Peter Little on Advice to Young Scientists
  Peter Little     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

Okay, it’s the same piece of advice. It’s ultimately the only thing you can do in science is to do what you find most interesting. And if you start with that aim, then there will be occasions where you have to, of course, do things which bore you but you have to do them just to be able to survive and to understand the science that you are doing. But I mean I’ve had a charmed life. I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do. And if you can say that in your life, that’s terrific. That’s the only advice that I would give to somebody.

Science is a very difficult life. It’s not well paid frequently. It’s very hard work. It can be extraordinarily frustrating. It can be very, very damaging to the psyche. You know, failing to get grants, failing to get things published. Enormous kicks to your ability. So it’s a hard life. So I think that the only reason for doing it is to do it because you really love it. And I think you see a lot of people who don’t really love science. And don’t really respect science just for itself. And that’s actually a little sad. And they find it very difficult to get the satisfaction that is embedded in science. So it’s the same piece of advice. Do it because you really love it, but don’t do it for any other reason.

Peter Little is a bioinformatics researcher, professor of medical biochemistry and the head of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He received his Ph.D. working with recombinant DNA under Ed Southern and Peter Walker at Edinburgh University. In 1976, Little cloned a human gene – the second time this was ever accomplished.

Little’s laboratory studies the genetic basis of gene expression, and genetic variation as it pertains to the regulatory regions of the genes. He has hypothesized that there are two types of genetic variation that alter gene expression. His lab has also created advanced techniques for testing genetically influenced transcript variations.

He comes to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory regularly for genome meetings and symposia.