Recorded: 14 May 2004
Yes, I have the best Jim Watson story. When I first came to Houston as a young postdoc, I was in the laboratory of Thomas Caskey in Houston. He had invited Jim Watson and Tom Maniatis—Tom Maniatis, [was] also very famous at that time; they came to visit. He gave the opportunity to me and another postdoc to meet with them, that we were looking forward to.
Well, I arrived at the lab and a little later in the day the secretary called me and she said to me [that] Dr. Watson and Dr. Maniatis are in that room. They are waiting for Dr. Caskey, who is keeping them waiting because he is seeing a patient. She sent me in there. I walked in not knowing what to do with these two famous people. I looked at them and I said, “Which one is Dr. Watson?” Of course, he was a little older than Dr. Maniatis, so I think that they thought it was very funny that I would do that. They were both very gracious and they both talked about my experiments I’d done which I was to show off to them. They were so gracious and so supportive that it really made a big impression upon me.
Richard A. Gibbs is currently the Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the Wofford Cain Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Radiation Biology in 1985 at the University of Melbourne in Australia. In 1990 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, studying the molecular basis of human X-linked diseases and developing technologies for rapid genetic analysis. He developed several fundamental technologies for nucleic acid analysis. In 1991, he joined the BCM faculty and played a key role in the early planning and development phases of the Human Genome Project. In 1996, he established the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center when Baylor was chosen as one of six programs to complete the final phase of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Gibbs has also made significant contributions to the deciphering of the fly, mouse, dictyostelium, and rat genomes. Among the numerous awards and honors received by Dr. Gibbs, he was awarded the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Excellence in Research Award in 2000.