Eric G. Pamer
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Eric G. Pamer was born in Los Angeles, California, where he spent his first several years. His father, who came from Austria, was an engineer with Cleveland Crane; he was transferred to Luxembourg to open a company branch, and the family stayed there for five or six years. Then they returned to Cleveland, Ohio, where Pamer senior became president of Cleveland Crane. Eric's mother had come from Russia and ended up in Los Angeles, where she met and married Eric's father. Eric has a younger sister as well, who has ended up living in Hamburg, Germany. Eric started first grade in Luxembourg in an international school; Eric's classes were in German, but he also studied French, and the family spoke English at home. Just before sixth grade the Pamers returned to Cleveland. Junior high school did not have good teachers or classes and was, in fact, dangerous. High school was better; there Eric had John Hurst as a biology teacher as well as cross-country and track coach. Eric had always liked nature and ecology, and he became very interested in biology. He loved collecting and cataloguing; eventually he studied daphnia as his senior project. He also loved to take long bike rides. Eric completed his BA in biology at Case Western Reserve University, initially studying hydra in Georgia Lesh's lab and working summers at the Cleveland Clinic. Deciding he wanted to go to medical school, he became a good student and finished in three years. He worked on hydra in Georgia Lesh's lab and worked summers at the Cleveland Clinic. He spent a month in Europe, liking it so much he worked as a technician for a year to earn money to travel around the world. He applied to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and, granted deferment, he spent a year traveling around the world. When he entered medical school he began in Abdel Mahmoud's lab, working on immune defense against schistosomiasis. During his fourth year he spent three months working in a Kenyan hospital. His surgery internship was at University of California at San Diego; he switched to medicine, first as an intern, then as a resident, and finally as chief resident. During this time he met and married his wife, Wendy, and they began their family. Next came three fellowship years in Charles Davis' lab at UCSD. During his first year Pamer worked on African sleeping sickness. He became interested in the study of infectious disease and immunology. He moved his cysteine protease research to Magdalene So's lab at Scripps Research Institute when Davis' lab became too small. From there he and his family moved to Seattle so that he could work on immunity in Listeria in Michael Bevan's lab. After two years and a strong paper, Pamer was offered an assistant professorship at Yale University; he has been there since. He is, however, about to move to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he wants to build up the infectious disease service. His own work continues to be the study of the interface between the immune system and microbes. His lab has mice whose response to Listeria has been to build immunity rapidly and completely; Pamer wants to study how to use that response in humans to protect such diseases as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. Pamer has had a number of grants and published many papers. He teaches; he has some administrative duties; he manages his medium-sized lab; he is attending physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital two months each year; he continues to publish; he is preparing to move himself and his lab to New York City. Most important, he attempts to balance all this with his life with his wife and two children. If he could not be a scientist he would travel and write books about his experiences.
|1977||Case Western Reserve University||BA|
|1982||Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine||MD|
University of California, San Diego
The Scripps Research Center
University of Washington
National Institutes of Health, Clinical Investigator Award
Arthritis Investigator Award
Smith-Kline Beecham Young Investigator Award
|1994 to 1998||
Pew Scholar Award in the Biomedical Sciences
American Society for Clinical Investigation
Table of Contents
Parents' immigration to United States. First years in Los Angeles. Move to Luxembourg. Return to Cleveland, Ohio. Junior high school violence. High school biology class. Cross country and track teams. Biking along country roads. Developing interest in biology.
Naïve about colleges and application. Matriculated at Case Western Reserve University. Majors in biology, minors in philosophy. Worked in Georgia Lesh's lab. Decided to go to medical school. Summers working in the Cleveland Clinic. Became very good student. Finished in three years.
Worked for a year as technician. Earned money to travel around the world for a year. Accepted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine but deferred for a year.
Pass/fail made medical school fun. Worked on schistosomiasis in Abdel Mahmoud's lab. Worked in Kenyan hospital for three months in last year. Senior thesis.
Accepts surgical residency at University of California, San Diego. Spends next year in medical residency at UCSD. Becomes chief resident. Meets and marries wife, Wendy. Accepts fellowship in Charles Davis' lab. Interested in African sleeping sickness. Begins studying ubiquitin; switches to cysteine protease. Moves to Madeleine So's lab at Scripps Research Institute. Accepts postdoc in Michael Bevan's lab in Seattle, Washington. Studies immunity in Listeria.
Accepts assistant professorship at Yale University. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award. Arthritis Foundation grant. Infectious Disease Society of America grant. NIH grant. Managing his lab. Teaching. Administrative duties. Tenure. Attending physician. Competition and collaboration. Ethics. Patents. Goals. Balancing work with family life.
Has accepted job as new head of infectious disease department atSloan-Kettering. Process of moving lab and home. Expects more administrative and clinical work. Hopes to rebuild department with excellent faculty and researchers. Hopes to learn mechanism of immune response studying T-cell population in people who have had bone-marrow transplants.