Suzanne Cory on Jim Watson, Writer: The Double Helix
  Suzanne Cory     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

But going back to, of course, the story The Double Helix. I, and many others, have read that book many times and been quite amazed by it. Indeed I remember when I was a student at Cambridge the proofs of that book were being sent across the Atlantic and created quite some consternation in Cambridge.

The relationship between Watson and Crick at that time was not particularly good as you can imagine. And the style of this book was rather different than Cambridge expected and of course later it became a wonderful movie. And I always show this movie to the students at the school. And every time at the end when Rosalind Franklin is looking at the structure of the DNA and walking around it and just forgets all of the angst and all of the competition and just walks around it and says, “It is so beautiful.” I always burst into tears.

Suzanne Cory, is currently Director of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), joint head (with Professor Jerry Adams) of the Molecular Genetics of Cancer division at WEHI, and a professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne.

Dr. Cory, a biochemist and molecular oncologist, has focused her research interests in immunology and cancer development. Her current research on the Bcl-2 gene family, and how cells decide to live or die (apoptosis), will lead to the knowledge to develop specific therapeutics for cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Cory earned her PhD in 1968 from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, working on RNA sequencing with Nobelists Fred Sanger and Francis Crick. While at Cambridge, she met and later married scientist Jerry Adams. Following their post-doctoral work and beginning research partnership at the University of Geneva, Cory and Adams moved to Australia and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 1971. Their work at WEHI helped introduce gene cloning technology in Australia. In the 1980s they discovered the genetic mutation that leads to Burkett’s Lymphoma.

Suzanne Cory was invited to speak at the 1970 Symposium, and has attended many meetings and Symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since then. Dr. Cory has received numerous awards and honors, including the Companion of the Order of Australia, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and Fellow of the Royal Society. She is Deputy Chairman of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and a director of biotechnology company Bio21 Australia Limited.