Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Revolution in the Biological Sciences: Conversation wtih Sir John Gurdon, Professor of Cell Biology, Cambridge University, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology, March 16, 2006, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Professor Sir John Gurdon, who is a researcher at the Wellcome/Trust Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology, and he served as its first chairman from 1998 to 2001. He is a professor of cell biology in the University of Cambridge and he served as Master of Magdalen College, Cambridge, from 1995 to 2002. In the spring of 2006 he is visiting the Berkeley campus as the Hitchcock lecturer.

  1. Background ... supportive parents and a good education ... mother's support of scientific study ... teacher's discouragement ... classicist ... Ph.D. on nuclear transplantation
  2. Developmental Biologist ... perseverence ... detailed, hands-on work ... rewards of scientific work ... working as an individual vs. member of a team ... postdoc work at CalTech ... early nucleic transfer work ... a counterintuitive discovery ... the right frog
  3. The Excitement of Discovery ... microscope serendipity ... cloned tadpole ... genetic marker proves the results ... revolutionary concept of genetic expression ... decades-long gap in successful cloning ... Dolly
  4. How the Cell Develops ... cell commitment ... the four guideposts to cell development ... space, time, and concentration ... extraordinary degree of precision ... therapeutic implications
  5. Hopes and Concerns ... ethical concerns ... commercialization potential ... losing students to financial careers ... next stages of research ... overcoming opposition


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