Dean H. Kedes

Born: February 20, 1960 | Stanford, CA, US

Dean H. Kedes' oral history begins with a discussion of his childhood and family life. Heavily influenced by his father, also a biomedical scientist, Kedes developed an interest in science early in life. He chose to attend Stanford University, pursuing a major in biology with the intention of applying to medical school. Coursework and research in the neurobiology laboratory of Eric Shooter, however, increased his interest in pursuing basic science. Kedes decided to undertake a joint MD/PhD program at Yale University. He joined the laboratory of Joan A. Steitz to study pre-mRNA splicing. Upon earning his MD/PhD, Kedes returned to Stanford University to undertake his clinical residency, though he experienced difficulty transitioning between laboratory research and clinical medicine. Kedes built upon his laboratory research with post-doctoral studies in Donald Ganem's laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. There he developed his interests in the molecular biology of infectious diseases including Hepatitis B and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus (KSHV). He then accepted a position at the University of Virginia. During the interview Kedes reflects on the importance of balancing family life with laboratory work; creating a positive atmosphere within the laboratory; the importance of the Pew Biomedical Scholars Award award with respect to scientific funding and collaboration; and funding in the United States more broadly.

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

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0384
No. of pages: 105
Minutes: 327

Interview Sessions

David J. Caruso
25-26 October 2007
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Abstract of Interview

Dean H. Kedes' oral history begins with a discussion of his childhood and family life. Heavily influenced by his father, also a biomedical scientist, Kedes developed an interest in science early in life. He would visit his father's laboratory at Stanford University often and he became aware of its friendly and productive atmosphere. During his youth, he traveled abroad with his family in support of his father's research. Time spent in Italy and England, while also traveling to other parts of Europe, proved enriching. Kedes applied to college while in Europe and he subsequently chose to attend Stanford University. Upon matriculation, though, the ‘living on campus' experience made it seem as if he had gone to school farther away from home than was actually true. Starting from enrollment, Kedes pursued a major in biology with the intention of applying to medical school. His coursework and laboratory research in the neurobiology laboratory of Eric Shooter, however, increased his interest in pursuing basic science as well. Kedes decided to undertake a joint MD/PhD program at Yale University. After an uninspiring first laboratory rotation working on a descriptive Drosophila project, Kedes eventually joined the laboratory of Joan A. Steitz to study pre-mRNA splicing. Upon earning his MD/PhD, Kedes returned to Stanford University to undertake his clinical residency, though he experienced difficulty transitioning between laboratory research and clinical medicine. After completing his residency, Kedes built upon his laboratory research with post-doctoral studies in Donald Ganem's laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. There Kedes developed his interests in the molecular biology of infectious diseases including Hepatitis B and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus (KSHV). Following his successful work with Ganem, Kedes was offered a position at the University of Virginia—a location at which both he and his wife could find work—and began the “thrill and excitement” of running his own laboratory. Throughout the interview Kedes emphasized the importance of balancing family life with laboratory work and creating a positive atmosphere within the laboratory, something that he works hard to maintain at the University of Virginia. Shortly after becoming a principal investigator, Kedes was awarded a Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award and he reflected upon the importance of the award with respect to scientific funding and collaboration. Kedes also discussed funding in the United States more broadly, especially the problem of the attrition of science students due to a lack of funds as well as the national push towards translational research. The interview concluded with Kedes' reflections on the field of biomedical science, on scientific publishing, and on the public perception of science.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1981 Stanford University BSc
1988 Yale University MD
1988 Yale University PhD Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Professional Experience

Stanford University

1988 to 1991
Internship and Residency, Internal Medicine Stanford University

University of California, San Francisco

1991 to 1992
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Associate
1992 to 1993
Infectious Diseases Clinical Fellow
1993 to 1996
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Post-doctoral Physician Scientist
1997 to 1998
Assistant Research Microbiologist

University of Virginia

1999 to 2004
Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Microbiology
1999
Member, University of Virginia Cancer Center
1999
Member, Bernie B. Carter Center for Immunology Research
1999
Member, Myles H. Thaler Center for AIDS and Human Retrovirus Research
2004
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Microbiology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1981

Honors in Biology, Stanford University

1981 to 1988

Medical Scientist Training Program Award (NIH), Yale University

1986

National MD/PhD Program Conference Award

1993 to 1996

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Physician Scientist Award

1996 to 1998

University-wide AIDS Research Program Post-doctoral Award

2000 to 2005

Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Award

2000 to 2004

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

2003 to 2004

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Basic Science Award

2004

Recognition of Excellence as Basic Science Section Leader

2005

Recognition of Excellence as Basic Science Section Leader

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Education
1

Father's biomedical influence. Interest in science. Years spent in Europe. Exposure to laboratory camaraderie.

College Education
8

Applying from Europe. Stanford University. Living on-campus. General requirements. Developmental Biology course. Neurobiology research with Eric Shooter. Interest in medicine and basic science.

MD/PhD Program and Residency
14

Choosing Yale University. Laboratory rotations. Joan A. Steitz and Drosophila research. Exposure to science and medicine in the 1980s. Kaposi's sarcoma. Residency at Stanford University. Difficulty transitioning between clinical medicine and laboratory research.

Post-doctoral Research
31

Donald Ganem's laboratory at University of California, San Francisco. Molecular Biology and Infectious Diseases. Hepatitis B and Kaposi's Sarcoma Associated Herpes Virus research. Family life.

Principal Investigator
50

Looking for jobs with wife Margo Roberts. University of Virginia. Excitement of running the laboratory. MD/PhD Program. Mentoring relationships. Departmental obligations. Medical obligations. Losing science students because of funding difficulties.

Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences
61

Selection process. Funding people versus projects. Collaborations stemming from the award. NIH funding.

Funding
70

Translational Research. Role of MD/PhDs in research.

Biomedical Sciences
79

Definition and role of biomedical science. Patents. Scientific publishing. Public understanding of science. Scientific education. Collaborations.

Index
94

About the Interviewer

David J. Caruso

David J. Caruso earned a BA in the history of science, medicine, and technology from Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and a PhD in science and technology studies from Cornell University in 2008. Caruso is the director of the Center for Oral History at the Science History Institute, president of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and editor for the Oral History Review. In addition to overseeing all oral history research at the Science History Institute, he also holds an annual training institute that focuses on conducting interviews with scientists and engineers, he consults on various oral history projects, like at the San Diego Technology Archives, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching courses on the history of military medicine and technology and on oral history.  His current research interests are the discipline formation of biomedical science in 20th-century America and the organizational structures that have contributed to such formation.