Herr & Noller on Personal Research and Public Meetings
  Herr & Noller     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jun 2001

Harry Noller: … I think to begin with, the fact that I was at Santa Cruz and say, not at MIT, really helped because of the isolation of Santa Cruz. It’s very much a ivory tower atmosphere; it’s a lot like here. Except there weren't so many scientists as here but you don’t feel this kind of peer pressure to think like everybody else is thinking—the latest thing. You know, we’re not working on apoptosis this week and so on.

Winship Herr: You told me – and I remember this really clearly – when I was in your lab: you should only go to one meeting a year. Because you should find out …

Harry Noller: I obviously forgot that lesson.

Winship Herr: But as a young—I think you still hold to it. Obviously now you’re invited to many more meetings and stuff. But I don’t think you’re applying to meetings, you know, to go to them. But your point was that, you’ve got to have time to just—sort through maybe Brownian motion or something—be able to do experiments and not know what everybody else is doing. And just develop your own ideas and then you have to go and share them and get centered again, and then you have to be able go and do your own things. Harry Noller: Too much communication is not a good thing.

Harry Noller: …And then you come together and get stimulated again and then you go off again in Brownian motion.

Harry Noller: But when I was a student there was really only one meeting a year and that was the Cold Spring Harbor Symposium or the Gordon conference and some people went to both of them. You were lucky to get into the Gordon Conference, you were lucky to get into the Cold Spring Harbor. Nowadays people are just going from one meeting to the next. I see all my friends every week for months.

Harry Noller: [As for the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposia on Quantitative Biology] I’ve always looked at it as the meeting in biology. This is like the chronicle of modern biology, in these symposia. It’s a great honor to be invited to it, and participate in it. They’re really historical. Good food at the picnic.

Winship Herr, director of the University of Lausanne School of Biology and member of EMBO. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of California in 1974 and Ph.D. for studies on recombinant retroviruses in leukemogenic mice with Walter Gilbert from Harvard University in 1982. He completed his postdoctoral research studies in Cambridge (England) with Frederick Sanger and with Joe Sambrook in Cold Spring Harbor. After that he joined the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory faculty in 1984. From 1994 till 2002 he was an assistant director of the Laboratory and founding dean of the Watson School of Biological Sciences from 1998 till 2004. He is a professor of the Center for Integrative Genomics at the University of Lausanne.

Winship Herr is a former National Science Foundation predoctoral fellow, Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow, and Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Biological Sciences.

Harry Noller, is best known for his work on on ribosomal RNA structure and function, currently the director of the University of California, Santa Cruz's Center for the Molecular Biology of RNA. He received his B.S. in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oregon.

He received the Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Sciences together with Drs. Moore and Steitz for their research on the ribosome. Harry Noller has been awarded Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize granted by the Paul Ehrlich Foundation. He is a member of National Academy of Science, RNA Society and American Academy of Art and Science.