Sydney Brenner on Jim Watson, Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  Sydney Brenner     Biography    
Recorded: 10 Jun 2002

I also have admired Jim very much for Cold Spring Harbor. You know, once I can remember I walked around with Jim in 1954 in Cold Spring Harbor, we went for a walk there. And he said, “There’s only two jobs I would like in the world. One, I wanted to be director of this place, and the other is to be director of the virus laboratory at Berkeley.” You see, but he had a very close thing with Cold Spring Harbor in many ways, you know, there were many difficult times. And I think when Jim decided to come down and, you know, what he’s been able to accomplish there has been—I mean, Jim knows how to organize these things and I think with everything he’s done, he’s made it an absolutely a prime center. Well, yes, I think it was getting very much run-down.

Sydney Brenner is a pioneer in the field of molecular biology. He was born in South Africa in 1927 and received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1954. From 1979 to 1986 he served as Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology and from 1986 to 1991, as the Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory Molecular Genetics Unit, both in Cambridge, England.

Since 1996 he has been the President and Director of Science at the Molecular Sciences Institute in La Jolla and Berkeley. Brenner was honored as a Distinguished Research Professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla in 2000.

In 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine with Dr. John Sulston and Dr. Robert Horvitz “for their discoveries concerning ‘genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death’” studying the organism C. elegans.