Ralph C. Budd

Born: May 25, 1951 | Elizabeth, NJ, US

Ralph C. Budd grew up in Middletown, New York, where he had teachers who fostered his interest in science and mathematics, and attended Cornell University. During his residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Budd began specializing in rheumatology. He did postdoctoral work in Kendall A. Smith's lab at Dartmouth College, where he found his medical practice and his research influencing each other. He went to Lausanne, Switzerland, to study T lymphocyte development in lymphoproliferative mice at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and studied immunology at Stanford University. After a year at Genentech, he settled at the University of Vermont, where he continues to teach, mentor, and do research. He believes basic science is crucial, attempting to direct results is counterproductive, and is interested in therapeutic applications of his research. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0479
No. of pages: 99
Minutes: 520

Interview Sessions

Steven J. Novak
16-18 October 1994
University of Vermont Burlington, Vermont

Abstract of Interview

Ralph C. Budd grew up in Middletown, New York, in a close and happy family that included his parents and an older brother.  He attended public schools, where he had good teachers who fostered his early interest and ability in science and mathematics.  He attended MIT for his freshman year of college, but found it too intense; he transferred to Cornell University, which he very much preferred for academic reasons and because it is in a rural setting.  There he continued studying the organ and sang in the University choir, where he met his future wife, Lenore Fritz.  While Lenore was still an undergraduate Budd began medical school at Cornell University Medical School in New York City; they married and lived the commuter life for the remaining two years.  During his residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Budd decided to specialize in rheumatology because it offered insight into many diseases and failings of the human body.  He then began postdoctoral work in Kendall A. Smith’s lab at Dartmouth College, where he found his medical practice and his research influencing each other, a pattern he continues to maintain.  He went to Lausanne, Switzerland, to study T lymphocyte development in lymphoproliferative mice at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.  He returned to Stanford University to study immunology in C. Garrison Fathman’s lab.  He was heavily courted by Genentech and worked there for a year, until market forces forced cutbacks.  From the West Coast he went to University of Vermont, where he continues to teach, mentor, review articles and papers, and do research.  He believes that basic science is crucial, that attempting to direct results is counterproductive; but he is very interested in potential therapeutic applications of his research; viz. his research into lpr mice might provide help for lupus sufferers; and he thinks that fas gene studies have potential for sufferers of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.  He and Lenore have a son, Graham, who is ten years old; and a daughter, Laura, who is five years old.  The family likes to engage in various outdoor activities and sports.  Budd enjoys wine and espresso; he loves classical music, and plays the organ when he can find time.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1973 Cornell University BA
1977 Weill Cornell Medical College MD

Professional Experience

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

1977 to 1978
Intern
1978 to 1979
Resident
1979 to 1980
Clinical Fellow
1979 to 1981
Senior Resident
1982 to 1984
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Tompkins Community Hosptial

1981 to 1982
Attending Physician

Karolinska Institute, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

1984 to 1987
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Stanford University School of Medicine

1987 to 1988
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
1988 to 1989
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine

Genentech, Inc.

1988 to 1989
Scientist, Division of Molecular Immunology

University of Vermont

1989 to 1992
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Unit
1992 to 1995
Associate Professor of Medicine, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Unit

Honors

Year(s) Award
1974 to 1977

Joseph Collins Foundation Scholar, Cornell University Medical College

1983 to 1986

Arthritis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

1989 to 1992

RJR Nabisco Research Scholars Award in Immunology

1990 to 1994

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

1991 to 1994

Arthritis Foundation Biomedical Science Grant

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Childhood interests and education. Early interest in science. Choosing a college and career. Freshman year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Transfer to Cornell University. Considering medicine as a career.

College Years
12

Undergraduate lab work. Favorite Cornell professors G. Marc Loudon, Gottfried Schatz, and Thomas Eisner. Meeting future wife, Lenore Fritz. Learning to play organ; singing in Sage Choir.

Medical School in New York City
17

Acceptance into Cornell University Medical College. Marriage to Lenore Fritz Budd. Decision to practice internal medicine. Edward D. Harris Jr. introduces Budd to rheumatology during residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Stint as a practicing physician.

Postdoctoral Work
25

Postdoc in Kendall A. Smith's lab at Dartmouth College. IL 2 antibody research. Postdoctoral work at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Lausanne, Switzerland. T lymphocyte development in lpr mice. Move to C. Garrison Fathman's lab at Stanford University.

Private Sector Work
45

Accepts position at Genentech. Financial crisis at Genentech causes Budd to Leave. Securing early tenure at the University of Vermont (UVM). Teaching responsibilities at UVM. Setting up a lab. Budd's work schedule.

Current Lab and Teaching Life
57

Current collaborations. Protocols for people leaving or joining the lab. Animal research. Fas molecule signaling and other foci of Budd's current lpr mouse research. Potential therapeutic applications of fas gene studies. Building team spirit in the lab. Funding at the Ludwig Institute compared to that at UVM. Personalities of past mentors. Henry A. Erlich. Carving a research niche upon departure from Lausanne. Budd's current research on the regulatory role of γδ cells--Difficulties of being a physician-scientist. Importance of physiology in molecular biology. Uneven pace of scientific advances. Using T cell receptors as probes to screen peptide libraries. Peer review system. Importance of basic research. Reviewing for journals and other professional demands on Budd's time. Grant-writing treadmill. Possible approaches to increasing funding for scientific research. Controversy over genetic engineering.

Index
96

About the Interviewer

Steven J. Novak