Peter Little on Public Science Education
  Peter Little     Biography    
Recorded: 30 May 2003

I think that’s the only thing to do. I passionately believe in education. I really do. I mean it’s a luxury to be able to do science without educating people. So scientists actually do educate people, they educate their own researchers if nothing else. But educating students formally, I think, is really very important. So I really enjoy teaching students. There’s a lot of self interest in that as well. But it teaches me what’s important in the things that I do; so teaching students what I used, I then wrote books about it. And it’s by having taught those students that I know what’s interesting to people who don’t know very much about science.

So I think the idea of Cold Spring Harbor continue to have a really serious educational program is really very important. And it has a tremendous impact. I mean the DNA Learning Center and the attempts that are being made to make people really understand that the Cold Spring Harbor—their web based archives on eugenics are fantastic things. I mean it really is an important educational effort. And I hope it never stops and I hope it gets stronger. And I would only see that as strength in one place I have to say.

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.

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