Recorded: 18 Aug 2003
There was a stretch when I came every year for the symposium. One summer I took the bacterial genetics course here. One of the other people taking it was a colleague, Dan Nathans. I was really more in medical research and doing a good deal of biochemistry. Dan at that time left clinical medicine and did full-time pharmacology was his field, but restriction enzymes and his work with Hamilton [Smith] that won them the prize. Werner Arber at the same time. So people like that who were contemporaries were wonderful. People like Mike Brown [and] Joe Goldstein I knew extremely well. But the ones that I know best were more in the biochemical side than in the true genetics side of science.
James B. Wyngaarden is a medical doctor, biochemist and medical science advisor. He served as director of the National Institutes of Health, associate director for Life Sciences in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, and as director of the Human Genome Organization. Wyngaarden is currently part of the Washington Advisory Group, LLC and director of four biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies. Wyngaarden is also co-author of the textbook The Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disease.
He researches the regulation of purine biosynthesis, the production of uric acid and he helped initiate the use of allopurinol, a drug developed as an anticancer agent and now used as a treatment for gout.
While serving as director of the National Institutes of Heath, he enlisted the help of Dr. Watson in 1988 to begin the Human Genome Project. Jim obliged and joined the NIH as the associate director for Human Genome Research, while still acting as director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.