Martin D. Snider
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Martin Snider grew up mostly on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, later moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then to Newton, Massachusetts. His father was an academic physician, and Snider and his two siblings all ended up in academics too. A National Science Foundation summer program at Brown University convinced him to matriculate there.
At Brown, Snider worked with Joseph Steim, a biophysical chemist interested in the functionality of membranes. Snider feels that Brown, with its emphasis on undergraduates, gave him an excellent education. Encouraged by Joan Lusk, Snider entered Eugene Kennedy’s lab at Harvard University. Working with membrane proteins, as well as Kennedy, was difficult but he became Snider’s most important influence. Because his wife was at Harvard Medical School, Snider chose to do postdoctoral work at MIT. There he began his research into glycoprotein synthesis in the lab of Phillips Robbins. Snider was glad to leave the high-stress competition to accept a staff associate position at Carnegie Institution for Science, which he says was the nicest place he has ever worked. Funding and lack of distractions allowed Snider to concentrate on new research into vesicular traffic, and he was very productive.
When it was time for Snider and his wife, who is a neuropharmacologist, to establish their own labs, they found job-hunting to be most productive in medical schools in small cities. Ultimately they settled on Case Western Reserve University for both of them. Snider has continued his vesicular traffic work, but he has also returned to glycoprotein synthesis, where he says he has new tools to address old problems. He talks about his colleagues with similar interests; the size and composition of his lab; oral tradition in labs; and his own distinctive lab management. He has the additional responsibilities of grant-writing, reviewing papers, and teaching, leaving him perhaps half time in his lab.
|1978||Harvard University||PhD||Medical Sciences/Biological Chemistry|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Carnegie Institution of Washington
Case Western Reserve University
|1973 to 1976||
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship
|1978 to 1981||
National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
|1986 to 1990||
Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences Award
Table of Contents
Grows up on south side of Chicago, Illinois, one of three children. Father academic physician; siblings also academics. Attends University of Chicago Laboratory School until high school; then two years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a year in Newton, Massachusetts. Uncle early biochemist. Attended National Science Foundation (NSF) summer program at Brown University.
Enters Brown to work with Joseph Steim. Excellent education at Brown. Confirmation of old membrane models. Political events; closing of Brown. Vietnam War and Watergate.
Eugene Kennedy’s lab at Harvard University. Membrane function; lacY. Other possible graduate schools. Biochemistry of membrane proteins difficult, purifying laborious and tedious. Kennedy not warm, but Snider’s most important influence. Changing from prokaryotic to eukaryotic work. Chris Raetz and William Wickner.
Wife at Harvard Medical School. Phillips Robbins’ lab at MIT. Glycoprotein synthesis; Robbins’ approach enzymological approach, Snider’s cell biological. Combining biochemistry and cell biology. Relationship with Robbins. Harvey Lodish’s lab. MIT labs high-pressure, competitive.
Staff Associate position. Nicest place he’s ever worked. Generous funding. Director Donald Brown’s preference for molecular. Able to concentrate on benchwork; very productive time. Begins work on vesicular traffic.
Snider and wife job searching. Medical schools in smaller cities best places to look. Case Western Reserve University. Cleveland a nice city, convenient, close to families. Good start-up offers for both. Less high-stress; medical school teaching done by committees; science boundaries less rigid. Cell biology new area; more hands-on oversight. Size, composition of lab. New tools and new perspectives. Cloning. Molecular biology all in kits now. Snider’s approach. General thoughts. Reviewing and teaching. Less time in lab. Grants and funding.