The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Erin M. Schuman was born in San Gabriel, California, though spent most of her childhood in Huntington Beach, the oldest of three siblings; her mother was a teacher at a Catholic school. She was a "serial hobbyist" with interests in painting, softball, dancing, and reading and she attended Catholic schools from the time she was a teenager. Schuman matriculated at the University of Southern California (USC), initially interested in pursuing law and deciding to major in political science, but ultimately switching her major to psychology. She worked regularly as an undergraduate, including stints as a waitress, though found the time to complete an honors thesis with Laura Baker studying memory in twins. She decided to go to graduate school for her doctoral studies, having to choose between the University of California, Irvine and Princeton University, ultimately selecting the latter because of Joseph Farley's work on learning in memory using invertebrate systems. She followed Farley to Indiana University when he left, though returned to Princeton to complete her thesis in Gregory A. Clark's lab. She then accepted a postdoctoral position at the Daniel V. Madison laboratory at Stanford University studying long-term neuronal potentiation, culminating in a series of papers on synaptic transmission (two of which appeared in Science). From there Schuman accepted a position at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), studying decentralized production of proteins at the dendrites and, more recently, synaptic feedback mechanisms and cadherins, and having the opportunity to collaborate with Masatoshi Takeichi and Norman A. Davidson. The interview concludes with Schuman discussing the advantages and disadvantages of competition in science; the issue of accountability to those who fund scientific research; sexism; the article-writing process; co-teaching courses with her husband, Gilles Jean Laurent; and balancing family and career.
|1985||University of Southern California||BA||Psychology|
California Institute of Technology
University of California, Los Angeles
|1994 to 1996||
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow
|1994 to 1998||
John Merck Scholar
|1995 to 1999||
Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
American Association of University Women Emerging Scholar
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Assistant Investigator
Table of Contents
Family background. Early schooling and interests. Mother's career as a teacher. Siblings. Influential teachers. Attends University of Southern California (USC). Stepfather. Religion. Roommates while attending USC. Memorable classes. Changes major to psychology. Undertakes a study on memory in twins. Works in Laura Baker's lab as an undergraduate-. Interest in New Wave music. Stint as a waitress. Parents' divorce. Influential college teachers.
Pursues graduate research at Princeton University. Social life at Princeton. Enters the Joseph Farley laboratory. Project on Hermissenda crassicornus. Summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory. Returns to Princeton to finish her Ph.D. Attends a Gordon Research Conference. Completion of her doctoral thesis. Postdoc position at the Daniel V. Madison laboratory at Stanford University. Working in the Madison laboratory. Studies long-term neuronal Potentiation. Series of papers on synaptic transmission via nitric oxide.
Job talk for a position at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Accepts a principal investigator (PI) position at Caltech. Opts to remain at the Madison laboratory for one more year. An interesting finding in Hermissenda crassicornus during her postdoc at Princeton. Reaction to having two papers published in Science. Reasons for declining a prestigious award. Tenure process at Caltech. Style of conducting science. Study of decentralized production of proteins at the dendrites. Recent work on synaptic feedback mechanisms and cadherins. Masatoshi Takeichiand cadherin research. Collaboration with Norman A. Davidson. Current and future research using electrophysiology and green fluorescent protein. Sexism and science.
Setting up her laboratory at Caltech. Laboratory management style. Article-writing process. Administrative duties. Typical workday. Teaching responsibilities. Co-teaching courses with her husband, Gilles Jean Laurent. Laboratory's personnel. Balancing family and career. Her daughter. Division of household tasks. Leisure activities.