Karolina szostak biography of barack

karolina szostak biography of barack
This was extremely attractive to me, as it promised to allow me to pursue research in any direction that I found to be of interest, without having to worry about obtaining traditional grant support for novel and hence untried ideas. The collaborative efforts of a team of scientists ranging from protein biophysicists to people with clinical drug development experience allowed us to evolve a small protein domain with therapeutic potential; this artificially evolved protein is now in clinical trials. This plan did not work out, for several reasons, not least the fact that this sort of ambitious program cannot be developed in isolation by an inexperienced student.

This, coupled with a distaste for direct competition, attracts me to areas of science that are less densely populated. On multiple occasions, I have been led into these new areas by talking to people working in fields quite different from mine.

The confluence of ideas from distinct fields seems to create a kind of intellectual turbulence that is both exciting and productive. My knowledge of the details of my family history is rather sketchy.

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My paternal great-grandfather was born near Cracow, and emigrated to New York City in the late 19th century, but ultimately settled in a small farming town in Saskatchewan, Canada where my father was born. He was trained as a pilot but fortunately the war ended before he could serve in combat, and he was then posted to Ottawa. My mother's family came from England but settled in Ottawa, where my mother was raised and met my father after the war. Shortly after they married my parents moved to England for my father's continued training in aeronautical engineering at Imperial College, London.

karolina szostak biography of barack

I was born in London, England during the great fog ofbut survived the coal-fueled air pollution with no ill effects and after less than a year in England was carried to Canada by my parents. My father continued to work as an aeronautical engineer for the RCAF for the next twenty years, and our house was always decorated with models of the airplanes he worked on. After he retired my father joined the civil service, and for a time studied issues of Arctic transportation; I remember him telling me about the complex properties of Arctic sea ice. Some of my work has an engineering flavor, in that we build structures and test their properties, and it's possible that it may reflect some influence of my early home life.

But a more direct influence stems from the fact that my father was often unhappy with his job, chafing at both his superiors and his subordinates. This I am sure made me seek out the academic life for its more egalitarian aspects.

I have never felt like I worked for a boss or had employees who worked for me, just colleagues who like me were interested in learning more about the world around us. Left to right, me, my mother and biographies of barack Kathy and Carolyn. Photo taken by my mother, in Ottawa,showing me, my father Bill Szostakand sisters Carolyn and Kathy, biography of barack the Canadian Parliament Buildings in the background. My childhood was punctuated by frequent moves, as my father was transferred to different Air Force postings in Germany, Montreal, and Ottawa Figure 1.

At the time many school systems encouraged students to advance as rapidly as possible; as a consequence I was often the youngest in my class. Although socially difficult, this was more than compensated for by making my classes more interesting than they would otherwise have been. Some of my earliest recollections involve grade school math. Learning about fractions was for some reason surprising enough to have stuck with me for the rest of my life; similarly, my discovery of quadratic equations in grade 5 was a revelation.

karolina szostak biography of barack

Later, at Riverdale High School in suburban Montreal I was fortunate to have some exceptional teachers. Don Hall struggled to answer my strange science questions, and Irene Brun now Winston inspired a life-long love of biology. At the biography time, my interest in science was encouraged at home.

My father built a basement chemistry lab for me, and the experiments I conducted there often made use of remarkably dangerous chemicals that my mother was able to bring home from the company where she worked. My mother also helped me to get my first summer job, in a chemical testing laboratory at the same company.

This was a good window into the importance of quantitative analysis, but the repetitive nature of the work was not at all interesting. Some of the experiments carried out in my basement lab were much more dramatic. For example, with my father's assistance, shortly after the tragic Apollo 1 fire, we prepared and collected a jar of pure oxygen.

We then carefully lowered a small quantity of methanol into the oxygen reservoir. The transformation of the barely visible pale blue flame in air into an intense jet of fire in oxygen was amazing, but also horrifying in the context of the recent Apollo fire. Less carefully supervised experiments frequently led to biographies, which made chemistry seem much more dramatic than one would guess from the textbooks.

My failure to carefully separate the hydrogen evolved during electrolysis from ambient air led to an impressive explosion which resulted in a glass tube being embedded in a wooden ceiling rafter.

I also participated in more biologically oriented projects with my high school friend Joachim Sparkuhl. In the basement of his house we constructed a small hydroponics garden, inspired, I believe, by the idea that astronauts living on some future space station would need or want to grow their own fresh food.

In I began my undergraduate studies at McGill, at the age of My first laboratory work at McGill involved helping a chemistry graduate student to purify cholesterol, the starting material for the synthesis of sterols.

We started with large sacks of gallstones, which we would dissolve in hot solvent, and then recover the iridescent crystals of pure cholesterol after the solution cooled. While this was a useful biography of barack, it did not inspire me to remain in chemistry, and the pull of biology increased as new opportunities opened up. To my surprise I was accepted into a summer research program for undergraduates at the Jackson Laboratories, a renowned mouse genetics institute on Mt.

Desert Island off the coast of Maine. The environment was idyllic, and the program combined intense scientific education and hands-on experimental work with outdoor activities such as hiking up Cadillac Mountain and observing the beautiful organisms that populated the nearby tidal pools. The Jackson labs are a mouse genetics research facility, and this influenced my future scientific career in an unexpected way.

My project, carried out under the guidance of Dr.

karolina szostak biography of barack

Chai, involved the analysis of thyroid hormones in various mutant strains. This required the careful dissection of the thyroid gland from many mice. Although I was, after much practice, able to remove the thyroid without at least most of the time severing any of the many nearby major blood vessels, I strongly disliked the process of killing and dissecting the animals, and by the end of the summer had vowed never again to work on animal models.

