Recorded: 30 May 2003
Well, I mean, there are a lot of special things about this place that anyone can tell you. But for me I think a lot of it was that it happened at the right time in my career when I was a young, impressionable student. I have a very vivid memory of talking to Barbara McClintock on Bungtown Road while waiting for the Long Island Limousine when I was leaving here. I came back here a second summer before I went to graduate school, and she said, “Well, what are you going to do?” And I said that I was going to go Cambridge to the MRC to do molecular biology. And she said, “I wouldn’t do molecular biology. It’s too competitive, you should become a naturalist.” So at that stage I didn’t know the quality of the people, the intellect there. People that I had met and got to know here. When I used to work in the lab every night at 8:30, Jim Watson would walk through the lab, he would stand there with his hands on his hips and he used to hiss the way he does, and he would look around and he would be sort of like seeing who was there. And I think Jim always liked me because whenever he came to the lab at eight o’clock at night that I was always there working. And that’s how I got on Jim’s good side when I was here because, you know—
Gerald Rubin is a geneticist, molecular and cell biologist. As Director of the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project, he led the sequencing of the entire fruit fly genome. Currently, as Vice President and Director of the Janelia Farm Research Campus at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia, his research focus is on developing the biological and computer tools that are capable of analyzing and displaying the vast amount of information available from the genomic DNA sequencing of the fruit fly. He uses these advanced techniques to decipher gene regulation and expression at a genome-wide level in Drosophila and determine the function of certain fruit fly genes.
Gerald Rubin is also a professor of Genetics and Development at the University of California, Berkeley. He came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as an URP (Undergraduate Research Program) in the early 70’s working under Lionel Crawford and Ray Gesteland before moving to Cambridge to earn his Ph.D. in molecular biology. He did postdoctoral work at Stanford University School of Medicine and became an assistant professor of biological chemistry at Harvard Medical School prior to commencing his genetics professorship at Berkeley in 1983.
Gerald Rubin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Among the awards he has received is the American Chemical Society Eli Lilly Award in biological chemistry.