab at MIT, studying the nervous system development of Drosophila. Kunes is now a faculty member at Harvard. His research focuses on tracing the steps and control of axonal development in fruit flies.

For more information on Lawrence Kuo, 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 John Kuriyan, 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.

Makoto Kuro-O grew up in Tokyo, the younger of two children. At an early age Kuro-O decided he liked science. He attended the local elementary and junior high schools, and after graduating high school, contemplated becoming a doctor. He entered medical school at University of Tokyo. Kuro-O became interested in cardiology and describes his first basic laboratory experience. He did his PhD while spending at least half of his time seeing patients. He met Ryozo Nagai and joined his lab at Tokyo University. Kuro-O then accepted a position at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He talks about his move to the United States; setting up his laboratory; funding in general and specifically the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on his work; his lab management style; his teaching responsibilities; and his research on the age-suppressor gene. The interview concludes with Kuro-O's comments on collaborations in science, serendipity in his work, gender and ethnic issues in science, his first impressions of the United States, and a comparison of science in Japan and the United States.

Stephanie Kwolek starts this interview by describing her family background. Her father's early death meant that her mother had to work to support Kwolek and her brother, who later became a chemical engineer. At the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Kwolek shifted her interests from medicine to chemistry. Deciding to enter industry, she accepted a position with the Rayon Department of DuPont at Buffalo. There, she started her career in polymer synthesis and worked with Izard, Wittbecker, and Morgan. When the laboratory moved to Wilmington, Kwolek was associated with the low ¬temperature polymerization program. In the interview, Kwolek then discusses the nylon rope trick, DuPont promotion policy, and liquid crystalline polymers. She concludes with her reflections on colleagues and DuPont consultants.

Stephanie Kwolek joined DuPont in 1946, the same year she earned her BS in chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University. She spent much of her time working on polymers, including aliphatic and aromatic polyamides. At DuPont, she worked with 1,4-B and was able to get a high molecular weight polymer. It was eventually discovered that the polymer spun beautifully and was quite strong. This polymer became Kevlar. Kwolek describes industry competition, the testing and scale-up of Kevlar, and the problems of confidentiality. She further discusses the relationship between Kevlar and Paul Flory's theory of liquid polymer crystals.

Joseph Labovsky begins his oral history with a discussion of his family and early life in Ukraine, as well as his recollection of his family's move to the United States. Labovsky was trained as a master electrician, and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in industrial chemical engineering. Labovsky speaks at length about his career at DuPont, including the development of nylon and his mentors and colleagues, including Wallace Carothers and Paul Flory.

For more information on Michael Lagunoff, 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. 

Keith J. Laidler discusses his childhood and education, including his time at Oxford University, where Laidler received training and undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry and physical chemistry, and as a graduate student in physical chemistry at Princeton University. Laidler recalls the inception and development of the transition-state theory as well as his own research. Laidler concludes his interview with recollections of several eminent chemists, including Cyril Hinshelwood, Henry Eyring, and Hugh Stott Taylor. 

Ralph Landau begins his oral history by discussing his childhood and education, including his time as an undergraduate in chemical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and as a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Landau recalls his time at Kellex Corporation-where he worked on the Manhattan Project-as well as M. W. Kellogg Corporation, Scientific Design Company, and Halcon International. 

Frank A. Laski was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan, where he obtained a BS in general studies and worked in Ethel Noland Jackson's lab, becomin interested in recombinant DNA. Laski entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his Ph. D, where he worked in Phillip A. Sharp's lab. He took a postdoc in Gerald M. Rubin's lab at the University of California at Berkeley, working on the relationship between P elements and germline tissue. He then accepted an assistant professorship at the Department of Biology and at the Molecular Biology Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he remains today. His work encompasses bacteriophage packaging; transfer RNA; Drosophila ovaries; P elements; oogenesis; and genetic mutations in Drosophila. 

Jay T. Last begins his oral history by discussing his early life and education, including his undergraduate work at University of Rochester and his graduate work in the von Hippel lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Last first joined the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory but was part of the Traitorous Eight" to form Fairchild Semiconductor; Last later worked at Amelco Corporation and Teledyne Technologies, among other endeavors. Last speaks about the business climate of Silicon Valley as well as the American and international semiconductor industries.

Martin Latterich was born in Hamburg, Germany. From a young age he was interested in his mother's work - she was a chemist - and spent much of his youth performing his own experiments and taking apart electronics. Latterich attended Durham University for undergrad, where he undertook a research project studying pathogenesis mechanisms and crown gall tumors. He also worked under John Boyle at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. He stayed at Durham for his graduate degree. After a postdoc, he accepted a position at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He then decided to move into industry, first working for Diversa Corporation and then for Illunina, Incorporated. Ultimately, he chose to return to academia, joining McGill University, researching membrane-fusion elements required for intracellular transport. 

