The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Inder Verma begins his interview by discussing how he came to join David Baltimore's Laboratory. Verma, who was at the Weizmann Institute of Science, was convinced to move to MIT and join Baltimore's Lab by Bob Weinberg. When Verma first arrived, Baltimore was away teaching in Taiwan. Verma discusses his early research on reverse transcriptase and RNA, and his attempts to establish himself with his co-workers in the lab. Verma discusses his interaction with Baltimore and his impressions of Baltimore's skills as a scientist and lecturer. Verma provides an alternate view to some of the political turmoil that Charles N. Cole discusses in his interview. As a foreign student, Verma had a different opinion of the Vietnam War and the anti-war demonstrations. Verma concludes his interview with some thoughts about his research and its impact on cancer research. Joint interview with Charles N. Cole.
|1971||The Weizmann Institute of Science||PhD||Biochemistry|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
University of California, San Diego
|1964 to 1966||
First in Order of Merit in M Sc
|1967 to 1970||
Reverend Solomon B. Caulker Memorial Fellowship
|1970 to 1973||
Fellow, Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research
Medal for Outstanding Scientist of North American Scientists of Indian Origin
Merit Award, National Institutes of Health
Outstanding Investigator Award, National Institutes of Health
Professor of Molecular Biology, American Cancer Society
Award, Thrombosis Research Institute, London
Charaka Award, The Association of Indians in America
Member, The Third World Academy of Sciences
Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
Foreign Fellow, The National Academy of Sciences, India
Member, The National Academy of Sciences (USA)
Associate Member, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
Member, Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Table of Contents
Decision to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Influence of Herman Lichtstein. Moving from Harvey F. Lodish's lab to David Baltimore's Laboratory. Defective interfering (DI) particles of the polio virus. David Baltimore's Lab in 1969. Alice Huang. Vesticular Stomatitis Virus (VSV). Mike Jacobson.
Major discussions in the lab. Discovering how defective particles play a role. Influence of David Baltimore. Reverse transcriptase. nderstanding the strategy of the viral genome. VSV enzyme discovery. Inder Verma's work. cDNAs. Effect of reverse transcriptase on polio work. Polyadenlated message.
Living with Elizabeth Cole. Student Action Coordinating Committee and MIT weapons labs. Process of radicalization and participation in demonstrations. Black Panther Party, Chicago Seven, and Yippies. Vietnam War and President Richard M. Nixon. Altercation and arrest for disorderly conduct. Jon Kabat. The Grateful Dead. Kent State shootings and shut down of lab. Trials. Salvadore E. Luria's and David Baltimore's testimony. West Newton, Massachusetts commune.
Work with DI particles. Competition amongst projects. Work after MIT. Switch away from polio research. David Baltimore's skill as a lecturer and writer. Sol Spiegelmann.
Weizmann Institute of Science. Bob Weinberg. Acceptance into David Baltimore's Lab. Nobel Prize. Martha Stampfer and the Association for Women in Science. Reverse transcription. Globin RNA. Sharing authorship with David Baltimore. Haim Aviv.
Atmosphere at MIT. Patenting in biology. David Baltimore's and others' work in the lab. Retrovirus group. Salk Institute. Peter Vogt's lab and chicken cells. Ts mutants. Cancer Center. Moving to the Salk Institute in 1974.
Nature of interactions with Baltimore. Influence of Hung Fan and Bob Weinberg. Thoughts on the Vietnam War. Reflections on reverse transcriptase. Cancer research.
About the Interviewer
Sondra Schlesinger is professor of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine. She received her PhD in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan and spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Boris Magasanik at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she worked on enzyme induction and regulation in bacteria. She joined the faculty at Washington University in 1964, where initially she continued her research in the field of microbial genetics and physiology. In the early 1970s, she began her research work on the structure and replication of animal RNA viruses, which continues to this day. Dr. Schlesinger has over one hundred publications spanning these areas of microbiology. She was president of the American Society for Virology in 1992–1993, at which time she began her present interest and work in the history of virology.