Recorded: 15 Jan 2003
Well, maybe I should tell you first what I heard about Jim Watson because, of course, I was still a student at Melbourne University. And hearing the first discoveries about the structure of DNA and chromosomes being an entire huge molecule of DNA totally inspired me. And I fell in love with molecular biology. So Watson and Crick’s discovery, I think, is the foundation of my passion for science and a passion for genetics and DNA has never left me. So I owe Watson and Crick both an enormous debt.
So when I was thinking of a career in science, I thought I would like to go to either Watson’s lab or Crick’s lab. I actually chose to go to the U.K. and to Crick’s lab or Crick’s department at the MRC, the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. And, of course, ultimately, that’s where I met Jerry Adams who was to be my future husband and scientific partner, my lifelong scientific partner. And he, of course, had been a Ph.D. student with Jim Watson, so our lives are intertwined with Watson and Crick if you like.
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.