Martyn D. Goulding

Born: April 17, 1958 | Auckland, NZ

Martyn D. Goulding was born in Auckland, New Zealand and attended Auckland University Medical School. His first laboratory experience with Raymond K. Ralph sparked his interest in research and he switched from an MD to a PhD program. In Ralph's lab he studied the role of cyclic AMP in tumor cell growth regulation and c-fos and other oncogenes. Next, he took a postdoc in Peter Gruss's lab at the Max Planck Institute, where he researched PAX genes and their role in notochord development. In 1992 Goulding took faculty positions at University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He now researches spinal chord interneurons and the genes and transcription factors which during development are crucial to the appropriate growth and function of these interneurons.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0452
No. of pages: 100
Minutes: 331

Interview Sessions

Helene L. Cohen
9-11 January 2001
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, California

Abstract of Interview

Martyn D. Goulding was born in 1958 in Auckland, New Zealand; the eldest of five siblings. His father was a blue-collar worker, originally from the Fiji Islands, who would later open his own plumbing manufacturing company. Goulding's mother suffered from increasing disabilities caused by polio during her childhood, and she worked several jobs intermittently. His family attended church regularly, as his maternal grandfather was a church minister; an experience which he credits as one of his most positive influences. Through high school and other influences Goulding came to appreciate science and medicine and decided to apply to medical school. Goulding attended Auckland University Medical School with the original intention of earning an MD degree. His first laboratory experience with Raymond K. Ralph, however, gave him a newfound interest in research and he decided to switch to a PhD program. Goulding stayed on in Ralph's lab studying the role of cyclic AMP in tumor cell growth regulation for which he earned a Bachelor of Science degree; he then did research on c-fos and other oncogenes to earn a PhD He also met and married his wife, Yolanda Leenders, during his time at Auckland University. In 1988 Goulding began as a postdoctoral fellow in Peter Gruss's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, in Göttingen, Germany. During his time in Gruss's Lab, Goulding focused his research on PAX genes and their role in notochord development. He then spent some time in England, where he was a senior research fellow at Guy's Hospital, and spent five months doing research at the University of Nottingham. In 1992 Goulding was appointed Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego and was also appointed Assistant Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California. His current research concentrates on spinal chord interneurons and the genes and transcription factors which during development are crucial to the appropriate growth and function of these interneurons. Throughout his oral history Goulding emphasizes that the goal of any true researcher should be to seek the truth, and cautions against financially motivated research. He has received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant, which he discusses in the oral history.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1982 Auckland University BS
1988 Auckland University PhD

Professional Experience

Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

1988 to 1991
Postdoctoral Fellow

University of London

1991 to 1992
Guy's Hospital, Senior Research Fellow

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

1992
Assistant Professor

University of California, San Diego

1992
Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1993 to 1997

Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant

Table of Contents

Growing Up
1

Family background. Mother's polio. Growing up in New Zealand. Childhood activities. Influence of church. Religion and science. Grandparents. School. Influential teachers. Parental expectations. Applying to medical schools.

Medical and Graduate Education
26

Attends Auckland University Medical School. Works in Raymond K. Ralph's lab. Switches from medicine to science, staying in Ralph's lab. Obtains BS and MS in cell biology. Moving away from home. Social Life. Research on mast cell tumors and cyclic AMP regulated growth in Ralph's lab. PhD research on c-Fos and other oncogenes. Career options. Choosing a postdoctoral lab. Meets and marries his wife, Yolanda Leenders.

Postdoctoral Research
42

Enters Peter Gruss' lab at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. Language barrier. Wife's career. Developmental biology research on PAX-3 Gene. Lab environment and work load. Begins collaborative research with Andrew Lumsden on the role of PAX Genes in notochorddevelopment. Research fellowship at Guy's Hospital in London, England. Applying for jobs. Works for five months at University of Nottingham with Karen Steele. British vs. American academic research.

Life as a Principal Investigator
52

Accepts assistant professorship at Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Funding. Receives Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant. Grant Writing. Teaching responsibilities. Lab make-up. And management. Genderand ethnicity in science. Publication. Administrative responsibilities. Adjusting to principal investigator role. Research on development of spinal cord interneurons. Characterization of developmental PAX genes and transcription factors Evx-1 and En-1. Effects of specific interneuron absence in development. Appeal of developmental biology. Applications of his research. Balancing family and professional responsibilities. Serendipity. Patents. Decline of HIVResearch. Competition and collaboration. Ethical behavior in the lab. Pros and cons of a scientific career. Career goals.

Index
96

About the Interviewer

Helene L. Cohen