Philippe M. Soriano
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Philippe M. Soriano grew up in New York City, the younger of two children. His parents are of French descent: his mother was born in Algiers, Algeria, and his father in Cairo, Egypt. He attended the Lycée Français, which had a typical French curriculum with the addition of some usual American classes. No one else in his family was involved in science, but Soriano showed an early interest, especially in a number of fields of biology.
Soriano’s several childhood trips to France helped him decide to attend the University of Paris. It was also the case that French science, especially genetics, was outstanding at the time. Although he found that there was a great culture shock involved in being in France, he did not regret his college years there, as they gave him a very different perspective on his work. During the summers Soriano worked at the Bayer labs in Germany and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He pursued his doctorate at the University of Paris, working with DNA sequences in higher mammals in the lab of Giorgio Bernardi; Soriano reflected on higher education in France and the strengths of Bernardi’s lab.
His work on DNA cloning and fractionation techniques earned Soriano two doctorates, after which he was offered a chargé de recherche position by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Soriano used gene delivery techniques at the Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire in Orléans, France and sought to make transgenic mice, though he also discussed Rudolf Jaenisch’s first gene knockout experiment that resulted in a lethal mutation and his own attempts to clone a histocompatibility gene. At Bernardi’s request he taught cDNA cloning in South Africa and Tunisia, a topic Soriano used to speak about science in Third World countries, his own international perspective, and the danger of scientific inbreeding.
Soriano began a postdoc in the Jaenisch lab in Hamburg. After about six months Jaenisch moved his lab (people, mice, and some equipment) to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Soriano explains the setup of the lab in Hamburg, the complicated move, and the state of science in Germany. For his work, Soriano infected embryos with retroviruses to create transgenic mice, determined at what stage cells are allocated to somatic or germ cell lineage, implemented noninvasive means of tracking cells, conducted loss-of-function studies, and used retrovirus probes instead of electroporation.
Deciding not to return to France, Soriano left the Jaenisch lab for a position at Baylor College of Medicine. He received Howard Hughes Medical Institute funding and comparea it to other types of funding, in the context of which he talka about the cost of running a mouse lab and big labs versus small labs.
Soriano’s interest in the src gene continues, and he explains more about cell lineages; functional redundancy; interpreting gene knockout results; licensing and selling mutant mice; cooperating with biotechnology companies; and ethical issues involved in working for biotechnology companies and surrounding gene therapy. He concludes his interview by discussing his planned move to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. And he describes some of his future research plans and compares and contrasts basic science research and applied research.
|1975||University of Paris||Maîtrise ès-sciences|
|1978||University of Paris||Doctorat de 3ème cycle|
|1982||University of Paris||Doctorat d'état ès-sciences|
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire
Heinrich Pette Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Baylor College of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
|1976 to 1978||
Fellowship, Délégation Générale à la Recherche Scientifique et Technique
Fellowship, Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale
|1978 to 1980||
Fellowship, Ligue Nationale Française contre le Cancer
|1984 to 1985||
Fellowship, North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Biomedical Research Support Grant, Baylor College of Medicine
Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation Award
|1988 to 1992||
Scholar, Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences
|1988 to 1993||
Assistant Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Table of Contents
Childhood in New York City. French ancestry. Attends the Lycée Français. Early interest in science. Importance of all fields in biology. Experience of the sixties. Decides to attend the University of Paris. State of science in France. Culture shock of being in France. Spends summers working at the Bayer labs in Germany and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Pursues his doctorate at the University of Paris and works in the lab of Giorgio Bernardi. Higher education in France. Working with DNA sequences in Bernardi's labs. Studying repetitive DNA sequences. Strengths of Bernardi's lab.
DNA cloning and fractionation techniques. Earns two doctorates. Offered a chargé de recherche position by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Using gene delivery techniques at the Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire in Orléans. Seeks to make transgenic mice. Rudolf Jaenisch's first gene knockout experiment results in a lethal mutation. Tries to clone a histocompatibility gene. Teaches in South Africa and Tunisia. Science in other countries. International perspective. Danger of scientific inbreeding.
Working as a postdoc in the Jaenisch lab in Hamburg. Transplanting the lab to Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Setup of the lab in Hamburg. State of science in Germany. Infecting embryos with retroviruses to create transgenic mice. Determining at what stage cells are allocated to somatic or germ cell lineage. Need to use noninvasive means of tracking cells. Loss-of-function studies. Using retrovirus probes versus using electroporation. Cooperation among mouse-genetics labs. Knocking out the src gene leads to osteopetrosis in mice. Knocking out other members of the src family. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences funding. Leaving the Jaenisch lab and coming to Baylor College of Medicine. Decides not to return to France. Howard Hughes Medical Institute funding. Cost of running a mouse lab. Big labs versus small labs. Reasons for going to Baylor.
Interest in the src gene. More on studying cell lineages. Functional redundancy. Interpreting gene knockout results. Licensing and selling mutant mice. Cooperating with biotechnology companies. Ethical issues involved in working for biotechnology companies. Ethical considerations surrounding gene therapy. Planned move to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Future research plans. Basic science research versus applied research.