1932

Abstract

This odyssey is mine from early junior high school, where my dreams for adventure were shaped by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Percival Christopher Wren's , and best of all the remarkable explorers in Paul de Kruif's . My birth site was in Manhattan (my mother was a Vogue model and my father worked in retail), and I traveled to college at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where my love of history and English literature was shaped along with a sufficient exposure to biology, chemistry, and genetics to meet requirements for entering medical school. By the second year at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, through expert teachers such as Theodore (Ted) Woodward and Sheldon (Shelly) Greisman in medicine and Charles Weissmann in virology and microbiology, I found that understanding why and how people became ill was more my cup of tea than identifying and treating their illnesses. Although I was becoming competent in diagnosis and treatment, I left medical school at the end of my sophomore year to seek a more basic understanding of biology and chemistry. I achieved this by working toward a PhD in biochemistry at Johns Hopkins McCollum-Pratt Institute combined with study of rickettsial toxin at Maryland. This was a very important time in my life, because it convinced me that addressing biologic and medical questions in a disciplined scientific manner was what my life voyage should be. That voyage led me initially, through Woodward's contact, to work a summer in Joe Smadel's unit at Walter Reed (Smadel being one of the deans of American virology) and to meet several times with Carleton Gajdusek and then John Enders at Harvard, who pointed me to Frank Dixon at Scripps in La Jolla, California, for postdoctoral training. Dixon was among the founders of modern immunology and a pathfinder for immunopathology. Training by and association with Dixon and his other postdoctoral fellows, my independent position at Scripps, early polishing by Karl Habel (a superb senior virologist who left the National Institutes of Health and came to Scripps), and the gifted postdoctoral fellows who joined my laboratory over four decades form the log of my scientific voyage. The strong friendships and collaborations developed with other young but growing experimentalists like Bernie Fields and Abner Notkins are the fabric of the tale I will weave and were pivotal in the establishment of viral pathogenesis as a discipline.

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2016-05-23
2024-06-24
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