Recorded: 08 Aug 2001
We had a number of times where we had set out to find something and then those results came basically in one day. You know, you would work, work, work, work, work and then there would be day, you’d say: “Yes!” And that would be it, now we understand that. Jeff had a gel showing—we’d sort of design the experiment as a group and Jeff found the mate of the cut in the chromosome, the mating type locus. There were a set of bands and when you had two bands that hybridized that means it was cut in the homothalic strains. While switching was going on, which meant that there was actually a cut in the DNA to make switching happen. Fred Heffron started looking for the enzymes for that. I remember that day as well. And the day that Kim Nasymth showed that the chromatin was actually changed in the silent loci versus the express loci. There all details, but they’re what you live for at the time.
James Hicks is a pioneer in the field of yeast genetics. He earned his Ph.D. degree in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Oregon, working with Ira Herskowitz.
Hicks researched with Jeff Strathern and Amar Klar in the Cold Spring Harbor Yeast group from 1977 to 1984 where they made outstanding discoveries about the mechanism of mating type switching in yeast.
Hicks is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of ViroGenomics, a Portland biotech company that is searching for new treatments for chronic and acute viral disease.