Ron Plasterk on Ira Herskowitz
  Ron Plasterk     Biography    
Recorded: 07 Jun 2004

Ira Herskowitz, actually the first meeting I went to was, I believe it was a phage meeting, he was there. The first meeting at Cold Spring Harbor. I even remember walking down Blackford hall with my tray and talking about an invertible second that I was working on because Nick Cozzarelli was asking me questions because he wanted to work on the topology of that so I was talking to Nick Cozzarelli. I ended up at a table of all these big shots. There was Alan Campbell, who discovered lambda integration in a way that worked with the episome and a couple of other people, also Ira Herskowitz. So I was very impressed and I thought you know I’m new so let’s do the right thing. So I’m just minding my own business, eating my food and listening to all these great people. So at some point, Ira Herskowitz said, “Oh, there’s one thing you have to learn Ron.” So I thought what the hell am I doing wrong? He said, “Spare ribs you eat with your hands.” So now I know.

Ronald Plasterk, is a Dutch politician of the Labour Party and successful scientist and molecular genetics. He studied biology at the Leiden University and economics at the University of Amsterdam. In 1981 he received the Dutch doctorandus degree in biology. In 1984 he earned a doctorate in mathematics and natural sciences from the University of Leiden.

After receiving his Ph.D. he moved to California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and worked as a post-doc (1985-1986) on the transposon sequences in DNA in the parasite Borrelia hermsii. Plasterk was also a post-doc at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (1986-1987) where he studied Caenorhabditis elegans, a nematode that is used as a model organism. His major area of research include genetics and functional genomics.

He came back to the Netherlands in 1987 and became a group leader and member of the board of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Between 1989 and 2000 he was director of the research school of oncology at the institute. From 1997 till 2000 he was professor of molecular genetics at the University of Amsterdam. In 2000 was appointed director of the Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology (Hubrecht Laboratory) and at the same time he was a professor in developmental genetics at Utrecht University.

In February 2007 Ronald Plasterek was appointed minister of Education, Culture and Science in the fourth Balkenende government and he decided to end his scientific career. He held this position until February 2010. He is a member of the House of Representatives and Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

More Information: Wikipedia