Jim Dahlberg on Postdoctorate Research: Working with Frederick Sanger and Richard Epstein
  Jim Dahlberg     Biography    
Recorded: 04 Jun 2001

At that time I was looking for a place to get into a post doc. And a number of people had been talking about Cambridge, at the MRC lab in Cambridge, which of course has a great reputation and did at that time. And I decided that I would try to work with Fred Sanger. So I wrote to Fred and he accepted me. So it was really lucky. And then various people came through the lab in Chicago saying, you know, who had been at Cambridge. And so I was getting sort of feedback about what it was to work with Fred, and people say he’s just a prince of a guy. And it turned out to be true; he was a great person to work with. So that was a really good experience. That was ’66 to ’68, and then in ’68 I went to Geneva and spent one more year in Geneva working with Dick Epstein. And in Dick Epstein’s lab, I did some experiments with Dick, but then I started to collaborate with Charles Weissmann in Zurich. And post docs in Charles’s lab as well as Howard Goodman in Geneva and through this collaboration we did some sequencing of Qbeta RNA. And this is back in the mid ‘60s and it was a major event to get any kind of sequence. Nowadays, of course you get millions of nucleotides. My main paper coming out of Cambridge was a single author Nature paper where I published the sequence of nine or ten nucleotides. And times have changed. Then when I was in Geneva what we did with Charles Weissmann was to synthesize RNA invitro and sequence the synthesised product and that gave us a huge advantage for sequencing. And we were able to determine the sequence of about 160-170 nucleotides of Q-Beta in I’d say about four months, five months. And at that time that was a major event. And that was sort of the big thing I did in Geneva. I guess it was May or June of ’69, I came back to take a position at the University of Wisconsin.

Jim Dahlberg received his BA 1962, Haverford College, Pennsyvlania, completed his PhD 1966, University of Chicago. Dr. Dahlberg was a Postdoctoral Fellow from 1966-68 in the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge under the supervision of two-times Nobelist, Dr. Frederick Sanger. He also did worked in the 1968-69, Universite de Geneve under Dr. Richard Epstein.

Dr. Dahlberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, 1996, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiologists (1997) During his career he has been the recipient of many awards including Eli Lilly Award for Biological Chemistry, 1974; H.I. Romnes Faculty Research Fellowship, 1976; Philips Visitor, 1977; Josiah Macy, Jr. Faculty Scholar Award, 1979-80; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1982; Frederick Sanger Professorship, 1991; American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993; Fellow, U.W. Hilldale Professor, 1997; Buzzati-Traverso Award for Molecular Biology, Italian National Research Council, 1998; NIH Merit Award, 1998; European Molecular Biology Organization, Foreign Associate, 1998.


He is a frequent visitor to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as well as a speaker at many key Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology.

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