Jerry Adams on Cold Spring Harbor Symposia
  Jerry Adams     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

Well, I think the most important thing was the choice of topics so that it could be really something a field that had gotten to just the right stage where it was very usual to have the leading figures to come together. The fact that it always did bring in the leading figures. Everybody wanted to be there. You would hate the idea of missing out on being at the symposium that was about their field. So there was an enormous interest in it. Almost all the leading figures would always be present. Be determined to be represented and to try to persuade other people that what they were doing was very important.

Jerry Adams, currently Professor and Joint Head of Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, is noted for his achievements in molecular biology, immunology and the molecular genetics of cancer. After completing his BSc in Chemistry at Emory University in 1962, he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard under James Watson. During this time, Adams and Mario Capecchi discovered the initiation mechanism for polypeptides. Adams earned his degree in 1967 and went on to do post-doctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, where he met his wife, Suzanne Cory. They did further research in Geneva, and in 1972 joined The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

Adams and his research team have made many major contributions to medical science. They were the first to clone mammalian genes in Australia and discovered: (i) that antibody genes encode to recombine in a myriad of ways to fight infection; (ii) the genetic mutation that leads to Burkitt’s lymphoma and (iii) the connection between apoptosis and cancer, while studying bcl-2 gene in follicular lymphoma (with David Vaux).

Adams is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (1986), a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1992), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Victoria (1997) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.