Benjamin S. Glick

Born: November 6, 1961 | Goroka, PG
Photograph of Benjamin S. Glick

Benjamin S. Glick was born in Goroka, New Guinea, but spent much of his childhood in New Salem, Massachusetts, where his father was Dean at Hampshire College. In high school, he came to understand what scientists do, and was influenced by one teacher who combined moral and scientific lessons. Glick studied neuroscience and mathematics at Amherst College for undergrad. Based on advice from Alan Waggoner, he pursued graduate work in biochemistry at Stanford University, where he worked in James Rothman'a lab on the Golgi apparatus and learned about lab management, the culture of science, and mentoring. After a postdoc at University of Basel, Glick accepted a position at University of Chicago, where he has continued researching Golgi apparatus and pursued projects on the structure of transitional endoplasmic reticula. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0470
No. of pages: 105
Minutes: 250

Interview Sessions

William Van Benschoten
11-13 June 2002
University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Abstract of Interview

Benjamin S. Glick was born in Goroka, New Guinea, spending the first seven months of his life there while his father worked on his PhD research in anthropology. His family then returned to the United States, to Madison, Wisconsin, staying until Glick was ten, after which they moved to New Salem, Massachusetts, where his father accepted a position as Dean at Hampshire College. Glick's mother focused on raising the family's four children (Benjamin being the eldest). The son of bibliophiles who started their own mail-order anthropology book business, Glick grew up very interested in reading and also quite interested in science. He attended junior high and high school in New Salem, developing some initial impressions of what a scientist "does," and was influenced significantly by one teacher who combined moral and scientific lessons. Raised in a Conservative Jewish household, religion also was an important part of his life. Upon finishing high school, Glick decided to attend Amherst College for his undergraduate studies, majoring in neuroscience and mathematics. College physics classes taught him to think analytically and Glick undertook neurobiology research with Steven George, focusing on nervous system mechanisms. After receiving advice from Alan Waggoner, he decided to pursue graduate work in biochemistry at Stanford University. While life at Stanford presented an initial "culture shock," Glick soon moved into the lab of James Rothman to pursue his graduate research on the Golgi apparatus. Next, he went on to the University of Basel, where he completed postdoctoral research with Jeff (Gottfried) Schatz on the stop-transfer model of mitochondrial sorting, a model that was more assertive than Walter Neupert's conservative sorting model in mitochondria. Learning much from Rothman about lab management, the culture of science, and mentoring, Glick subsequently accepted a faculty position at the University of Chicago, at which he continued his work on the Golgi apparatus and pursued projects on the structure of transitional endoplasmic reticula. The interview ends with a discussion of and reflections on some applications of his research; his teaching duties and style; administrative responsibilities; travel commitments; the process of writing journal articles; and balancing his family life with his work. He concludes the interview discussing funding, the privatization of research, and the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences Program.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1983 Amherst College BA Neuroscience and Math
1988 Stanford University PhD Biochemistry

Professional Experience

Biozentrum of the University of Basel

1989 to 1994
Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Chicago

1994
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1979

National Merit Scholar

1983

Phi Beta Kappa

1983

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship

1988

Life Sciences Research Foundation Fellowship

1995

Cancer Research Foundation Young Investigator Award

1996

March of Dimes Foundation Starter Scholar Award

1997

Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant

1999

National Science Foundation CAREER Award

2002

Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Years
1

Family background. Siblings. Childhood interests. Enjoyment of reading. Attends junior and high school in New Salem, Massachusetts. Interest in science. Influential teacher in high school. Extracurricular activities. Religion. Parental expectations.

College and Graduate School
16

High school perception of a scientist. Attends Amherst College. Learns how to think analytically in physics class. Does thesis work in neurobiology with Steven George. Social life. Alan Waggoner. Decides to do graduate work in biochemistry at Stanford University. Life at Stanford. PhD project in James Rothman's laboratory. Typical workday. Co-workers at Stanford University. Learns how to do scientific studies.

Postdoctoral Work
36

Does postdoctoral work in Jeff (Gottfried) Schatz's laboratory at the University of Basel. Leads argument for Schatz's stop-transfer model over Walter Neupert's conservative sorting model in mitochondira. Meets wife, Aline Katherine Lathrop Glick. Learns laboratory management, the culture of science, and mentoring during his postdoctoral experience. Describes research on the mitochondrial import process in Schatz's lab.

Faculty Years
51

Accepts a position at the University of Chicago. Setting up his laboratory. Writing grants. Research on the Golgi apparatus. Structure of transitional endoplasmic reticulum. Applications of research. Teaching duties. Teaching style. Administrative responsibilities. Travel commitments. Funding history. Writing journal articles. Laboratory management style. Professional duties.

Thoughts about Scientific Life
74

Balancing family and career. Leisure activities. Typical workday. Professional goals. Future research plans. Patents. Technology in research. Competition and collaboration in science. Allocating resources for research projects. Public policy. Concerns about the public perception of scientists. Ethics. Privatization of scientific research. Gender. Racial diversity. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

Index
103

About the Interviewer

William Van Benschoten