Mary Jane Gething on Meeting Joe Sambrook
  Mary Jane Gething     Biography    
Recorded: 16 Jan 2003

In London, I think I met him [Joe Sambrook] very briefly in ’76 or ’77; I’m not sure of the year. He came to London to do a sabbatical but not at ICRF, at University College. But yet I do remember him coming over to talk to Bob Kamen and the SV40 people at ICRF. I was not in the SV40 labs but I was a good friend of many of them so I would be up there. I remember very briefly meeting Joe back then. But it was in 1978 I believe when he and Ashley Dunn came over to ICRF to work for about 3 months. And the reason was they were, it was the time of the moratorium on recombinant DNA, and it was the very, very early days of recombinant DNA. And it had been Asilomar and there was a six month, I believe, moratorium in the United States on recombinant DNA experiments. And Joe and Ashley were in the middle of experiments trying to prove splicing. They were cloning the adeno-fiber messenger RNA which they had evidence that there was probably a splicing event to bring the promoter elements up to the coding elements. And they were cloning a cDNA to prove that—to compare with the genomic DNA. But they had to stop the experiments mid-stream because of the moratorium. And ICRF had fantastic facilities for that because they had built containment suites—from P2, P3, and P4—increasing containment suites because of works that Harvey Lodish and Robin Weiss had been doing making pseudo types between different RNA tumor viruses and vesicular stematitus viruses. So they needed this containment and the lab had been built. So the cloning experiments could be done in England at that time but they had to be done under containment. So Joe and Ashley came over.

There was a pub right behind the lab that all these sort of unattached scientists or the ones who didn’t have families to go straight home to at five o’clock or whenever, would go to in the evening. And they might go down to the pub for a drink and a snack, evening meal, and then go back to work. And so we saw a lot of Joe and Ashley in the pub and I started to get to know him then.

Mary-Jane Gething, biochemist is Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne where she earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1974. Subsequently she went to Cambridge to do post-doctoral work.

In 1976, she moved to London to work on protein sequencing and in 1980, Gething and Joseph Sambrook received a NATO grant for travel to collaborate on virus research. She began working at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1982 where she continued her research of proteins. In 1985, Gething and Sambrook moved to Dallas to work at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. They moved back to Australia in 1994.

Her current research involves protein folding in the cell and the role of molecular chaperone BiP.