Recorded: 15 Jun 2002
Oh, I’ve been to many of them, but I think they’re all, you know, exciting. I mean, its sort of the keynote affair here every year is that symposium in an area of interest. And I’ve gone to the ones that are in my area of interest. There was one on cell cycle here, which I went to years later, things like that.
So they were always very special here for one reason. I mean, leaving the symposium aside—the symposia is where they invite really principal investigators from laboratories to give talks—usually twenty minutes, so the senior people speak at the symposia and the junior people listen. And this is a format for many meetings that I go to where, you know, I will be invited but my postdocs won’t be invited for example.
But the actual meetings that go on year after year, for instance, for some years I would go when I was still working in retroviruses, I would go to the RNA Tumor Virus meeting. I think I even organized one—maybe 1984, ’85, somewhere in there. And so I sort of grew up going to this RNA Tumor Virus meeting the whole time that I was working in this field and each year it was getting more and more exciting. And, you know, it became molecular biology. We were cloning oncogenes. It really became very good as the years went on.
And what I thought was special about it was that you just sent in an abstract and whoever was organizing just picked the best abstracts and they threw you into a session. So as a postdoc, you know, maybe in the mid-seventies when I would send in an abstract and they would pick it for an oral talk. And then you’d get up and you’d give your ten-minute talk here, it was really an exciting thing to do for a young professional. You know, you were parading your science in front of more senior people whose work you always admired and envied. And here was your chance to show them that you could do something. So I thought it provided a very special opportunity for young people. And that this is an environment that cultivated really good science. And a lot of give and take and discussion. It was always exciting to come here.
There were very few meetings that I’ve attended over the years that were as good as that. And of course I’m organizing one like that this year and so I have a lot of good feelings about this.
Charles Sherr earned his joint M.D./Ph.D. degree from New York University in 1973. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator based at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. His work focuses on retroviral oncogenes, growth factors and their receptors, and cell cycle control. In 1991, Sherr's laboratory discovered the mammalian D-type G1 cyclins and went on to identify the cyclin-dependent kinases with which they associate, as well as a series of polypeptide inhibitors that negatively regulate their activities.
Sherr is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has won numerous awards and is the author of more than 235 scientific articles. He joined the National Cancer Institute in 1973, becoming a member of the NIH staff in 1975 and head of the viral pathology section, Division of Cancer Cause and Prevention, in 1977. In 1983, he relocated to St. Jude. Sherr is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.