Recorded: 04 Jun 2001
As Watson University…How will it be in the future? I could never predict the future. If you asked me this a number of years of go I would never have guessed it would be where it is now. I think the key thing that Cold Spring Harbor has been good at, it is small enough and flexible enough, and not entrenched, so that it could respond to new directions where things were going. So to me that would be the real concern, whether it’s going to grow to the point where we’re going to lose that ability to go with the new things that are happening. It ought to be able to maintain that, but I think that is a real challenge. As institutions get big, they tend to get more and more academic-like, and there’s nothing more conservative than an academic institution, and it’s really hard to move them in new directions. I think the growth that’s happened here is absolutely wonderful but I think that is the one risk too hard to move.
Raymond Gesteland, biologist, has made progress in describing essential mechanisms for controlled gene expression. His research on recoding provides insight into replication of RNA viruses such as HIV and the genetic code. Gesteland also concentrates on ribosome function and response to mRNA signals.
He received a master’s degree in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University. After working at Alfred Tissières Laboratory in Geneva, in 1967, Gesteland arrived at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to work under Jim Watson as Assistant Director for Research.
Gesteland is currently Vice President for Research, Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, and Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah.