Jochen Buck

Born: August 6, 1956 | Reutlingen, DE

Jochen Buck was born and grew up in Reutlingen, Germany. During the Vietnam War, he became a conscientious objector, working with disabled youths. He decided to become a doctor, but in medical school at the University of Tübingen, he discovered that he loved scientific research. 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. Next, he accepted 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. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0438
No. of pages: 88

Interview Sessions

Andrea R. Maestrejuan
14-16 December 1998
Cornell University Medical College New York, New York

Abstract of Interview

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.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1984 University of Tübingen MD
1985 University of Tübingen PhD

Professional Experience

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

1985
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Immunology
1987
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Immunology

Weill Cornell Medical College

1992 to 1997
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology
1997 to 1999
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1987

Clinical Research Award, Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation

1993 to 1997

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

1998

Hirschl/Weill Caulier Medical Scholar

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Growing up in Germany. Father's participation in World War II, teaching career, and marriage. Buck's early schooling and childhood interests. Politics in the family. During the Vietnam War becomes a conscientious objector, working with disabled youths.

College Education in Germany
22

Buck's political activism. Organizes anti-nuclear blockade of Grossengstingen. Enters Tübingen University Medical School and begins work at Children's Hospital, where he becomes interested in pediatric oncology. Joins several communes. Attempts to find treatment for neuroblastomas. Buck's PhD dissertation on interferon. Begins development of imaging techniques withmonoclonal antibodies in Ulrich Hämmerling's lab. Localizes cell growth caused by the autocrine growth factor. Discovers retro-retinoids. Research on adenylyl cyclase.

Moving to the United States
41

Accepts postdoc at Sloan-Kettering. Moves to Cornell University Medical College as Assistant Professor. Joins his lab to Lonny R. Levin lab; the sharing of money and facilities. Collaboration with Hämmerling. Funding. Maintaining a small lab and continuing hands-on research. Balancing science, family, and outside interests. Minorities and gender in science. Division of household choresin the Buck home.

Index
86

About the Interviewer

Andrea R. Maestrejuan