Kevan M. Shokat
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Kevan M. Shokat was born in Boulder City, Nevada, but raised (mostly) in the San Francisco Bay Area in Albany, California (except for a year in Iran), the older—by twelve years—of two brothers. His parents were both active politically, participating in anti-war movements and in anti-shah movements during the 1970s that culminated in the Iranian Revolution of 1979; they started their own copying and commercial printing business, but after some time moved into print brokering, his mother taking a position at Charles Schwab. As a child Shokat enjoyed playing sports, especially baseball and track; he excelled in high school and worked with his parents in the family business.
While his high school was vocationally-minded, a guidance counselor suggested that Shokat apply to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, which he did and subsequently attended. He majored in chemistry and enjoyed lectures offered by Thomas G. Dunne, Phyllis Cozen, and Nick G. Galaktos; he completed his thesis with Ronald W. McClard on phosphorous chemistry, making inhibitors of enzymes, and doing enzyme kinetics and nucleotide metabolism. He was unsure of the kind of graduate program that he wanted to attend so he sent applications both to PhD programs and MD/PhD programs, settling on pursuing his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley he worked with Peter G. Schultz in biological chemistry in antibody catalysis, and from there went on to a postdoctoral fellowship in immunology with Christopher C. Goodnow at Stanford University. He then accepted a position at Princeton University, during which time he received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award and he worked on biochemistry and immunology research in kinase-mediated cell signaling pathways. He left Princeton for a position at the University of California, San Francisco, undertaking chemical genetic research on kinases and their substrates.
At the end of the interview Shokat talks about his future research on chemical genetics and protein kinases in cell signaling pathways; the practical applications of his research; collaboration and competition in science; and his laboratory management style. He also discusses the process of writing journal articles; the issue of patents; the national scientific agenda; the grant-writing process; the privatization of scientific research; educating the public about science; and the importance of students and family in doing science.
|1991||University of California, Berkeley||PhD||Chemistry|
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, San Francisco
University of California, San Diego
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Phi Beta Kappa, Reed College
|1986 to 1987||
UC Berkeley Regents Fellowship
|1989 to 1990||
UC Berkeley University Fellowship
|1992 to 1994||
Life Sciences Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow
|1995 to 1997||
NSF Early Career Development Award
|1996 to 2000||
Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Grant
|1997 to 2000||
|1997 to 2000||
|1997 to 1998||
Glaxo-Wellcome Scholar in Organic Chemistry
|1999 to 2001||
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow
Protein Society Young Investigator
Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry
Thomas Edison Patent Award
Table of Contents
Family background. Parents. Childhood experiences. Overthrow of the Shah of Iran. Brother. Early schooling. Interests. Junior and high school in Albany, California.
Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Influential teachers. College experiences. Religion. Meets future wife. Extracurricular activities. Reasons for pursuing chemistry. Graduate school at University of California, Berkeley, in Peter G. Schultz's laboratory. Doctoral research in biological chemistry on antibody catalysis.
Postdoctoral fellowship with Christopher C. Goodnow at Stanford University. Goodnow's mentoring style. Balancing family and career. Postdoctoral work in immunology. His wife's career. Accepts a position at Princeton University. Setting up his laboratory. The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
Biochemistry and immunology research in kinase-mediated cell signaling pathways at Princeton University. Decides to move to University of California, San Francisco. Tenure at Princeton University. Chemical genetic research on kinases and their substrates. Future in chemical genetics on the protein kinases in cell signaling pathways. Practical applications of his research. Collaboration and competition in science.
Laboratory management style. Writing journal articles. Advice to young investigators. Patents. Funding history. The national scientific agenda. The grant-writing process. Privatization of scientific research. Educating the public about science. Gender issues in science. Pivotal moment in his career. Importance of students and family in doing science.