Gerald Rubin on The Watson School
  Gerald Rubin     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

Of course, this has been a long time dream of Jim from the very beginning, to have a graduate school, for at least fifteen years he’s been talking about this. The difficulty of getting it accredited in the State of New York to do this. So I think it’s great that it’s happening.

I think graduate schools like at Cold Spring Harbor, they really have a very special place because in big universities it’s very formal and so this kind of environment from my experience being here as an URP as a place for a graduate school is really unusual. And I think it’s exactly perfect for a certain kind of student. And I think they’re done, you know, tremendously well getting very, very talented people to come here. And I think they’ve done a good job of training them.I think it’s great.

I went to England because I didn’t want to take classes. You know, I’ve never had a formal class in genetics. I’ve never taken a class in cell biology. I’ve never taken a class in developmental biology. I’ve never missed any classes. I don’t like formal education. I went to England because I had no classes, no qualifying exam, no TA. In fact, you say, you film a matchbook cover and you send me $ 25.00 and you get your degree. It’s none of this stuff. I think the programs are too formal. So Cold Spring Harbor is much, say much more of a European type program.And now people are far too old by the time they get to be independent. I mean five, six, seven years a graduate student, five years a postdoc. So they're already to retire before they have independence. And so I think these are the problem. Now you are actually getting the Ph.D. in the United States, getting it in four years and getting on with your life. I think it’s a wonderful step in the right direction. And so I’m all for that program.

Gerald Rubin is a geneticist, molecular and cell biologist. As Director of the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project, he led the sequencing of the entire fruit fly genome. Currently, as Vice President and Director of the Janelia Farm Research Campus at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia, his research focus is on developing the biological and computer tools that are capable of analyzing and displaying the vast amount of information available from the genomic DNA sequencing of the fruit fly. He uses these advanced techniques to decipher gene regulation and expression at a genome-wide level in Drosophila and determine the function of certain fruit fly genes.

Gerald Rubin is also a professor of Genetics and Development at the University of California, Berkeley. He came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as an URP (Undergraduate Research Program) in the early 70’s working under Lionel Crawford and Ray Gesteland before moving to Cambridge to earn his Ph.D. in molecular biology. He did postdoctoral work at Stanford University School of Medicine and became an assistant professor of biological chemistry at Harvard Medical School prior to commencing his genetics professorship at Berkeley in 1983.

Gerald Rubin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Among the awards he has received is the American Chemical Society Eli Lilly Award in biological chemistry.