Tom Maniatis on Jim Watson as a Mentor
  Tom Maniatis     Biography    
Recorded: 22 Mar 2003

He has always given me advice. When I had difficult decisions to make or questions about my life in some ways, too. He’s always been very thoughtful in that way. Again it’s what I’ve mentioned before is that underneath this veneer of being this kind of uncaring, very self-centered person is that he really does care for people and that’s the way he expresses it, through his advice and mentoring.

So even though Jim, you know, was never officially my mentor, you know, I was never in his lab or anything. I consider him that because all through my career he’s been there to give me advice at the right time.

Tom Maniatis, molecular biologist, is a leader in the field of recombinant DNA. At Vanderbilt University he completed his Ph.D. studying DNA wide-angle scattering. He became a postdoctoral fellow and professor at Harvard University and met Jim Watson just before he became director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

While Maniatis was beginning experimentation with cDNA cloning and gene regulation of higher cells, the controversy over recombinant DNA in Cambridge stunted his progression. Watson offered Maniatis a position at CSHL where he could work more efficiently to understand the methods of recombinant DNA. At CSHL, Maniatis completed full-length synthesis of double stranded DNA and actual cloning of cDNA.

He is currently a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University studying the mechanisms involved in the regulation of RNA transciption and pre-messenger RNA splicing. He studies transcription to understand how eukaryotic genes are activated by viral infection and extracellular signals.