Mary Jane Gething on Jim Watson
  Mary Jane Gething     Biography    
Recorded: 16 Jan 2003

He [Jim Watson] certainly would have attended open seminars in James, but he didn’t come to the James in-house. I mean, in fact he very rarely came into James Lab. You know his office was, he talked to people in the offices but he didn’t come into the lab part. Or occasionally he might be looking for Joe and he would sort of poke his head around, but he didn’t—I think he felt it was Joe’s scientific territory, yeah. Because he certainly was known to spend much more time in McClintock or in Demerec or wherever than he did in James.

Because I was in James and probably because I was involved with Joe I didn’t have much scientific, direct scientific contact or discussion with Jim. But we saw a lot of him socially and the thing that I am most taken with Jim is that he—his judgment of people is just amazing. And he almost seems to do it by osmosis. I don’t know where it comes from. He can talk to a potential, you know, sort of postdoc even for five minutes and come out and say, “Yes, take that person.” Or, “No.” And by their subsequent careers he’s on the money. So somehow he has this innate sense of people. And I suspect it’s not just scientific, it’s in all areas, all theatres of life.

Mary-Jane Gething, biochemist is Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne where she earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1974. Subsequently she went to Cambridge to do post-doctoral work.

In 1976, she moved to London to work on protein sequencing and in 1980, Gething and Joseph Sambrook received a NATO grant for travel to collaborate on virus research. She began working at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1982 where she continued her research of proteins. In 1985, Gething and Sambrook moved to Dallas to work at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. They moved back to Australia in 1994.

Her current research involves protein folding in the cell and the role of molecular chaperone BiP.