Recorded: 15 Jan 2003
I knew Barbara McClintock very well. We met as many people used to meet Barbara McClintock on Bungtown Road as we went for our walks. Barbara was an amazing character, had a tremendous reputation. This was before she received the overdue accolades. But those of us that had been at Cold Spring Harbor for some time at her energy and enthusiasm, but were also very mindful of the huge contribution that she’d made through her studies on maize and movable elements. This was a paradigm shift. And I think a lot of people in science have great respect for people who can think laterally away from the main stream view and Barbara McClintock demonstrated that she was able to do that.
She was able to develop ideas that seemed utterly at odds with conventional thinking and wisdom. And I liked Barbara and appreciated her for that at least. But she was a wonderful person who walked through the woods and walked away from her apartment empty handed and always came back with arms full of leaves and corns and things that had interested her that she picked up on the trail. And I knew her very well. We were sort of friends and I helped her move apartments one day and helped her move her washing machine. I remember she and I struggled at Bungtown Road with this washing machine once. So there’s a very lovable side of Barbara and I liked her as a scientist and also as a person.
Ashley Dunn is currently a Senior Consulting Scientist and member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Cryptome Pharmaceuticals Ltd., an Australian biotech company. He also serves on Australia’s Gene Technology Advisory Committee. He is the former Head of Molecular Biology in the Melbourne Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.
He came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1976 to work with Joe Sambrook as a postdoctoral fellow and eventually became a junior faculty member.
His research has been concentrated on mammalian growth factors and the regulators responsible for the production of white blood cells in mice and men. He co-invented a mammalian blood cell regulator (GM-CSF), and his lab was the one of the first to establish gene targeting in the development of human diseases such as cancer.