Antony Rosen

Born: March 29, 1961 | Cape Town, ZA

Antony Rosen grew up in South Africa. He was not especially inspired by school until he got to medical school, which, in South Africa, begins right after high school. He did a rotating internship and studied for a year in Capetown with Wieland Gevers. His PhD application was rejected by the authorities in South Africa, so he accepted a postdoc in the Alan A. Aderem lab at Rockefeller University. Interested in returning to clinical medicine, he secured an Osler residency and rheumatology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He soon accepted a faculty position and established his own lab. Rosen's current research centers on apoptosis. He discusses practical applications of his work,  views on patents, competition and collaboration in science, and the origin of his ideas. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0535
No. of pages: 91
Minutes: 400

Interview Sessions

Helene L. Cohen
28-30 November 2000
John Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Abstract of Interview

Antony Rosen grew up in South Africa, the middle child of three. His great-grandparents had migrated there from Russia, but after a couple of generations most of the family had moved on, many settling in the United States. Rosen's father had studied history but sold insurance; his mother was a chemist until she had children. Parental expectations were high (all three children have advanced degrees). Rosen could not avoid experiencing South African apartheid, one result of which was that he attended a Jewish school. He loved the music and liturgy of the Jewish services and went to synagogue every morning; he sang in the boys' choir and led high-holy-day services. For Rosen, science and religion are fundamentally intertwined. Rosen did well in all his high school classwork, but he loved math most. He was not especially inspired until he got to medical school, which, in South Africa, begins right after high school. His teachers influenced his career choice and his coursework in medical school. After finishing medical school he did a rotating internship and then studied for a year in Capetown, South Africa, with Wieland Gevers. Rather than entering military service, he chose to pursue a PhD His PhD application was rejected by the authorities in South Africa, so he accepted a postdoc in the Alan A. Aderem lab at Rockefeller University, though neglected to make living arrangements before he arrived. Rosen adjusted to work in the Aderem lab and to life in New York City, soon meeting Livia A. Casciola, his future wife, who was in Baltimore on a postdoc. He was interested in returning to clinical medicine so he secured an Osler residency and rheumatology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and he and Livia were able to marry. She then converted to Judaism and they had another ceremony. Rosen decided to specialize in rheumatology; he accepted a faculty position, and he established his own lab at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center (JHUMC). Throughout the interview Rosen discussed his definition of science; how his brother, Hugh Rosen, influenced his medical school career; the limits of technological expertise in medical science; gender inequality at JHUMC and in science generally; and ethnic and racial issues. He also described his collaboration with his wife in establishing his lab; the meaning of tenure at JHUMC; his funding history and funding in general; the impact of private philanthropy on his lab and research; his teaching, clinical, and administrative responsibilities; the process of writing journal articles; and his lab management style. Rosen's current research centers on apoptosis, and he tells how he became interested in it. He explains what he thinks may be practical applications of his work, and explicates his views on patents; competition and collaboration in science; and the origin of his ideas. He explains how he tries to balance family and career in his typical workday and talks about his interest in food and cooking. He concludes by assessing his professional and personal achievements and goals and discussing his future research plans. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1984 University of Cape Town MB, ChB Medicine
1986 University of Cape Town BSc Medical Biochemistry

Professional Experience

Groote Schuur Hospital

1985
Intern, Departments of Medicine and Surgery

University of Cape Town

1986
Research Associate, Department of Chemical Pathology

The Rockefeller University

1987 to 1990
Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

1990 to 1991
Intern and Resident, Department of Medicine
1992 to 1993
Fellow, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology
1993 to 1994
Instructor
1994 to 1998
Assistant Professor
1998 to 2001
Associate Professor
1998 to 2001
Associate Professor of Pathology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1988 to 1990

Cancer Research Institute/Susan B. and Richard L. Ernst Foundation Fellowship

1993 to 1995

American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant

1995 to 1999

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

1999 to 2004

Burroughs-Wellcome Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research

Table of Contents

Childhood and Education in South Africa
1

Family background. Parental expectations. South African apartheid. Early schooling. Religion. Childhood interests. Classwork in junior and high school. Medical school. Influential teachers. Coursework in medical school. Decision to leave South Africa to pursue a Ph.D. Joining the Alan A. Aderem lab at Rochester University. Wieland Gevers. Arriving in the U. S.

Postdoctorate and Residency
25

Early work in the Aderem lab. Life in New York City. Meets Livia A. Casciola-Rosen, his future wife. Interest in returning to clinical medicine. Secures a residency at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Decides to specialize in rheumatology. Establishes his own lab at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center (JHUMC).

Work at Johns Hopkins
35

Hugh Rosen (brother) influences medical school career. Limits of technological expertise in medical science. Gender at JHUMC. Collaboration with his wife in establishing his lab. Tenure at JHUMC. Funding. Private philanthropy. Teaching responsibilities. Writing journal articles. Lab management style. Clinical and administrative responsibilities. Balancing family and career. Typical workday. Interest in food and cooking.

Discussion of Contemporary Issues and Current Research
63

Use of TV and the Internet. Genesis of his research on apoptosis. Possible applications of his research. Patents. Competition and collaboration in science. Proper overseers of scientific research agendas. Professional and personal achievements. Future research plans.

Index
89

About the Interviewer

Helene L. Cohen