Jerry Adams on Jim Watson, Molecular Biology of the Gene
  Jerry Adams     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

Moving on to talking about his other writing, and I think his textbook writing I think has been very influential because it—the way he laid out, just having simple statements, then sort of subtitles actually saying in a definite way a statement like, “The Ribosome is a machine for making protein.” I think was very different from the way that most scientific takes have been written before that. That sort of way of—explicit statements influenced, I think, a lot of scientific writing. I sort of always wondered if maybe the general format of "Cell" wasn’t strong—which is one of the perhaps the most influential journal in our field, wasn’t influenced a lot by that textbook.

Well there are unique aspects to it, that’s for sure. The way of seeing everything in a very personal perspective, the directness, that is the features that stand out to me and make it very interesting indeed.

Jerry Adams, currently Professor and Joint Head of Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, is noted for his achievements in molecular biology, immunology and the molecular genetics of cancer. After completing his BSc in Chemistry at Emory University in 1962, he completed his Ph.D. at Harvard under James Watson. During this time, Adams and Mario Capecchi discovered the initiation mechanism for polypeptides. Adams earned his degree in 1967 and went on to do post-doctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, where he met his wife, Suzanne Cory. They did further research in Geneva, and in 1972 joined The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

Adams and his research team have made many major contributions to medical science. They were the first to clone mammalian genes in Australia and discovered: (i) that antibody genes encode to recombine in a myriad of ways to fight infection; (ii) the genetic mutation that leads to Burkitt’s lymphoma and (iii) the connection between apoptosis and cancer, while studying bcl-2 gene in follicular lymphoma (with David Vaux).

Adams is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (1986), a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1992), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Victoria (1997) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.