David J. Sullivan, Jr.

Born: June 27, 1961 | Altus, OK, US

David J. Sullivan, Jr., grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, surrounded by a large and supportive family. He cites the importance of his family's Catholicism, strong work ethic, and their emphasis on Scouting in fostering his interests. His scientific interests blossomed throughout the 1980s against the backdrop of HIV and other infectious diseases, and he became interested in bioethics during medical school. Sullivan also worked at a clinic in Mussoorie, India, during the last few months of medical school, an experience he describes in detail. During his residency at Washington University in St. Louis, Sullivan worked with Daniel E. Goldberg and concentrated his infectious disease research on Malaria. Continuing his efforts on heme crystallization and Zinc photoporphyrin-9, Sullivan brought his research to Johns Hopkins University, where he is today.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0390
No. of pages: 82
Minutes: 303

Interview Sessions

David J. Caruso
28-29 November 2007
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

Abstract of Interview

David J. Sullivan, Jr.'s interview begins with a discussion of his childhood in Birmingham, Alabama during which he was surrounded by a large and supportive family. He cites the importance of his family's Catholicism, strong work ethic, and their emphasis on Scouting in fostering his interests. After deciding to attend the University of Virginia, Sullivan's scientific interests blossomed throughout the 1980s against the backdrop of HIV and other infectious diseases. While undertaking his medical education at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Sullivan developed an interest in scientific research with clinical applications. Concurrent with his medical education, Sullivan pursued a study of bioethics that he brought to his residency and fellowship work at Washington University in St. Louis. Before moving to St. Louis, Missouri, however, Sullivan worked at a clinic in Mussoorie, India, during the last few months of medical school. Throughout the interview, Sullivan described his service work in the community, including his time in India, and how community service allowed him to meet the Dalai Lama. While in St. Louis, Sullivan worked with Daniel E. Goldberg and concentrated his infectious disease research on the field of malaria. Continuing his efforts on heme crystallization and Zinc photoporphyrin-9, Sullivan brought his malaria research to Johns Hopkins University. Shortly after beginning as a principal investigator, Sullivan received a Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award. He described the impact of the award as well as his perceptions of the annual meetings held during his four years as a Scholar. The interview concludes with Sullivan's discussion of biomedical funding, science after September 11th, and biomedical ethics in relation to funding. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1983 University of Virginia BA Biology
1988 University of Alabama at Birmingham MD

Professional Experience

Washington University in St. Louis

1988 to 1991
Residency, Internal Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital
1992 to 1997
Fellowship, Infectious Diseases, Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health

1997 to 2001
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

2006 to 2009
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
2001 to 2006
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Honors

Year(s) Award
1988

Class Citizenship Award (The Netter Series) for Community Service

1988

MAP Readers Digest Award International Fellowship, Mussoorie, India

1994

Burroughs Wellcome Leadership Award A.M.A.

1997

Healthcare for the Homeless Coalition, St. Louis, Outstanding Volunteer Service

1999

National Foundation of Infectious Diseases New Investigator Matching Award

1997 to 2000

Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences

2000 to 2004

Pew Scholars Award in the Biomedical Sciences

2003

Inventor of the Year Award, Applied Physics Laboratory

Table of Contents

Childhood
1

Large family. Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama. Scouting. Early exposure to science. Dr. Max Cooper. Strong work ethic. Catholicism.

College Education
13

Deciding not to attend the United States Naval Academy. University of Virginia. Over-commitments and grades. Awareness of HIV and infectious diseases.

Medical Education
19

Laboratory technician. University of Alabama, Birmingham. Epidemic Intelligence Services. Interests in bench science develop. Volunteering efforts. Interactions with patients. Interest in bioethics. Medical experiences in India. Residency at Washington University in St. Louis. Interests in malaria. Volunteer work with Tibetan refugees. Meeting the Dalai Lama.

Fellowship
34

Infectious Diseases fellowship with Dan Goldberg. Malaria research. Influence of family on research. Publishing.

Principal Investigator
47

Johns Hopkins University. Continuing interest in heme crystallization. Working with Nirbhay Kumar. Burroughs Wellcome Award. Fewer clinical duties. Teaching. International advisor on malaria projects. Running his laboratory.

Pew Biomedical Scholars Award
56

Other funding early in career. Zinc photoprphyrin-9. Annual meetings. Pew family. Johns Hopkins University Malaria Research Institute.

Biomedical Science
65

NIH funding. Patents. Policy initiatives. Medical issues outside the United States. Post-September 11th science. Continued scientific volunteering. Biomedical ethics.

Index
78

About the Interviewer

David J. Caruso

David J. Caruso earned a BA in the history of science, medicine, and technology from Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and a PhD in science and technology studies from Cornell University in 2008. Caruso is the director of the Center for Oral History at the Science History Institute, president of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and editor for the Oral History Review. In addition to overseeing all oral history research at the Science History Institute, he also holds an annual training institute that focuses on conducting interviews with scientists and engineers, he consults on various oral history projects, like at the San Diego Technology Archives, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching courses on the history of military medicine and technology and on oral history.  His current research interests are the discipline formation of biomedical science in 20th-century America and the organizational structures that have contributed to such formation.