Phillip D. Zamore
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Philip D. Zamore's oral history begins with a discussion of his childhood in New York City and Long Island. Explaining his family's emphasis on education and the influence of his father, Zamore detailed his father's illness and death while Zamore attended Harvard University. As an undergraduate at Harvard Zamore developed his interest in science and decided to focus on molecular biology. He spent time in several laboratories including one summer at The Rockefeller University with Sid Strickland and Michael W. Young, though the majority of his laboratory experience was at Massachusetts General Hospital with John H. Hartwig. Staying at Harvard for a semester after graduating to work as a laboratory technician with Michael R. Green, Zamore decided to conduct his graduate research there as well. He moved with Green from Harvard to the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, where his work on snRNP flourished. Subsequently Zamore undertook postdoctoral research with Ruth Lehmann at the Whitehead Institute for Biological Studies at MIT and he collaborated with the laboratories of James R. Williamson and David P. Bartel after Lehmann moved to the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University. After his postdoctoral studies, but before moving to his Principal Investigator position at the University of Massachusetts, Zamore began working in the emerging field of RNAi. He detailed his experiences with RNAi and his early work running his own laboratory including the receipt of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Award. Throughout the interview Zamore discussed the importance of writing and publishing and his relationship with his students, as well as balancing his family life with his career. He also compared government funding to private funding, and criticized the U. S. government for not sponsoring riskier science. Zamore explained his experiences in starting the biotech firm Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and concluded his oral history interview with a discussion of trends in biomedical science, RNA research, and globalization.
|1986||Harvard University||AB||Biochemistry and Molecular Biology|
|1992||Harvard University||PhD||Biochemistry and Molecular Biology|
|1992||Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory||Advanced Drosophila Gene Course|
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
University of Massachusetts Medical School
|1987 to 1990||
National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
|1993 to 2006||
Life Sciences Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
|1997 to 1999||
Charles H. Hood Postdoctoral Fellowship
|2000 to 2004||
Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
|2002 to 2007||
W.M. Keck Foundation Young Scholar in Medical Research
RNAi Innovator Award, “RNAi Meeting,” Boston, Massachusetts
Table of Contents
Growing up on Long Island. Father's illness and death. Education prized in family. Summer science courses at Columbia University and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Interests in graphic design and journalism. Importance of family.
Harvard University. Molecular Biology course. Developing interest in obtaining a PhD Laboratory experiences with John Hartwig and David Beck. Summer Research at Rockefeller University with Sid Strickland and Michael [W. ] Young.
Harvard University. Technician for Michael R. Green. Moving from Harvard University to the University of Massachusetts, Worcester. Side project on snRNA. Successful research on snRNPs.
Developmental RNA research with Ruth Lehmann at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Her move to the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University. Jointly advised by James R. Williamson, David P. Bartel, and Lehmann. Different laboratory styles.
Choosing position at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester. Beginning of RNAi research. Gene silencing. Writing papers.
Prestige of other scholars. Established fields versus RNAi research. Annual Meetings. Sense of community. Scientific research and the continuity of science.
Obligations to students. Writing and publishing papers. Scientific competition. Styles of scientific writing.
Keck Fellowship. Grants as confidence builders. Fairness of NIH R01 system. Briefly without external funding. NIH grant scores and percentiles. Flawed general funding situation. Publishing versus speaking. RNAi research. Risk. Biotech.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Distinction between funding for company and funding for laboratory. Collaboration. Patents and scientific culture. Basic science. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Department of Homeland Security.
Balancing family and research. Children and postdoctoral research. Campaign for improved day care. Nobel Prize Talks in Sweden.
Biomedical trends and RNA research. Publishing. Increased scientific specialization.
Politics and funding. Investment in a scientific future. Insults to scientific process and thought. NIH. Translational research.
Time management. Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Public understanding of science. Globalization and science. Restrictions on science.
About the Interviewer
Karen A. Frenkel is a writer, documentary producer, and author specializing in science and technology and their impacts on society. She wrote Robots: Machines in Man’s Image (Harmony 1985) with Isaac Asimov. Her articles have appeared in many magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, CyberTimes, Business Week, Communications Magazine, Discover, Forbes, New Media, Personal Computing, Scientific American, Scientific American MIND, The Village Voice, and Technology Review. Ms. Frenkel’s award-winning documentary films, Net Learning and Minerva’s Machine: Women and Computing aired on Public Television. She has been an interviewer for Columbia University’s Oral History Research Center’s 9/11 Narrative and Memory project, The National Press Foundation’s Oral History of Women in Journalism, and the International Psychoanalytic Institute for Training and Research’s Oral History. Professional memberships include: The Authors Guild, National Association of Science Writers, Writer’s Guild of America East, and New York Women in Film and Television: Past Member of the Board and Director of Programming. Her website is www.Karenafrenkel.com.