Lester F. Lau lived in Hong Kong until he was fourteen. When the family moved to Brooklyn, Lau did well in academics. He attended the City College of New York, then studied molecular biology at Cornell University. He describes manipulating synthetic DNA to study transcription and termination. Lau worked at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, then the University of Illinois College of Medicine, where he is now an associate professor. Lau talks about whether outsiders can still make contributions to science, and the status of women and minorities in science. He concludes by talking about his National Institutes of Health grant reviews and his plans to explore a genetics approach to isolating immediate-early genes. 

Yuri A. Lazebnik was born in Severomorsk, Russia. His family did not have much growing up, so Lazebnik worked through high school and college to support himself and his mother. He was an avid reader, enjoying the works of Jules Verne. As a teenager Barry Commoner's The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology made Lazebnik consider environmental science as a career. He studied biology and biochemistry as an undergraduate at St. Petersburg State University, continuing his education as a graduate student in Valerei  Vasiliev's lab, where he studied cell cycle. While he was in France as a visiting scientist, the August Putsch of 1991 occurred in Moscow, spurring Lazebnik's decision to move to the United States. Lazebnik joined the Earnshaw laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. He is now at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. 

Joshua Lederberg begins his three-part interview by discussing his early years in New York and the early influence of science on his education. Lederberg received his bachelor's degree in biology from Columbia University, worked with Francis Ryan on Neurospora and E. coli, enlisted with the United States Navy, and received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Yale University. Lederberg discusses his career in academia, including his time at the University of Wisconsin, as well as his Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1958. 

Joshua Lederberg begins the interview by discussing his involvement in contamination issues of planetary exploration. Lederberg recalls his work to develop alternatives to the "man-in-space" program, as well as his time on several national committees for both planetary exploration and health-related matters. Additionally, Lederberg discusses writing his column, the environment at Stanford University during the Cold War, and his thoughts on U. S. defense projects. 

Peter B. Lederman was born in Weimar, Germany. When Peter was seven the family left for the United States; eventually Lederman chose to attend the Forest Hills High School, where he was inspired in science by his chemistry and biology teacher, Paul Brandwein. Lederman majored in chemical engineering when he entered the University of Michigan; Brymer Williams became Lederman's advisor and mentor. Lederman accepted a job as processing engineer in lube oils at Shell Oil in Illinois, but he left there to go back to Michigan for a master's degree. He was drafted into the Army Petroleum School, where he taught petroleum technology, but subsequently returned to graduate school. From there Lederman began work on a pilot unit in ethylene-propylene copolymers for Esso Research Laboratories, later moving to Esso's New Jersey laboratories as a process engineer. About to be promoted, he decided to accept an associate professorship at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. While teaching there he worked on a solid waste management program for the garbage committee of New Providence, New Jersey. This interest eventually branched into a general fascination with environmental issues; while at Poly he obtained a National Science Foundation grant to help disadvantaged students study pollution. Lederman left Poly for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he attempted to combine fragmented areas of pollution. He worked as the director of the Industrial Waste Treatment Research Laboratory until it was moved to Ohio, at which time Lederman spent a year as head of the program in Washington, D. C. , before returning to New Jersey. He spent his next four years at Research-Cottrell, developing electrostatic precipitators, negotiating contracts in Japan, and managing crises. Superfund had just been established by statute, and hazardous materials had become a hot issue, so Lederman went to Roy F. Weston, Inc. , to consult on hazardous materials. There he was responsible for government contracts, especially technical assistance for emergency response consulting, and strategic policy regarding hazardous materials. Wanting to finish his career in academia, Lederman went to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in the Center for Environmental Engineering and Sciences, in the Office of Intellectual Property, and as Research Professor of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Policy. 

Kuo-Fen Lee was raised in Kaohsing, Taiwan and attended National Taiwan University, where he became interested in molecular biology after a virology course. He received his master's degree from National Yang-Ming Medical College, and then pursued his doctorate at Baylor College of Medicine. He researched gene regulation using transgenic technology and steroid hormone peptides in Jeffrey M. Rosen's lab. During a postdoc at Whitehead Institute for Biological Research, he worked on crafting a genetic knockout mouse to study neural crest cell migration during development and published in Cell, Science, and Nature. After meeting Story C. Landis and Wylie Vale and attending a Gordon Research Conference on hormone action, Lee accepted a position at Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researching neurobiological development, synapse function, and glial cell function. 

Greg E. Lemke attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, majoring in biology and minored in music. He was a teaching assistant in Annamaria Torriani-Gorini’s microbiology class; he liked short experiments with fast results. He worked on glycoproteins in the labs of Phillips Robbins and Ellen Henderson. Lemke chose California Institute of Technology for graduate school because it was strong in molecular biology and neurobiology. In Jeremy Brockes’s lab he worked on Schwann cells, which he found to be his life’s interest. For his postdoctoral work, Lemke he took his project to a postdoc in Richard Axel’s lab. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies offered him a job and the independence of his own lab. He took his project with him; half of his lab continues the myelin work, attempting to understand signal transduction in the development of cells and studying differentiation in Schwann cells. The lab is also working on protein-tyrosine kinase. He hopes one day to understand how cell fate is specified during development, with a particular interest in the nervous system.

For more information on Richard Lemons, 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. 

