Suzanne Cory on Adams-Capecchi PNAS Paper
  Suzanne Cory     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

Oh, yes. Another quite amazing event in this early history was when I was doing my master’s degree at Melbourne University. And I had to give my first scientific talk so it was meant to be a talk about a paper in the literature. And I gave it on a paper that I’d just read in PNAS in which it excited me enormously because it was this very important discovery about how proteins, how protein synthesis in bacteria initiates. And it was a paper by [Jerry] Adams and [Mario] Cappechi. And I read this paper and summarized it for this talk and then I looked and I realized in the footnote that Adams and Cappechi, Jerry Adams and Mario Cappechi, were in fact still only Ph.D. students and Jim Watson was their mentor.

So two things struck me about that paper: first of all, the importance of the paper itself and amazingly [that] it was done by Ph.D. students. You didn’t have to be a world famous, well established scientist to do really revolutionary science and the second thing was that Jim, as their mentor, had been generous enough to not put his name on their paper and I find that quite a remarkable finding.

Little did I know that I would eventually meet Jerry Adams and finally, of course, ultimately marry him and work with him for my entire life. So that was a pretty amazing event looking back on it.

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.