Recorded: 03 Jul 2003
Francis and Sydney were amazing at that time in the 60s. They shared this office about half the size of this room with a big blackboard. The door was always open and the door had a notice on it, which said “Lab members just come in, anyone else go and see the secretary.” You could just walk in there and be sitting there or they’d be arguing and talking and it was a very exciting time.
I think Francis is clearly—I think the greatest biologist since Darwin, I mean he is amazing. But Sydney is also pretty amazing. It’s wonderful that Sydney got the Nobel Prize last year.
Michael Ashburner, a leader in Drosophila Genetics and bioinformatics, received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College.
He has been the joint head of European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and was co-founder of Flybase, the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the Gene Ontology Consortium, an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster.
Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).