Mark D. Fleming

Born: November 4, 1965 | Poughkeepsie, NY, US
Photograph of Mark Fleming

Mark D. Fleming begins the interview discussing his childhood, which was dominated by his father's job at IBM. Following graduation from Princeton, Fleming received a Marshall Scholarship, which allowed him to pursue D Phil work with Sir Jack E. Baldwin at the University of Oxford; Fleming described the differences between scientific research in Europe and the United States in some detail. Next, Fleming undertook medical training at the Harvard Medical School's Health, Sciences, and Technology Program. He developed into a clinically-oriented research pathologist, and eventually became a principal investigator at Children's Hospital. Fleming discussed issues related to funding and laboratory management, mentoring students, increasing the racial diversity of students and of faculty in the sciences, scientific literacy, and collaborations.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0378
No. of pages: 87
Minutes: 333

Interview Sessions

Karen A. Frenkel
1-3 October 2007
Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Abstract of Interview

Mark D. Fleming begins the interview discussing his childhood, which was dominated by his father's job at IBM [International Business Machines]. Fleming moved to various communities in the Eastern United States, where the majority of his friends also had fathers working for IBM; a scientific and technological atmosphere pervaded his childhood. Fleming discussed his matriculation at Princeton University and the academic influence of organic chemistry professor Maitland Jones, Jr. Throughout his undergraduate career, Fleming conducted research during summers at the University of Vermont, where he met his future wife as well as where he developed an interest in blood research. Following graduation from Princeton, Fleming received a Marshall Scholarship, which allowed him to pursue D Phil work with Sir Jack E. Baldwin at the University of Oxford; Fleming described the differences between scientific research in Europe and the United States in some detail. Following his D Phil  work, Fleming undertook medical training at the Harvard Medical School's Health, Sciences, and Technology Program, which was academically rigorous and stimulating. He developed into a clinically-oriented research pathologist, beginning with his work in Laurie Glimcher's laboratory at the Harvard University School of Public Health and continuing into his post-doctoral research with Nancy Andrews at Children's Hospital. Due to a unique job offer at Children's Hospital, Fleming smoothly transitioned from post-doctoral researcher to full-time principal investigator. Throughout the interview, Fleming discussed issues related to funding and laboratory management and the manner in which he encourages the academic growth of his own research students. The interview concludes with a discussion of broader issues in the biomedical sciences including increasing the racial diversity of students and of faculty in the sciences, scientific literacy, and collaborations.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1987 Princeton University AB Molecular Biology
1990 University of Oxford DPhil Organic Chemistry
1993 Harvard Medical School MD

Professional Experience

Harvard University School of Public Health

1990 to 1992
Medical Student Research Assistant in Cancer Biology

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

1990 to 1992
Resident in Anatomic Pathology
1996
Senior Resident in Surgical Pathology
1997
Associate Pathologist
1995 to 1996
Fellow in Hematopathology
2007
Interim Pathologist-in-Chief

Boston Children's Hospital

1997 to 2000
Post-doctoral Fellow in Hematology/Oncology
1999 to 2016
Assistant in Pathology
2005
Pathologist
2007
Vice Chairman, Department of Pathology

Harvard Medical School

1993 to 1998
Clinical Fellow in Pathology
1998 to 2000
Instructor in Pathology
2000 to 2005
Assistant Professor in Pathology
2006
Associate Professor in Pathology

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

1998
Pathologist

Honors

Year(s) Award
1987

Marshall Scholarship, Oxford University, Oxford, England

1987

Senior Prize for Academic Excellence, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

1987

Phi Beta Kappa, Princeton University

1987

Summa Cum Laude, Princeton University

1993

Harold Lamport Biomedical Research Prize, Harvard Medical School

1993

Magna Cum Laude, Harvard Medical School

1997

American Society of Hematology Travel Award

1998

American Liver Foundation Research Fellowship

1998

American Society of hematology Fellow Scholar Award

1999

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

2004

Ramzi Cotran Teaching Award, Children’s Hospital

Table of Contents

Childhood
1

Father's career at IBM. Moving to various IBM locations including Manassas, Virginia and South Burlington, Vermont. Early interests in natural science.

College Education
13

Princeton University. Molecular Biology. Organic Chemistry. Summer research at the University of Vermont. Burgeoning interest in blood research. Meeting his wife.

Graduate School
17

Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford University. Sir Jack Baldwin's research group. Discovering a bifunctional enzyme. Dealings with Eli Lilly and Company. Scientific ethics and publishing. Transitions between molecular biology and chemistry.

Medical School and Research
28

Harvard Medical School. The Health, Sciences, and Technology Program. Rigorous scientific and collaborative atmosphere. Medicine as science. Research with Laurie Glimcher. Children's Hospital Boston. Post-doctorate with Nancy Andrews. Long-standing collaboration. Research on NFE2. Medical and scientific ethics.

Principal Investigator
39

Children's Hospital Boston. Transition from post-doctoral research to Principal Investigator. Ramzi Cotran. PI style. Pew Biomedical Scholars Award.

Funding
44

Grants versus contracts. NIH funding. Private Foundation Funding. Funding people not projects

Principal Investigator
47

Interim Chairman. Publishing. Collaborations. Laboratory management. Scooping other research groups. Teaching.

Family Life
61

Wife's Ph.D. in cell biology. Balancing careers and children. Time in Vermont.

Biomedical Sciences
63

Funding. Service to the community. Scientific literacy. Consulting. Immunohistochemistry and Pathology. Collaborations. Scientific Outreach.

Index
84

About the Interviewer

Karen A. Frenkel

Karen A. Frenkel is a writer, documentary producer, and author specializing in science and technology and their impacts on society. She wrote Robots: Machines in Man’s Image (Harmony 1985) with Isaac Asimov. Her articles have appeared in many magazines and newspapers including The New York TimesCyberTimesBusiness Week, Communications Magazine, DiscoverForbesNew Media, Personal Computing, Scientific American, Scientific American MIND, The Village Voice, and Technology Review. Ms. Frenkel’s award-winning documentary films, Net Learning and Minerva’s Machine: Women and Computing aired on Public Television. She has been an interviewer for Columbia University’s Oral History Research Center’s 9/11 Narrative and Memory project, The National Press Foundation’s Oral History of Women in Journalism, and the International Psychoanalytic Institute for Training and Research’s Oral History. Professional memberships include: The Authors Guild, National Association of Science Writers, Writer’s Guild of America East, and New York Women in Film and Television: Past Member of the Board and Director of Programming. Her website is www.Karenafrenkel.com.