Suzanne Cory on Coming to CSHL and Meeting Jim Watson
  Suzanne Cory     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

I do remember the first meeting because in fact it was my very first major talk at a scientific meeting. By this time Jerry and I had moved to Geneva where we were both postdoctoral fellows. So this is after the Cambridge phase. And Jim Watson wrote to me to give a talk on the work that we had been doing together which was on the structure on R17 bacteriophage RNA which we were studying as a model messenger RNA. And, first of all, I was amazed to get this letter and it was of course a project which Jerry had started so it was very generous of Jerry also to agree that I should give this talk. So here we flew across the Atlantic and it was my first visit to Cold Spring Harbor which I’ve come subsequently to call, as a friend said to me once, a “monastery of science.” In the summertime of course it’s quite a very sociable monastery of science when the meetings are on. So it was my first introduction to this beautiful place and this fountainhead of science. And I had to give the first talk at this meeting, so you know I’d never a talk in public like this before, a research talk. And it was at one of these very famous Cold Spring Harbor meetings.

This was in 1970. And actually looking back on it things have changed a lot. There were only two women on that program, myself and Barbara Hemencourt

And when I think about meetings now at Cold Spring Harbor, of course, it’s rather different. And I think that’s largely due to Jim [Watson]. I think that in fact he probably wrote to me to speak at the meeting because he was one of the very first people who realized that women in science should be much more proactively supported than they had until that time.

Suzanne Cory, is currently Director of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), joint head (with Professor Jerry Adams) of the Molecular Genetics of Cancer division at WEHI, and a professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne.

Dr. Cory, a biochemist and molecular oncologist, has focused her research interests in immunology and cancer development. Her current research on the Bcl-2 gene family, and how cells decide to live or die (apoptosis), will lead to the knowledge to develop specific therapeutics for cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Cory earned her PhD in 1968 from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, working on RNA sequencing with Nobelists Fred Sanger and Francis Crick. While at Cambridge, she met and later married scientist Jerry Adams. Following their post-doctoral work and beginning research partnership at the University of Geneva, Cory and Adams moved to Australia and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 1971. Their work at WEHI helped introduce gene cloning technology in Australia. In the 1980s they discovered the genetic mutation that leads to Burkett’s Lymphoma.

Suzanne Cory was invited to speak at the 1970 Symposium, and has attended many meetings and Symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since then. Dr. Cory has received numerous awards and honors, including the Companion of the Order of Australia, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and Fellow of the Royal Society. She is Deputy Chairman of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and a director of biotechnology company Bio21 Australia Limited.