Daniel S. Kessler
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Daniel S. Kessler was raised in Binghamton, New York, the youngest of three siblings. His mother was a public school teacher; his father taught at Binghamton University and was a published poet. Much of Kessler's life was spent within an academic world, with undergraduate and graduate student and faculty stopping by his family's home. The family also traveled when Kessler's father was on sabbatical, at one point providing Kessler with the opportunity to attend school in Hawaii, during which time he was exposed to the wonderment of science and, especially, marine biology. His time in public schools in Binghamton was typical, though being involved with the university allowed him access to outlets for his interest in music. Kessler matriculated at Cornell University for his undergraduate degree; it was not until he worked in Stanley A. Zahler's bacterial genetics laboratory that he decided to become a scientist. He then went on the Rockefeller University in New York City, New York, for his graduate studies. At Rockefeller, Kessler worked with James Darnell on interferon signaling proteins (the STATs) identifying the activation of STATs in response to interferons, the STAT complex, and its regulation; during this time he also had the opportunity to learn structural biology at Oxford University in Anthony R. Rees's laboratory as part of a summer exchange program and to attend Ronald McKay's summer course in neurobiology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Following his PhD , Kessler decided to pursue postdoctoral research in developmental biology on the regulation of the mesoderm and endoderm germ layers by the transformation growth factor beta signaling molecule, Vgl, with Douglas A. Melton at Harvard University. He then accepted a faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to work on the control of mesoderm and endoderm germ layer formation, the behavior of nodal signals during different stages of embryogenesis, and the formation of the Spemann organizer. Throughout his oral history interview Kessler discusses issues like scientific funding; the grant-writing process; the role of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award for his work; balancing family and career; his future projects incorporating other model systems into his research strategies for studying endoderm germ layer differentiation and dorsal body axis formation; and the history of science and his research. The interview ends a discussion of what Kessler thinks about being a principal investigator, and concludes with more on his father's career.
|1990||The Rockefeller University||PhD||Molecular Biology|
The Rockefeller University
New York University Medical Center
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
University of Pennsylvania Medical School
|1985 to 1986||
Cornell Tradition Scholar
BS magna cum laude with distinction
Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society
|1986 to 1987||
Society of General Physiologists Scholarship, MBL Embryology Course
|1991 to 1994||
Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship
|1995 to 1998||
University of Pennsylvania-HHMI Scientist Award
|1996 to 1999||
American Digestive Health Foundation, AGA and Schering Plough
|1997 to 2001||
Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant
John Morgan Society
Table of Contents
Growing up in Binghamton, New York. Parents. Siblings. Interest in music. Educational experience in Hawaii. High school in Binghamton, New York. Organic chemistry class at Cornell University. Religion. Work in Stanley A. Zahler's bacterial genetics laboratory.
Rockefeller University. James E. Darnell. Doctoral research identifying the family of interferon signaling proteins (STATs). Oxford University and Anthony R. Rees. Learning structural biology during a summer exchange program. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory summer course in neurobiology taught by Ronald McKay.
Douglas A. Melton. Harvard University. Research in developmental biology on the regulation of the primary germ layers by the transformation growth factor beta signaling molecule, Vgl. Meets and marries his wife. Vg1 in regulating the mesoderm and endoderm germ layers. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Research in developmental biology on the control of mesoderm and endoderm germ layer formation, the behavior of nodal signals during different stages of embryogenesis, and the formation of the Spemann organizer.
Broader applications of science. Serendipity. Teaching responsibilities. Writing journal articles. Funding history. Grant-writing process. Impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award on Kessler's work. Balancing family and career. Leisure activities. Incorporation of other model systems into his research strategies for studying endoderm germ layer differentiation and dorsal body axis formation. Tenure at the University of Pennsylvania.
Creative ideas. The history of science. Competition and collaboration in research. Prioritizing research projects. The national scientific agenda. Improving public knowledge about science. Privatization of research. His father's career.