Paul D. Gollnick

Born: December 6, 1958 | Pullman, WA, US

Paul D. Gollnick was born in Pullman, Washington. Because his father was a scientist, Paul was, from a young age, interested in science, and he spent hours helping in his father's lab. He attended Washington State University, where he studied biochemistry and worked in Bruce McFadden's laboratory, producing an enzyme inhibitor. Realizing he needed a graduate degree, he entered Iowa State University. In Jack Horowitz's lab, Gollnick worked on nucleic acids and tRNA. Next, Gollnick did postdoc work in Charles Yanofsky's lab. Four years later, with Yanofsky's permission and with TRAP (trp RNA-attenuation protein) in hand, Gollnick applied for faculty positions. He accepted an assistant professorship at SUNY Buffalo, where he is now an associate professor. Gollnick continues his study of TRAP in B. subtilis.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0443
No. of pages: 107
Minutes: 340

Interview Sessions

Andrea R. Maestrejuan
12-14 October 1998
The State University of New York, Buffalo, Buffalo, New York

Abstract of Interview

Paul D. Gollnick was born and mostly raised in Pullman, Washington. For one year when he was about 10 (or else in eighth grade) he and his family lived in Stockholm, Sweden, where his father was on sabbatical. Because his father was a scientist, an exercise physiologist, Paul was, from a young age, disposed to enter science himself. Reinforcing that desire were hours spent helping his father in his father's lab, and a high-school chemistry teacher who also inspired him. Paul's mother was a musician and music teacher but was unable to interest any of her children in music. Paul was not adept at most sports, he says, but he did take up and continues to enjoy golf. When he was deciding about college, he had to stay in state for financial reasons; he chose Washington State because he believed they had better science programs. He decided to major in biochemistry because he had discovered an interest in biology as well as chemistry and thought that biochemistry nicely combined the two. Biochemistry majors were new around the country at that time, so he felt also that the field would be dynamic and exciting. As an undergraduate he worked in Bruce McFadden's laboratory, producing an enzyme inhibitor. Realizing that working in pure science would require a graduate degree, he entered Iowa State University. At Iowa State Gollnick had hoped to work with Stanley Cox, who was studying gene expression in HeLa cells, but Cox was not headed for tenure, so Gollnick ended up working for Jack Horowitz. In Horowitz's lab Gollnick worked on nucleic acids and tRNA. Though he was frustrated at having to use the old-fashioned nuclear magnetic resonance technique because Horowitz had declared, "No recombinant DNA in my centrifuge," Gollnick says that, "in retrospect it was fine." While at Iowa State Gollnick met and married Sandra Oppel, a classmate. Together they went to Stanford, where for four years, Gollnick did postdoc work in Charles Yanofsky's lab and Sandra worked for DNAX. Gollnick's research was going nowhere, so when she left the lab, Mitzi Yukoda gave Gollnick her work on subcloning and sequencing mtrb. With Yanofsky's permission and with TRAP (trp RNA-attenuation protein) in hand, Gollnick applied for faculty positions. He accepted an assistant professorship at SUNY Buffalo, and his wife was able to find a job at Roswell Park Cancer Center. Gollnick continues his study of TRAP in B. subtilis and his collaborative work with Robert S. Phillips on tryptophanase. He has since become an associate professor and received tenure. Gollnick teaches a great deal and likes it very much. He also continues to publish and to work occasionally at the bench.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1981 Washington State University BS
1986 Iowa State University PhD

Professional Experience

Stanford University

1986 to 1990
Postdoctoral Fellow

The State University of New York, Buffalo

1990 to 1996
Assistant Professor
1996
Associate Professor

Honors

Year(s) Award
1986 to 1989

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship

1990

American Heart Society Postdoctoral Fellowship

1993 to 1997

Pew Scholarship in the Biomedical Sciences

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Family background. His father's scientific research. An influential high school chemistry teacher. Learning scientific principles from his father. Early schooling in Pullman, Washington. Interest in golf. Religious background.

College Years
18

Decision to attend Washington State University (WSU) and major in biochemistry. The biochemistry program at WSU. Gollnick's coursework. Producing an enzyme inhibitor in the Bruce A. McFadden lab.

Graduate and Postgraduate Years
36

Choosing a graduate school--Enters the Jack Horowitz lab at Iowa State University. Teamwork in science. The rewards of a career in science. Gollnick's first publication. His frustration at not being allowed to use the latest scientific techniques in the Horowitz lab. Meets his future wife, Sandra Oppel, at Iowa State. Enters the Charles Yanofsky lab at Stanford. Spends several years in Yanofsky's lab looking for a nonexistent repressor protein. Assumes mtrb subcloning and sequencing project begun by Mitzi Kuroda.

Faculty Years
61

Interviewing for faculty positions. Accepts assistant professor position at State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. Balancing the goals of a two-career couple. Gollnick arranges to take research with him when he leaves the Yanofsky lab. His relationship with Yanofsky. Gollnick' s reasons for pursuing the RNA-binding protein project in B. subtilis. Competition andcooperation between Gollnick and Yanofsky on TRAP. Gollnick lab's future projects. Funding Gollnick's collaboration with Robert S. Phillips on the enzymology of tryptophanase. Collaborating with Tatyana V. Demidkina in Russia. Associate professorship and tenure. His teaching responsibilities. Relative importance of teaching and research at SUNY-Buffalo. Role of gender in academic hiring and the selection of lab personnel.

Index
104

About the Interviewer

Andrea R. Maestrejuan