Recorded: 06 Sep 2001
I learned a lot of things with Arnie [Levine]. I think I learned many more practical things about what it means to be a scientist. I had some really great moments there like when I first arrived. Remember, I mentioned, in graduate school I had a great graduate experience but I worked on a project that didn’t have the full intensity of the laboratory. So I came to Arnie with a set of ideas, which is how Tom trained us, we wouldn’t didn’t sort of show up and say what is there for me to do. We came to labs saying, “This is something I like to do can I do it here?” Arnie said, "Sure you can do that here." So my first year was really outstanding because he was very involved in what was going on…very intense about the work. I loved having him come by my bench and see what was happening. I mean that was great. The project evolved to other places and I’m the kind of scientist that I usually don’t make investment in things that I don’t plan on following up. So I’m not very good at like getting off the track. And that caused some learning about what to do in those situations and I have to say in retrospect Arnie was very gracious about it. And so he basically said I’m not happy with this direction you’re taking but I will continue to support you while you do it. And since I left his laboratory, he’s been very good about, you know, reagents and things that I need he’s been very supportive there. The thing about Arnie—there’s some interesting things about him cause he was—when you ask what it was like being there—Arnie was very busy. I came to the laboratory at a time when it went from about ten people to twenty-five in less than a year. It was just this incredible expansion of people and you know all the things that happen in a laboratory and he managed that pretty well. He was able to—I think he’s just got this incredible energy. I used to watch him on the weekends. Arnie’s always working at his desk on the weekends visibly. But very accessible. So I think one of the things that he definitely has is tremendous energy to do all the things that he does.
James Sherley is a scientist on the forefront of adult stem-cell research. He earned his B.A. from Harvard University and his M.D./Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology (BCMB Program) from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
He was a Principal Investigator in the Division of Medical Science at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is currently a Principal Investigator at the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health at MIT. His present research is in integrated studies in somatic stem cell kinetics.
Sherley was honored as a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Science in 1993, and in 2001 became a Pew Science and Society Institute Fellow.