Recorded: 15 Jan 2003
I think there comes a point as you go through your career you have to reach certain milestones of achievement. And I think if you go down this path and after a certain period of time [if] it’s clear that you’re not meeting those goals, you might want to turn around and say, is this the road I want to travel professionally because you simply can’t get off to a bad start. I think a flying start is what’s required and Cold Spring Harbor provides to junior scientists the opportunity for a flying start. It is the foundation stone on which probably everything you do subsequently will be based. It’s a very strong foundation stone. So if you are lucky enough to be able to start your career in a place like Cold Spring Harbor you are launched along a pathway and you have every chance. You almost need to do something quite stupid in order to fail.
So my advice to a young person entering science is get yourself a good mentor. Get yourself into a good laboratory and start to establish a foundation stone for your scientific future.
Ashley Dunn is currently a Senior Consulting Scientist and member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Cryptome Pharmaceuticals Ltd., an Australian biotech company. He also serves on Australia’s Gene Technology Advisory Committee. He is the former Head of Molecular Biology in the Melbourne Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.
He came to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1976 to work with Joe Sambrook as a postdoctoral fellow and eventually became a junior faculty member.
His research has been concentrated on mammalian growth factors and the regulators responsible for the production of white blood cells in mice and men. He co-invented a mammalian blood cell regulator (GM-CSF), and his lab was the one of the first to establish gene targeting in the development of human diseases such as cancer.