Tucker Collins

Born: November 3, 1952 | Lorain, OH, US
Died: Sunday, June 3, 2007

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.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0754
No. of pages: 33
Minutes: 140

Interview Sessions

Arnold Thackray and Frances Kohler
4 March 1991
Le Meridien Hotel, Coronado, California

Abstract of Interview

Tucker Collins grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, one of three children. His father was a chemist at B.F. Goodrich, and his mother was a housewife, later she became a bank vice president. Collins spent summers with his grandparents on Long Island, New York. He was interested in science and medicine and attended the Program in Biochemistry (PIB) while in high school. He won the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and was accepted at Amherst College. At Amherst he worked with Edward Leadbetter and Walter Godchaux, two instructors from PIB. He also spent two summers at Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he attended Gerald Weissmann’s physiology course. Collins went into University of Rochester’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) 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). He says PDGF is intrinsically interesting, but its implications for nerve regeneration make it more so. 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.

Collins attributes his current ventures to his previous educational and lived experiences. He loves the excitement of practicing science. He discusses the balancing of career and home life. Collins would like one day to be chairman of a pathology department.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1975 Amherst College BA Biology
1981 University of Rochester MD/PhD Microbiology

Professional Experience

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

1981 to 1986
Clinical/Research Fellow, Department of Pathology
1986 to 1992
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1974

Oscar E. Shotte Prize in Biology, Amherst College

1980

Sherman Award, New York Branch, American Society for Microbiology

1986

American Association of Pathologist's Experimental Pathologist in Training Award

1987

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences Award

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Grew up a suburb Cleveland, Ohio. Family. Early interest in science. Hobbies.

College and Graduate School Years
3

Attended Amherst College. Work with Edward Leadbetter and Walter Godchaux. Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole Laboratory. Gerald Weissmann’s influence. Thesis about opsin in vitro. Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at University of Rochester. James Wilhelm’s lab. Publications.

Postdoctoral Work
11

Jordan Pober’s lab section. Focus on vascular expressed platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). Funding from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Ramzi Cotran. Pober to Vincent Marchesi’s new institute at Yale University. Michael Bevilacaua; Michael Gimbrone; Myron Cybulsky. Leukocyte adhesion and atherogenesis; biotechnology firms. Philip Leder; Philip Sharp; David Baltimore, Harvey Lodish, Stuart Orkin.

His Own Lab and General Thoughts
26

Harvard University. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Career goals. Family life. Tenure.

Index
32

About the Interviewer

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.

Frances Kohler