Anna Marie Skalka on Personal Contact with Al Hershey
  Anna Marie Skalka     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Mar 2003

The only contact that we had that I remember that was kind of on a personal vein was the time when I finally had to tell him that I was pregnant. And I guess I had been here for two years and I thought, well, I ought to tell him. I didn’t expect to stop working or anything. So I went him and I said, “Well, I have something to tell you, Dr. Hershey. I’m pregnant.” And he started out with a smile and that smile went (indicates frown?). He said, “Oh!” I said, “Well, you know that’s not going to change anything. I’ll be working,” and so forth. And actually I did. It was kind of amusing to see his reaction.

Anna Marie Skalka, microbiologist, molecular biologist and geneticist is Senior Vice President for Basic Science and director of the Institute for Cancer Research at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. She completed her Ph.D. at New York University Medical School in 1964 and came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to continue her graduate work on bacteriophage under Al Hershey. In 1969 she left for the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology and eventually she turned her attention to retroviruses.

At Fox Chase Medical Center, Skalka studies molecular aspects of retroviral replication and hopes to uncover mechanisms of retroviral DNA integration. She has become interested in virally coded integrase, which catalyzes the integration of retroviral DNA into the host cell’s genome. Considering that stable integration of viral DNA into the host cell genome is essential for replication of retroviruses, her studies are important in developing antiviral drugs to treat AIDS.