Michael Ashburner on Writing Science: Drosophila Book
  Michael Ashburner     Biography    
Recorded: 03 Jul 2003

Oh, painful! Painful. I don’t know quite why I do it actually.

You have to be clear. I mean if you can’t write clearly and reasonably elegantly even though the science may be good it’s not going to be much pleasure to read. I don’t quite know why I did this big Drosophila book. I’ve edited books before. I edited a big multi-volume book of Drosophila in the ‘70s and the early ‘80s. I actually did that really to educate myself. I got lots of people to write reviews for me and that’s great.

The first publication was done with Ed Novitsky. Ed Novitsky is a very interesting character. Ed Novitsky and Ed Lewis were at high school together in some small town in Pennsylvania. They got interested in genetics and started corresponding with Calvin Bridges.

Michael Ashburner, a leader in Drosophila Genetics and bioinformatics, received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College.

He has been the joint head of European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and was co-founder of Flybase, the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the Gene Ontology Consortium, an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster.

Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).

Michael Ashburner