David Lane on Joe Sambrook at CSHL
  David Lane     Biography    
Recorded: 04 Jun 2001

Joe is an amazing person. I’ve known him for a long time. Actually we met very recently and we were both at a meeting in Norway and we spoke quite civilly to each other and it was kind of nice. We used to fight quite a lot. He was very tough and he had—Keith Willison and I were both here [Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory] at the same time. Keith had been to an English public school and I’d been to a quasi-public school. Joe was very working class British and he put it on for us very much so he thought we were a pair of ripe old stuck up idiots. He loved to tell us that, you public school boys, so it was, always like that. He encouraged me so much to come—when I arrived, he said, I’m fed up with this place. I’m off to Dallas. And he was going to go. I arrived and there was a very big difference between the American post docs and the UK ones. He thought we were kind of, almost like lost leaders, if we did something exciting that was great, if we didn’t, he didn’t mind. The American ones did work with him much more, they did organized projects and they had careers and stuff. But he just gave us enormous independence. I had complete independence. If it worked well, the interest and support was fantastic. If it didn’t work, they wanted to know why it wouldn’t. It was a very, it actually worked incredibly well, the atmosphere, in terms of making you feel able to tackle difficult things. Very supportive, if you got enthusiastic yourself about something, the support was tremendous. I mean, [for example] Jim Feramisco and I flew to Seattle to make peptides. We had this idea we were going to make antibodies [in]to peptides, which if we managed to do, we would have been famous. We went to see Joe and he said, I think it’s a good idea. He said to go and see Jim [Watson]. We went to see Jim and Jim says, okay, get on a plane; off you go, do it, no problem. I mean, the atmosphere of going for it was great.

David Lane, immunologist, is the Director of the Cancer Research UK Transformation Research Group at the University of Dundee, Department of Surgery and Molecular Oncology at the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland. Lane founded the Department of Surgery and Oncology in the University’s Medical School with Alfred Cucheiri, one of the pioneers in minimal access ("keyhole") surgery. Currently on leave from the University of Dundee, he the Executive Director of the IMCB in Singapore. Lane is also the founder and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Cyclacel, a Dundee based biotechnology company now listed on the NASDAQ. Shortly after receiving his Ph.D., he was recruited by Joe Sambrook to work at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with the Tumor Virus Group in the 70’s, where he also completed one of his books on antibodies. In 2000, Lane was knighted by Queen Elizabeth of England for his many contributions to science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the University College London.