Peter Vogt on Oncogenes and Harry Rubin's Laboratory
  Peter Vogt     Biography    
Recorded: 23 Feb 2012

I mean what happened when I was just about finished with my PhD is I remembered Luria's book and I said, “Really, I want to go and do a post-doc with Luria.” So I wrote him a letter applying for a post-doc, and he wrote back a little hand-written note saying, “Sorry, I'm just moving my lab from Urbana, Illinois, to MIT. I will have a lot of lost time. I have to re-equip my lab. I don't think you want to come because you'll lose too much time.” So, that was out. A few months later Harry Rubin from UC-Berkeley gave a seminar at Tubegin and I still remember when he talked and how he had found oncogenic transformation in cell culture. And I immediately knew this is what I had to do. I applied and Harry accepted me.

That was in 1959. And I applied for a fellowship, I got the Damon Runyon Fellowship, and I was able to go to Berkeley.

I became a post-doc in [Harry Rubin’s] lab. He was my real mentor in science. I don't think I was fully educated and equipped as an independent scientist when I came to Harry. Harry Rubin really taught me how to do science, how to do research. It was a very exciting time. There were lots of important discoveries that he made while I was at the lab, and I could participate. And there were other very good people, like Sabua Hanafusa, at the same time in Harry Rubin's lab. So it was an exciting time and I think we all agreed that Harry set the direction for all of us and gave us the essential tools to be really successful and effective as scientists.

Dr. Peter Vogt, M.D., Ph.D., serves as Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Vogt is at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, CA. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Lasker Award winner. His fundamental studies on oncogenic avian retroviruses led to the identification of oncogenes in human cells. Dr. Vogt is the editor-in-chief of Virology, a scientific journal.

Dr. Peter Vogt intends to continue his work at the Scripps Research Institute. He is currently working to generate small molecule inhibitors that interfere with the spread of cancer as a new therapeutic approach.