Recorded: 01 Aug 2003
Well, nowadays, it’s just a lot of paper pushing, but originally it was thinking of experiments and going into the lab and doing the techniques that you needed to do to ask a question and find an answer to it.
What I like about the particular research that I do now is that we ask questions on many levels. We can ask of the behavior of the animal or the sequence of the gene or the intervening biochemistry, cell biology and even neuroanatomy. So you get to learn lots of different levels of analysis, and you think about a problem on many different levels, and then try to integrate those ideas together into some idea of how a gene can actually influence the behavior of an intact animal. I find that challenging.
Tim Tully is a molecular geneticist, interested in finding the genetic and biological basis of memory in order to better identify pharmacological and behavioral treatments for memory loss. In 1981, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Tully joined the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory staff in 1991 to work on discovering genes involved with memory. He became the St. Giles Foundation Professor of Neuroscience and led the Drosophila learning and memory program. In 1998 he founded Helicon Therapeutics, Inc., a development-stage biotechnology firm that works on new therapies for memory loss and other cognition disorders. In June, 2007, Tully left Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to become Helicon's Acting Chief Scientific Officer, and assume a key role in the Michigan-based Dart Foundation as it expands its interest in funding neuroscience research.
His work on the transcriptional factor CREB gave way to the first experimental demonstration of enhanced memory formation in genetically engineered animals. Tully works to identify genes involved with long-term memory formation. Tully has determined that by the regulation of gene expression, new, long-term memories can be formed due to the growth of new synapses.