Bruce Roe on Teaching Science
  Bruce Roe     Biography    
Recorded: 29 May 2003

I think it’s actually what sort of sets my life apart, and what sets me apart in the genome project. I’ve graduated almost thirty PhDs in my thirty-two years or something of doing this stuff. And several of them are heading genome centers now. Rick Wilson is at Washington University, Stephanie Chiso is at Glaxo-Welcome, you know, Sandy Clifton, Eli Martis are at Washington University, Elson Chen was at Applied Biosystems so that people are all over, all over. And they’re very active in the genome project. There are a dozen people at this meeting that were PhD students of mine. Plus I’ve had over two hundred and fifty undergraduate students working in my lab. And those two hundred and fifty are now in medical school, and through medical school and I’ve got more OB/Gyn’s and dentists and brain surgeons and everyone else running around. I’ve got several that are interested in infectious diseases. So I think that my role in the genome project and my role as a scientist has really not been as a scientist. But been as an educator/scientist. I look myself, I guess, as a teacher first then as a scientist second. And that’s just different. I spend my entire twelve hour day interacting with students all of the time. Whether they’re students or technicians or whatever, talking about science. I’ve the only lab that you’ll ever talk with somebody [that] never has a group meeting. We don’t have organized group meetings. We meet in small groups all of the time, okay? We meet as small groups all the time as a handful of people, three people, and six people. Hey, let’s talk about this. Because it’s a problem that one person’s having so we bring in several other people into it. My job is to teach, all right? Sitting here talking to you we could talk forever because I would to explain all this to you, right? And is to make it explainable. I teach the pre-med biochemistry course with two hundred and twenty students in it. I teach the graduate molecular biology course. So I give about one hundred and fifty lectures a year, plus try and run a genome center with sixty people.

Bruce Roe is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a Ph.D in biochemistry from the University of Western Michigan and received a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship to research at SUNY Stony Brook. He spent his 1978-79 sabbatical at Fred Sanger’s lab, where he helped develop the renowned method of DNA sequencing currently used today.

Roe is founding director of the Advanced Center for Genomic Technology (ACGT) at the U. of Oklahoma, one of the first large-scale sequencing facilities in the US. At present, the ACGT innovates computational and robotic methods to analyze DNA sequence results and is currently determining the nucleotide sequence of five microbial genomes. In 1999, Roe’s research led to the elucidation and publication of the complete sequence of human chromosome 22. This was the first human chromosome to be sequenced in its entirely.

He has attended genome meetings and symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for over 20 years.