The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Kuo-Fen Lee was raised in Kaohsing, Taiwan where he (the youngest) and his four siblings helped his single mother run a restaurant. Lee had what he considers a normal childhood; in terms of parental expectations, all Lee's mother wanted was for her sons to attend university. Lee and his brothers all tutored other students throughout their childhood and so doing well on the national exams was not a great challenge for Lee. He attended the National Taiwan University and developed an interest in molecular biology after taking a virology course and working in plant virology. Lee then pursued a master's degree in molecular biology form National Yang-Ming Medical College where he researched cell-surface glycoprotein antigens in hepatoma. Wanting to continue his education, he decided to pursue his doctoral degree at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, which served as his first introduction to the experience of American culture. While at Baylor, he chose to research gene regulation using transgenic technology and steroid hormone peptides in Jeffrey M. Rosen's lab. Lee then moved to a postdoctoral position at the Whitehead Institute for Biological Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He worked on crafting a genetic knockout mouse to study neural crest cell migration during development in the Rudolf Jaenisch lab and, while there, he published in Cell, Science, and Nature. After meeting Story C. Landis and Wylie Vale and attending a Gordon Research Conference on hormone action, Lee accepted a position at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, focusing his research on neurobiological development, synapse function, and glial cell function. The interview concludes with a discussion of Lee's interest in comparing the histories of Chinese and Western science, his professional and academic duties, and his family.
|National Taiwan University||Plant Pathology|
|National Yang-Ming Medical College||MS||Cancer Enzymology and Cell Differentiation|
|Baylor College of Medicine||PhD||Endocrinology|
Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
|1997 to 2001||
Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Science Grant, Society for Neuroscience, and the American Society for Advancement of Science
Table of Contents
Family background. Growing up in Taiwan. Parental expectations. Siblings. Religion. Educational system in Taiwan. Middle school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Interest in journalism. The political situation in Taiwan. The college entrance system in Taiwan. Attends the National Taiwan University.
Becomes interested in molecular biology. Work in plant virology. Master's degree in molecular biology from National Yang-Ming Medical College. Thesis research on cell-surface glycoprotein antigens in hepatoma. Graduate school at Baylor College of Medicine. American culture. Jeffrey M. Rosen. Doctoralresearch in gene regulation using transgenic technology and steroid hormone peptides.
Postdoctoral fellowship in Rudolf Jaenisch's laboratory at the Whitehead Institute. Development of a genetic knockout mouse to study neural crest cell migration. Story C. Landis. Gordon Conference on hormone action. Wylie Vale. Accepts a position at Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Meets and marries wife. Hischildren. Tenure at the Salk Institute. Research in neurobiology development on synapse formation and glial cell function.
Creativity in research. Comparing the histories of Chinese and Western science. Administrative duties. Teaching responsibilities. Balancing family and career. Writing journal articles. Competition and collaboration in science. The national scientific agenda. The scientist's role in improving science literacy among the public.