Suzanne Cory on Romance and Science: Marriage to Jerry Adams
  Suzanne Cory     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

Well, I think I’ve been extraordinarily lucky. It’s been a wonderful partnership in life and in science. I’m sure I would never have had the courage to do it without Jerry [Adams]. He’s been constantly a support but also an inspiration. And you know not many people have the privilege of a lifetime where you can share all of your passions, physical and intellectual and emotional. That’s quite a privilege. So it’s been wonderful! And sometimes I think we’re like the 5-prime and the 3-prime end of the messenger RNA. And we do, we’ve always been able to fill in for each other when helping to prepare talks or helping to look after the children or finishing off an experiment. Indeed I remember one story that a student tells about us. He said he went into the lab late at night and he looked at his gel and he found a note by the gel. And it started—the note was to tell him what to do next and it started off in Jerry’s writing and finished off in mine. So you know our life has been like that I think. I think that’s a metaphor for our lives and I think we’ve been very lucky.

Suzanne Cory, is currently Director of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), joint head (with Professor Jerry Adams) of the Molecular Genetics of Cancer division at WEHI, and a professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne.

Dr. Cory, a biochemist and molecular oncologist, has focused her research interests in immunology and cancer development. Her current research on the Bcl-2 gene family, and how cells decide to live or die (apoptosis), will lead to the knowledge to develop specific therapeutics for cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Cory earned her PhD in 1968 from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, working on RNA sequencing with Nobelists Fred Sanger and Francis Crick. While at Cambridge, she met and later married scientist Jerry Adams. Following their post-doctoral work and beginning research partnership at the University of Geneva, Cory and Adams moved to Australia and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 1971. Their work at WEHI helped introduce gene cloning technology in Australia. In the 1980s they discovered the genetic mutation that leads to Burkett’s Lymphoma.

Suzanne Cory was invited to speak at the 1970 Symposium, and has attended many meetings and Symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since then. Dr. Cory has received numerous awards and honors, including the Companion of the Order of Australia, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and Fellow of the Royal Society. She is Deputy Chairman of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and a director of biotechnology company Bio21 Australia Limited.