Roberta A. Sanchez Gottlieb

Born: February 15, 1958 | Albuquerque, NM, US
Photograph of Roberta A. Sanchez Gottlieb

Roberta A. Sanchez Gottlieb grew up on a cattle ranch near Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was heavily influenced by her parents who valued education and curiosity, and had several influential teachers in school who contributed to her intellectual development. Gottlieb matriculated at Bryn Mawr College, but almost immediately transferred to Johns Hopkins University, where she undertook biophysical research with Michael Beers, focusing on electron microscopy and developed an interest in microtubule assembly, She stayed at Johns Hopkins for medical school and completed her residency at University of Texas Health Science, focusing on pediatrics and hematology-oncology. She also worked with Steven Buescher on neutrophils in the department of infectious diseases. After two postdocs, she moved to a position at Scripps Research Institute.

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0592
No. of pages: 100
Minutes: 291

Interview Sessions

William Van Benschoten
10, 13 October 2003
Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California

Abstract of Interview

Roberta A. Sanchez Gottlieb grew up on a cattle ranch about eighty miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, the youngest of three sisters, though, given the disparity in ages (five and six years older), she felt like she was raised as an only child, receiving so much attention from her parents. Her father was a uranium miner before becoming a rancher; her mother a schoolteacher before having children (becoming a substitute teacher thereafter). She was heavily influenced by her parents who valued education and curiosity, and had several influential teachers in school who contributed to her intellectual development. The family's religion also played an important role in her life. After graduating from high school as valedictorian, Gottlieb matriculated at Bryn Mawr College. Almost immediately upon entering, however, she decided that she wanted to undertake more rigorous scientific research and so she transferred (after one semester) to Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore also provided her the opportunity to continue her study of music at the Peabody Institute with Walter Hautzig. While an undergraduate Gottlieb undertook biophysical research with Michael Beers, focusing on electron microscopy. Based on this experience she developed an interest in microtubule assembly, leading her to work with Douglas B. Murphy during her junior year. Though music was certainly a profound part of Gottlieb's life, she decided to attend the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for her medical degree, conducting research on the MAP-2 protein. Marrying during medical school presented Gottlieb with the "two-body problem" for her residency (her husband was also a physician). They chose the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, where she completed a residency in pediatrics and a hematology-oncology fellowship under William J. Lennarz and Eugenie S. Kleinerman on immune response and protein kinase C inhibition; she also worked with Steven Buescher on neutrophils in the department of infectious diseases. After residency Gottlieb began a postdoctoral position with Michael Karin in molecular biology at the University of California, San Diego and subsequently took another postdoctorate with Bernard M. Babior, where she was able to indulge her interest in apoptosis. She then moved on to a position at the Scripps Research Institute. The interview ends with Gottlieb's thoughts on the broader applications of her work; creativity in science; her future research in myocardial ischemia; the issue of patents and the privatization of research; the role of the scientist in public policy and education; gender issues in science; and balancing family life with work. She concludes the interview by elaborating on the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences for her work and improving the quality of science.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1980 Johns Hopkins University BA
1984 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine MD

Professional Experience

University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine

1990 to 1992
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacology
1997
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Scripps Research Institute

1993 to 1994
Division of Biochemistry, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
1994 to 1995
Division of Biochemistry, Senior Research Associate, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
1995 to 1996
Division of Biochemistry, Assistant Member, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
1997 to 1998
Division of Biochemistry, Associate Member, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
1999
Division of Biochemistry, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine

US Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center

1994
San Diego, Research Biochemist

Honors

Year(s) Award
1990

Fellowship, Cancer Research Foundation of America

1991 to 1993

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Physician Postdoctoral Fellowship

1994 to 1995

American Heart Association Minority Scientist Development Award

1996 to 1998

National Institutes of Health Clinical Investigator Award

1997 to 1999

American Society for Hematology Junior Faculty Scholar Award

1997 to 2001

Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant

Table of Contents

Childhood and Bryn Mawr
1

Growing up in New Mexico. Family background. Parents. Sisters. Interest in music. Childhood experiences. Early schooling. Influential teachers. Junior and high school activities. Parental expectations. Religion. Freshman year at Bryn Mawr College.

Johns Hopkins, Medical School, and Research
17

Transfers to Johns Hopkins University. College experiences. Extracurricular activities in music. Works in Michael Beers's biophysics laboratory during sophomore year. Studies microtubule assembly with Douglas B. Murphys in her junior year. Decision to pursue science rather than music. Murphy's mentoring style. Meets her future husband. Decides to attend medical school at JohnsHopkins University. Writing journal articles. Residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Research in hematology-oncology with William J. Lennarzand Eugenie S Kleinerman. Lennarz's mentoring style.

Postdoctoral Work and Starting at Scripps
32

Kleinerman's mentoring style. Research in the Lennarz and Kleinerman laboratories on immune response and protein kinase C inhibition. Postdoctoral research in molecular biology with Michael Karin at the University of California, San Diego. Karin's laboratory management style. Competition in science. Second postdoctoral fellowship in Bernard M. Babior's laboratory working onapoptosis in neutrophils. Children. Balancing family and career. Funding history. Collaboration with Robert L. Engler on apoptosis in cardiac cells. Position at Scripps Research Institute. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

Current Research and the Scientific Life
48

Current research on cardiac apoptosis after ischemic and reperfusion injury. Setting up her laboratory. Broader applications of her work. Role in the laboratory. Grant-writing process. Teaching responsibilities. Administrative duties. Laboratory management style. Creativity in science. Professional responsibilities. Leisure activities. Future research in myocardial ischemia. Reasons for becoming a principal investigator. Patents. Privatization of research.

Life at Scripps
76

Tenure at ScrippsResearch Institute. Competition and collaboration in science. Criteria for prioritizing projects. Role of the scientist in public policy and education. Experimenting on living animals. Gender. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Improving the quality of science.

Index
97

About the Interviewer

William Van Benschoten