Mark B. Van Doren
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Mark D. Van Doren was born and raised in upstate New York with his three siblings. Although Van Doren's father was a physician, he did not discuss medicine or science at home much; Van Doren's interest in biology developed mainly during the course of his high school science classes. He undertook summer research in photoporphyrin derivatives at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York in an attempt to further this interest in biology. After matriculating at Cornell University—a family tradition—Van Doren began research with Efraim Racker in the field of bioenergetics. While working with Racker, Van Doren was exposed to some of the complexities of scientific practice, including research ethics and the need for experimental replication and validation. During his time at Cornell, he was able to publish a paper in a scientific journal, an experience that helped him decide upon laboratory science as his career. After graduating from Cornell, Van Doren worked at Oncogene Science prior to starting graduate work at the University of California, San Diego. While doing a rotation in James W. Posakony's laboratory, Van Doren developed an interest in Drosophila; he then decided to pursue research on the biochemistry of Drosophila BHLH proteins for his degree, which quickly resulted in a 1991 Development paper. In an effort to expand his interest in and knowledge of relevant science early in his graduate career, Van Doren studied at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory taking a course on embryology. He did his postdoctoral research with Ruth Lehmann, first at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and then at the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine. In the Lehmann laboratory, Van Doren began his work on Drosophila germ cells that had first peaked his interest at Woods Hole. His HMG-CoA reductase work led to a 1998 Nature publication. Upon completing his post-doctoral research, Van Doren accepted a position at Johns Hopkins University where he has continued his Drosophila research. He received the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award shortly after starting as a principal investigator, an award that provided him validation as a young researcher. Throughout the interview Van Doren discussed his current research, the challenges of running a laboratory, and funding.
|1994||University of California, San Diego||PhD||Biology|
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine
Johns Hopkins University
Society for Developmental Biology Award for Achievement in Embryology
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Associate
Finalist, Larry Sandler Award (International competition for thesis
|1995 to 1997||
American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Associate
|2000 to 2004||
Pew Scholars Award
Table of Contents
Upstate New York. Physician father. Biology interest in high school. Summer research at Roswell Park Cancer Center.
Cornell University. Family history at Cornell. Prominent medical issues of the 1980s. Laboratory research with Efraim Racker. Publishing as an undergraduate. Scientific ethics and Mark Spector. Oncogene Science after Cornell graduation.
University of California, San Diego. James W. Posakony. Drosophila proteins and biochemistry. Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory course in embryology. Publishing. Process of writing
Ruth Lehmann. Transition to genetic screening. Lack of laboratory hierarchy. Transition from Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research to the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine.
Searching for positions at same time as wife. Johns Hopkins University. Continuing Drosophila research. Running a laboratory. Teaching. Dividing post-doctoral research with Lehmann. Publishing.
Pew Scholars Award. Local Scholars. Scientific momentum and validation. Annual Meetings. Policy issues. Potential collaborations.
NIH funding. Preliminary Data. Potential Significance.
Instrumentation. Changing technology. Bioethics and research. Publishing. Hierarchy of scientific journals. Image of the scientist. Society for Developmental Biology.
About the Interviewer
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.