Gustavo Leone was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and lived there until he was twelve when his family moved to Montréal, then to Calgary, seeking better opportunities. Leone entered the University of Calgary, where he did not do well his first year. He left school for a year and a half; upon his return, hw worked hard and did well, intending to become a doctor. After his third year he spent the summer working in Patrick Lee's lab. He loved that work so much he knew he was made for research. He remained in Lee's lab for his PhD, where he worked on reovirus and began work on cell cycles. Lee advised Leone to go to Duke University to work with Joseph Nevins. There he studied cell cycle with James DeGregori, who had lived in Uruguay for a year. The two hit it off and published an important paper before DeGregori left Duke. From Nevins, Leone says he learned mentoring and lab management as well as a great deal of science. Leone accepted an offer from Ohio State University. Changing technology brought the opportunity to study interrelationships among the E2F family members, which is where Leone sought a cure for some cancers, notably breast cancer. Seeing cancer as a complex disease needing collaboration and communication among people with differing approaches and goals, Leone established Tumor Microenvironment. He is also one of the heads of the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center. He continues to find the study of chemistry and genetics of cancer tissue important and fascinating. 

John M. Leong was born in Berkeley, California. His parents expected him to attend an Ivy League school and become a doctor. He entered the Program in Liberal Medical Education at Brown University, which grants a BS and an MD, but a molecular biology class inspired him to become a research scientist and work toward a PhD as well as an MD. He entered Arthur Landy's lab, where he began working on œü80. John accepted a postdoc at Tufts University, where he worked on the inv gene of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, then on Lyme spirochete. He has experienced a hostile political climate surrounding the study of Lyme, and thinks he will add enterohemorrhagic E. coli to his research interests. He laughingly points out that there is more grant money in E. coli, too. Leong is now at the University of Massachusetts. 

Charles F. Lettow studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate.  He held one job in the chemical industry before serving in the US Army; after his military service he moved into the field of law. After clerkships with the Hon. Benjamin C. Duniway and the Hon. Warren E. Burger, he was invited to work for the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.  There he was involved in the creation of US Environmental Protection Agency and several environmental laws, including the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Lettow and J. Clarence Davies used the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as their primary model for writing a toxics law that would include both a premarket review and imminent hazard provision. Lettow discusses the debates surrounding the issues of preemption, citizen suits, judicial review, penalties, administrative searches, and confidentiality.

Doron Levin grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, one of four children. Levin followed the science track in high school, and he was inspired to study chemistry when he attended an after-school program called geology, paleontology, and petrochemistry. He entered the chemical engineering department at the University of Witwatersrand with a bursary from Sasol. Since there was no scope for advanced degrees in South Africa, Levin entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) PhD program. During a summer internship at Exxon he worked with Stuart Soled, who has remained a friend as well as colleague. Levin obtained a master's degree in chemical engineering practice from having attended the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice and a PhD in chemical engineering from MIT. Levin accepted a job with Mobil Oil Company, continuing his catalysis work. When Mobil merged with Exxon Corporation Levin was assigned to a team working on methanol to olefins (MTO). He was transferred to Process Research to support the manufacture of catalysts and was tasked with developing the next generation of catalysts. He discovered TransPlusNG. From there he moved to Hydroprocessing, where he worked with Soled to develop Nebula, which is based on his summer intern work with nickel molybdates. Levin is now an integrated project team leader (IPTL), but he will soon return to Catalyst Technology, this time as a Section Head, responsible for developing the professionals in his section as well as his own leadership qualities. 

David E. Levy grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He was always interested in science; he had chemistry kits, built rockets, made his own chemicals for his dark room, and observed animals. He attended the University of Tennssee, studying biology, and took a job at the Laboratory in the Molecular Anatomy Program after graduation. He then worked for a year in immunologist Alan Solomon's lab at the University of Tennessee's Memorial Research Center. Excited by the confluence of chemistry and biology, he decided to become a scientist. He was accepted at CalTech and began researching immunology, then switched to Richard Lerner's lab at Scripps Research Institute, where he studied retroviruses. Next, he accepted a postdoc at Rockefeller University, where he remains an adjunct faculty member. 

Norman Li discusses his early life in China and Taiwan, as well as his education, which included a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from National Taiwan University as well as an M.S. from Wayne State University and a Ph.D. from Stevens Institute of Technology. Li reflects on his career in industry, including his time at Exxon Research and Engineering Company, where he received a combined total of 44 patents on either hydrocarbon separations or facilitated transport. Li also discusses his move to research administration and the future of chemical R&D. 

Judy Lieberman was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Until about tenth grade Judy wanted to be a historian, but an excellent biology teacher and a summer science program at Cornell turned her to science. Judy studied physics at Harvard University, then pursued a PhD in physics at Rockefeller University, where she studied with Bram Pais. But after a few positions in physics labs, Judy realized she was unhappy and decided to become a doctor. She obtained her MD from a joint program at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Judy has decided to devote her skills to research, specifically immunology. She continues to seek an immunotherapy for AIDS and other diseases, believing an AIDS therapy can be found, if not a cure.