Recorded: 03 Jul 2003
I don’t know. I can’t see in the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Presently, it’s great. I think the really critical stage was when Jim [Watson] handed over to Bruce [Stillman]. Particularly because it was quite difficult to find a director. I think it took a lot of courage for Bruce to say he can work with Jim—had Jim been leaving and gone to live in Vermont it would be quite different. But that you’re director and Jim is not only president but is here [at CSHL], and at that time he [Jim] was still living at Airslie. I remember that was really quite a tough thing to do. The number of people like David Botstein and Bruce Alberts, [they] just said “no.”
Michael Ashburner, a leader in Drosophila Genetics and bioinformatics, received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College.
He has been the joint head of European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and was co-founder of Flybase, the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the Gene Ontology Consortium, an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster.
Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).