David Ron

Born: September 29, 1955 | Ein-Carmel, IL

David Ron was born in a kibbutz near Haifa, Israel. During medical school he spent a summer working in Avraham Hershko's lab, and at Hammersmith Hospital in London, where he did rotations in endocrinology, neurology, and hematology. After a year at the Technion he entered the army for five years. He was a medic assigned to the Golan Heights during a war with Lebanon; soldiers there suffered crash injuries, and Ron published a paper on forced bicarbonate infusion as a treatment for renal failure. During a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Ron became interested in genetic regulation of responses to stresses on the endoplasmic reticulum. Ron is now an assistant professor at the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, where he researches CHOP and the IRE-1beta gene. 

Access This Interview

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

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0630
No. of pages: 96
Minutes: 450

Interview Sessions

Andrea R. Maestrejuan
7-9 December 1998
New York University Medical Center, New York, New York

Abstract of Interview

David Ron was born in Ein Carmel, a kibbutz near Haifa, Israel. The kibbutz provided room and board for the family while Ron's parents were studying at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, his mother chemistry and his father physics. While Ron was still a young child, his parents joined the faculty at the Technion, and the family moved to Haifa, where David mostly grew up. When he was about six his parents took postdocs, and the family, now including David and two sisters, moved to Princeton University. After two years there they spent a year at University of California, San Diego, and then went back to the Technion. When David was in junior high school the family again spent a year in the United States, this time at the University of California, Los Angeles. David chose the mathematics-chemistry-physics track in high school, the most difficult. School was intended to be "a grind"; learning was not an end in itself, simply a means. Family dinner discussions centered on politics; David says there was not much "fun stuff" in his household. He liked to read, especially history; he was not much interested in sports. The family was strongly atheistic, despite the extreme Orthodoxy and Zionism that brought many of his ancestors to Israel from mostly Eastern Europe, so David was not even Bar Mitzvah. After finishing high school at seventeen, David entered medical school. He had to make an arrangement with the army to do his compulsory service after college; this meant promising summer boot camps and five years of service after graduation. He spent part of his third summer working in Avraham Hershko's lab, where he learned about protein degradation. The experience discouraged him from bench science; and he spent the following summers at Hammersmith Hospital in London, where he did rotations in endocrinology, neurology, and hematology. He returned to the Technion for a year, after which he went into the army for five years. He was a medic assigned to the Golan Heights during a war with Lebanon; soldiers there suffered crash injuries, and Ron published a paper on forced bicarbonate infusion as a treatment for renal failure. He then did his residency in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and decided he wanted to do bench science as well. He chose endocrinology because it afforded him more time for the bench. He accepted a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, working in Joel Habener's lab. There Ron became interested in possible genetic regulation of responses to stresses on the endoplasmic reticulum. He has discovered that CHOP (CIEBP homologous protein), which can be a marker of endoplasmic reticulum stresses, is induced in some disease states, like Crohn's disease. He is trying to discover where that information leads him. Ron accepted an assistant professorship at the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine at New York University, where he continues his research into CHOP and the IRE-1beta gene. He has won a number of awards, including the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award and an award from the Leukemia Society of America. He and his wife, who is also a scientist and who works at the Population Center, have found a way to balance their professional lives with their life at home with their son. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
Technion University, Israel Institute of Technology MD

Professional Experience

Massachusetts General Hospital

1987 to 1991
Endocrine Fellow, Department of Medicine

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

1988 to 1992
Research Associate

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

1984 to 1987
Residency, Internal Medicine

New York University Medical Center

1992 to 1996
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine and Department of Cell Biology
1996 to 1999
Associate Professor

Honors

Year(s) Award
1993 to 1997

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

1996

Stephen Birnbaum Scholar of the Leukemia Society of America

1998

American Society of Clinical Investigation Membership

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Born in Ein Carmel, kibbutz near Haifa, Israel. Grew up mostly in Haifa. Parents professors at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Two younger sisters who also have PhD's in science. Parents' postdocs at Princeton University, University of California, San Diego, and University of California, Los Angeles. Disruption of his education. Politics at the dinner table.

College Years
12

Entering medical school from high school. Postponing compulsory army service. Summer training as medic. Avraham Hershko's lab. Hammersmith Hospital in London, England. Interest in endocrinology. Rambam Hospital.

Army Years
47

Five-year commitment. Deployed to Golan Heights. War in Lebanon. Studying crash injuries. Article about forced bicarbonate infusion to treat renal failure. First marriage.

Postgraduate Years
53

Residency in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Divorce. All clinical work. Learned a lot about clinical practice and management. Decides to be scientist as well.

Second Residency
62

Accepts residency in endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Works in Joel Habener's lab. Discovers CHOP and IRE-1. Marries French Roman Catholic woman, also a PhD scientist. One son.

Faculty Years
67

Assistant professorship at Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine at New York University. Wife's work at Population Center. Balancing family and professional life. Lab makeup and management. Gender issues in science. Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award. Continuing work on endoplasmicreticulum.

Index
93

About the Interviewer

Andrea R. Maestrejuan