Joan Steitz on Jim Watson, Mentor
  Joan Steitz     Biography    
Recorded: 04 Aug 2003

Well, Jim was not working in the lab. Wally was working in the lab and Klaus Weber was working in the lab. Jim was not working in the lab. Jim would sort of pop in and say, “How’s it going?” And he was certainly very much on top of people during seminars. People would start out and they’d get five minutes into their talk and Jim would say,” Stop right here. Go back to the beginning and tell everybody what you’re talking about. And what you’re going to tell them and then you can start telling them.” So it’s things like that—like learning when you’re going to give a talk you have to tell people what you’re going to tell them before you tell it to them. That is a very valuable—one of the many very valuable lessons that I learned from Jim while there.

Joan Steitz is a prominent molecular biologist who earned her Ph.D. under Jim Watson at Harvard University in 1967. She joined the faculty at Yale University in 1970 and is currently the Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and the Director of the Molecular Genetics Program at the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine at Yale. She is also an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Steitz’s research involves determining the structure and function of small RNA-protein complexes.

She has received numerous awards including the National Medal of Science (1986), the Weizmann Women and Science Award (1994), the Novartis Drew Award in Biomedical Research (1999), the UNESCO-L'Oréal Women in Science Award (2001), and the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research (2002).