Patrick J. Dolph

Born: July 6, 1961 | Portland, OR, US
Photograph of Patrick J. Dolph

Patrick Dolph was born in Portland, Oregon. As a child, he enjoyed collecting bugs and wanted to be an entomologist. His high school biology teacher emphasized Mendel's genetics experiments, stirring Dolph's enthusiasm. He studied biology at Oregon State University and began genetics classes as a sophomore, greatly influenced by Paul Roberts. After working for a time at the Oregon Health Science Center, he got his master's at Ohio State University, working on the genetics of Erwinia stewartii at Ohio State University. He did his Ph.D. at NYU, then took a postdoc at University of California, San Diego, working on arrestin and the regulation of signal transduction in the Drosophila melanogaster visual system. Next, Dolph accepted a position at Dartmouth, where he researches cell death in photoreceptor cells. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0468
No. of pages: 99
Minutes: 350

Interview Sessions

Andrea R. Maestrejuan
9-11 October 2002
Dartmouth College

Abstract of Interview

Patrick Dolph was born and grew up in Portland, Oregon, the middle child of three. His father was a dye maker in a box factory, and his mother was an administrative nurse, though she did not work while the children were young. Dolph can remember that from about the age of five he has wanted to be a scientist, though the particular area of his interest has changed. He began wanting to be an entomologist; he collected bugs and mounted them with the aid of his parents. In elementary school he had a fourth-grade teacher who inspired Dolph's interest in biology. In junior high school he became fascinated with the tide pool creatures he discovered while on family vacations in the San Juan Islands off Seattle, Washington, and decided to become a marine biologist. His high school had few science classes, but he took what he could, including the one biology class. The teacher of that class emphasized Mendel's genetics experiments, stirring up Dolph's enthusiasm, the enthusiasm that determined his future. Dolph matriculated at Oregon State University, immediately declaring his major to be biology. He began his genetics classes as a sophomore, greatly influenced by Paul Roberts, a Drosophila geneticist who taught genetics of organisms. In his junior year, Dolph applied to work in Roberts' lab, but was rejected, so he began work in Dallice Mills' plant pathology lab, where he stayed for perhaps a year and a half. Though he had been on his high school's swim team, Dolph was not good enough to continue in college, but he established a number of good friendships. After college Dolph worked in Michael Litt's lab at the Oregon Health Science Center. There he gained confidence he felt he lacked during his college career. He did his Master's work on the genetics of Erwinia stewartii at Ohio State University, working in David Coplin's lab. From there Dolph moved to New York University's PhD program, where he studied adenovirus gene translation in Robert Schneider's lab. Dolph moved then to the University of California at San Diego, to Charles Zuker's lab, where he took up a postdoc, working on arrestin and the regulation of signal transduction in the Drosophila melanogaster visual system. When he finished his postdoc, Dolph accepted an assistant professorship at Dartmouth. He continues his current research on cell death in photoreceptor cells; he plans to study the biochemistry and genetics of apoptosis in the retinal pathway. His days include publishing; teaching; seeking funding; and attempting to balance his work life with life in rural New Hampshire with his wife and two children. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1983 Oregon State University BS Biology
1985 Ohio State University MS Genetics
1989 New York University Medical Center PhD Medical Sciences

Professional Experience

Ohio State University

1984 to 1985
Graduate Research Assistant with Dr. David Coplin, Department of Plant Pathology

New York University Medical Center

1985 to 1989
Graduate Research Associate with Dr. Robert Schneider, Department of Biochemistry

University of California, San Diego

1990 to 1995
Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Charles Zuker, Department of Biology

Dartmouth College

1995 to 2001
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1997 to 2016

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

1999

Whitney H. Eastman Award for Distinguished Faculty

2016

Junior Faculty Fellowship

2016

Sigma Xi: 2001

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Family background. Early schooling. Impact of religion on his life. His early interest in entomology and science. High school education in Portland, Oregon. Influence of Dolph's father. Influential teachers.

College Years
18

Majors in biology at Oregon State University. Works in Dallice I. Mills' plant pathology laboratory. Takes classes with Drosophila geneticist Paul A. Roberts; Roberts' influence. Dolph's college classes in genetics. College experiences.

Graduate School Years
23

Attends graduate school at Ohio State University as a master's degree candidate in David L. Coplin's laboratory. Graduate programs in plant pathology and in genetics at Ohio State. Works in Michael Litt's laboratory at the Oregon Health Science Center after college. A typical day during graduate school at Ohio State. Living in the Midwest. His master's research on the genetics of Erwinia stewartii, a bacterial corn pathogen. Attends New York University for his PhD, working on adenovirus gene translation in Robert J. Schneider's laboratory. The process of writing journal articles. Schneider's mentoring style.

Postgraduate Years
37

Dolph's neurobiology postdoctoral fellowship in Charles S. Zuker's laboratory, where he works on arrestin and the visual transduction system in Drosophila melanogaster. The Charles S. Zuker laboratory. Zuker's mentoring style.

Faculty Years
49

Dolph accepts a position at Dartmouth College. Setting up his laboratory. Dolph's current research on cell death in photoreceptor cells. Future research plans to study the biochemistry and genetics of apoptosis in the retinal pathway. The grant-writing process. Funding. Dolph's role in the lab. His assessment of his professional success. Teaching responsibilities. Living and working in rural New Hampshire. The tenure process at Dartmouth College. Dolph's wife and children; balancing family and career. The gender make-up of his laboratory; gender issues in science. Ethnic diversity in science and in his laboratory. Collaborations between academia and industry. Ethical questions in science. The role of the principal investigator in forming scientific public policy. Impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award on his work.

Index
97

About the Interviewer

Andrea R. Maestrejuan