P. Todd Stukenberg
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
P. Todd Stukenberg grew up mostly in Rochester, New York, one of three children. His father worked for Xerox Corporation; his family had a background in and love of art. He always liked science and was good at it. Wanting a liberal arts college in s small city, he attended Colgate University, where he designed his own molecular biology curriculum. During this time he had a seminal lab experience working in Ken Burns’ lab at Cornell Medical School in New York City. He did a joint PhD at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell University Medical College, where he discovered sliding clamps while working in Michael O’Donnell’s lab. For postdoctoral work he entered Marc Kirschner’s lab, which had just moved from San Francisco to Harvard University. His research there was into Cdc2, purifying MPF. He patented in vitro expression cloning. He began his still-continuing work on Aurora B and kinetochore complex Ndc80 and collaborated on Pin1 with Kun Ping Lu.
Stukenberg accepted a job offer from the University of Virginia (UVA). Believing yeast training to be important, he established a friendship and collaboration with Daniel Burke. He found that Ndc80 complex worked well in Xenopus and developed the use of egg extracts. He has found the quality of life at UVA less stressful and more rewarding than at Harvard. Of course, publishing and funding remain constant concerns.
During the interview Stukenberg discusses the Pew Scholars application and meetings, as well as the Pew’s monetary and non-monetary rewards. He describes clamp innovation; he explains why he promotes Aurora B as a new class of oncogenes. He explains how kinetochore is involved in binding microtubules and sending a spindle checkpoint signal, for which he has coined the phrase “ionic spaghetti.” He talks about Hill models and the importance of MCAK and the other proteins, viz. Isis, Kf2, TD-60, and Polo. He has established a collaboration with Tarun Kapoor. He attributes some of his insights to his wife’s work in patterning, and he mentions his young son.
|1993||Weill Medical College of Cornell University||PhD|
Harvard Medical School
University of Virginia School of Medicine
|1992 to 1993||
Charles DeVineau Symposia Winner, Cornell University Medical School
|1994 to 1997||
NIH-NRSA Postdoctoral Trainee
|1997 to 2000||
Charles A. King Trust Fellow
|2001 to 2004||
Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
Table of Contents
Growing up in Rochester, New York. Father's career at Xerox Corporation. Enjoys science in school. Sports. Family background in art.
Interest to attend liberal arts school. Colgate University. Designs molecular biology curriculum. Labs at Colgate; junior semester abroad at Columbia University. Works with Ken Burns. Decides to pursue PhD. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell University Medical College. Works in Michael O'Donnell's lab.
Marc Kirschner's lab at University of California, San Francisco, later Harvard University. Researches Xenopus embryos. Lab atmosphere and Kirschner's training. Work on Cdc2. Patens in vitro expression cloning. Aurora B and kinetochore complex Ndc80. Collaboration with Kun Ping Lu.
University of Virginia's offer. Importance of yeast training. Collaboration and friendship with Daniel Burke. Quality of life at Virginia. Unsure about Aurora, but kinetochore Ndc80 complex worked well in Xenopus; using egg extracts. Publishing and funding.
Impact of Pew Scholars grant. Clamp innovation. Aurora B as new class of oncogenes. Work on kinetochore. "Ionic spaghetti;" Hill modles; spindle checkpoint; merotelic attachments; MCAK; other proteins: Isis, Kf2; TD-60; Polo. Collaboration with Tarun Kapoor. Personal life.
Faculty of 1000. Study sections, reviewing, patents. Investigating drug production and producers. Life-work balance. Teaching and mentoring. Stuken-Burke Lab. Competition. Advocating for science. Writing grants. Burke and the genetics of yeast. Importance of Kirschner's and O'Donnell's training; early success at Virginia.