In this perspective I look back on the twists and turns that influenced the direction of my scientific career over the past 40 years. From my early ambition to be a chemist to my training in Philadelphia and Bethesda as a molecular biologist, I benefited enormously from generous and valuable mentoring. In my independent career in Philadelphia and Princeton, I was motivated by a keen interest in the changes in gene expression that direct the development of the mammalian embryo and inspired by the creativity and energy of my students, fellows, and research staff. After twelve years as President of Princeton University, I have happily returned to the faculty of the Department of Molecular Biology.


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