Renato Dulbecco on Mentors: Luria and Levy
  Renato Dulbecco     Biography    
Recorded: 22 Feb 2011

I'd say Levy, he was a professor who anatomy, and uh, but then, he had a big view of anatomy, so that he would support the study of anatomy, devoted his main, especially the function, how does this body function? Why does it function? And what are the results of that? So, there's lots of interesting questions arising. And we had been working on some of them all the time, so what else did you ask me?

Oh, Luria, he was very important to me because when I... when I reached a certain degree of maturation here-- sit down-- I... I'd been with Levy first, because Levy was essentially my professor in general, a supervisor and so on. And then I started needing somebody who could be more direct leader, and that by lots of reasoning it turned out that Luria, excuse me, was the one. And, so then because see Levy-- anatomy is a kind of general questions, lots of questions in the field, a large field, and Luria, viruses, that's much more limited field. But on the other hand, it has lots of questions that can be answered, because viruses can do lots of things. Can kill cells. Can favor the--- of cells. Can change cells characteristics. So viruses, so many possibilities that it becomes extremely interesting to study them, in connection with all these factors. That is how I chose Luria. Luria had already worked on certain viruses, there are viruses that grow in, anywhere. So he had selected certain viruses that grows, sometimes they grow in bacteria, for instance. In other cases, viruses grows human cells or animal cells. So, of course, each one of these characteristics leaves certain imprint on the virus itself. So, it's great interest therefore to determine all these imprinting and determine how they're made, what is there effect, the effects which can be very numerous.

Luria was very good, because, see he came to Italy during the period when I was uncertain about what to do. And so I learned more about what he was interested in, what he was doing, and so on. And, uh, so that kind of directs me. Thinking that really, the direction or the route of things is really very interesting. And that maybe I should follow that. So I went to work with him when he was in Italy, for several months I think. Or maybe even more. And then by doing this, I got very involved in the work that he was doing, and then I thought I should do it to. Because there's such tremendous possibilities. And so, I asked him, and he said yes, if I wanted to do so, it could be arranged. Because he was going back to the States, and he could arrange to meet me wherever...

He suggested would to do general. So then he said that I should work with him. And then so he arranged for me to get me a fellowship, and gave me a place to work, and it was wonderful. I stayed with him for several years.

Renato Dulbecco was born in Catanzaro,Italy, in 1914. He studied medicine in Turin before joining the Italian Resistance movement against Benito Mussolini during theSecond Wold War.

After the war Dulbecco emigrated to the United States and worked with Salvador Luria at the University of Indiana before moving on to the University of California.

Won the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 1964.

Won the 1975 Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology with David Baltimore and Howard Temin "for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell".