Jerry Adams on Scientific & Personal Life
  Jerry Adams     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

In regard to how we keep the two separate: the scientific life and the personal life. I guess we’ve just had a few rules. No science in bed, no science before breakfast and at other times we do try to turn off, especially on the weekends especially now that we’ve got two great daughters cause we want to try and enjoy their company as much as we can. So we do try and turn off a lot. But at the same time we also find ourselves working a lot even, so we do discuss a lot of science at home, sure.

Jerry Adams, currently Professor and Joint Head of Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, is noted for his achievements in molecular biology, immunology and the molecular genetics of cancer. After completing his BSc in Chemistry at Emory University in 1962, he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard under James Watson. During this time, Adams and Mario Capecchi discovered the initiation mechanism for polypeptides. Adams earned his degree in 1967 and went on to do post-doctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, where he met his wife, Suzanne Cory. They did further research in Geneva, and in 1972 joined The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

Adams and his research team have made many major contributions to medical science. They were the first to clone mammalian genes in Australia and discovered: (i) that antibody genes encode to recombine in a myriad of ways to fight infection; (ii) the genetic mutation that leads to Burkitt’s lymphoma and (iii) the connection between apoptosis and cancer, while studying bcl-2 gene in follicular lymphoma (with David Vaux).

Adams is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (1986), a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1992), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Victoria (1997) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.