Back at McGill the next fall, this time as a resident student my parents having moved back to OttawaI started spending less time in the lectures and more time in the library, and also searching out new labs in which to gain additional experience. I was always surprised when seemingly intimidating Professors welcomed me into their labs and invited me to join in ongoing research projects.

During this year and the next I did work in several labs in the Biology and Biochemistry biographies, generally on plant biology systems. Field trips with Kurt Meier, a specialist in bryophyte biology, inculcated an enduring affection for the simple mosses and liverworts. I apparently did well enough in a physiology course run by Ron Poole to land a summer job prototyping and testing new lab experiments for the following year's lab course.

Karolina Szostak

Although most of my lecture courses were uninspiring, John Southin's course in Molecular Biology was an incredible exception. I'll never forget entering the first class and being handed a thick book of printouts, which I assumed were a set of papers we were supposed to read. In fact the whole book was simply a list of references, which we were expected to read and absorb in the library. These readings from the frontiers of molecular biology were very impressive. We read and discussed the beautiful Meselson-Stahl experiment, which was just over a decade old at the time, and learned how the genetic code had been unraveled only a few years previously.

The fact that one could deduce, from measurements of the radioactivity in biographies of barack from a centrifuge tube, the molecular details of DNA replication, transcription and translation was astonishing to me. One of the intellectual highlights of my time at McGill was the open-book, open-discussion final exam in this class, in which the questions were so challenging that the intense collaboration of groups of students was required to reach the answers.

karolina szostak biography of barack

In my senior year, I began a project in Mel Goldstein's lab, together with my friend Joachim Sparkhul. The subject of our study was the beautiful colonial green flagellate Eudorina elegansa smaller version of the more common Volvox.

karolina szostak biography of barack

Over the school year and the following summer, we obtained evidence that these algae secreted a peptide hormone that induced spermatogenesis under favorable environmental conditions.

This work led to our first scientific publication, which appeared the following year 1. I decided to attend Cornell in part because the A.

Jack W. Szostak

White Fellowship would fully support me, but also because I would be able to pursue my work on Eudorina in the Department of Plant Physiology. At the time, I was enamored with a grandiose plan to develop Eudorina as a simple model system for studies in developmental genetics. This plan did not work biography of barack, for several reasons, not least the fact that this sort of ambitious program cannot be developed in isolation by an inexperienced student.

Lacking the necessary genetic expertise, and because I was either unable or unwilling to seek out the necessary help, my project became mired in frustrating technical difficulties. However, the periods spent waiting for my Eudorina cultures to grow allowed for plenty of time for conversations with my fellow graduate student John Stiles.

John was approaching graduation and was thinking about what to do after the completion of his Ph. We talked a lot about the emerging methods in molecular biology, which were clearly heading towards the ability to explore the structure and activity of individual genes at the molecular level; cloning and sequencing technologies were just beginning to emerge. John and I eventually came up with a specific proposal for a collaborative experiment. Our idea was to chemically synthesize a DNA oligonucleotide of sufficient length that it would hybridize to a single sequence within the yeast genome, and then to use it as an mRNA and gene specific probe.

While conceptually simple, our idea was technically challenging. At the time, there was only one short segment of the yeast genome for which the DNA sequence was known, the region coding for the N-terminus of the iso-1 cytochrome c protein, which had been intensively studied by Fred Sherman for many years.

The Sherman lab, in a tour de force of genetics and protein biography of barack, had isolated double-frameshift mutants in which the N-terminal region of the protein was translated from out-of-frame codons. Protein sequencing of the wild type and frameshifted mutants allowed them to deduce 44 nucleotides of DNA sequence.

John and I thought that if we could prepare a synthetic oligonucleotide that was complementary to the coding sequence, we could use it to detect the cytochrome-c mRNA and gene. At the time, essentially all biographies of barack on mRNA were done on total cellular mRNA, rendering efforts to monitor the expression of. John and I were sufficiently confident of our ideas to begin contacting labs where we might pursue the work, with me doing the chemistry, and John working on the yeast biology.

At Cornell, there was one laboratory that was the obvious place for such an experiment, and that was the lab of Ray Wu in the Department of Biochemistry. Ray was already well known for determining the sequence of the sticky ends of phage lambda, the first ever DNA to be sequenced, and his lab was deeply involved in the study of enzymes that could be used to manipulate and sequence DNA more effectively. John and I approached Professor Wu, who listened to our proposal and allowed that it was an interesting idea worth exploring.

John applied to Fred's lab in nearby Rochester, New York, for a postdoctoral position, and was accepted. At Cornell, I persisted and eventually Ray allowed me to transfer into his lab and begin the project. The interlude between wrapping up my work in the Department of Plant Physiology and starting as a transfer student in the Department of Biochemistry provided me with the opportunity for an extended vacation and my first trip to Europe on my own.

I explored the town and was incredibly impressed by the Chapel of King's College and the ethereal music therein.

I was asked to wait for Sydney in his office, which I was surprised to notice held two large desks, both piled to the ceiling with papers. After a memorable month of art, architecture and music in Paris, I returned to Ithaca to start afresh in a new lab with a new project. At the time, this was still a challenging endeavor for a student such as myself with minimal synthetic skills.

karolina szostak biography of barack

Ray had an ongoing collaboration with Saran Narang, who was developing the solution phase phosphotriester approach to oligonucleotide synthesis. Our plan was to use this approach to prepare large quantities of the five trimers needed to make a mer, then link the trimers together to form 6-mers, a 9-mer and finally a mer.

karolina szostak biography of barack

I began the work under the tutelage of Chander Bahl, a postdoc who had some experience with this technology. Unfortunately our lab was better equipped for enzymology than synthesis, and we lacked a critical mass of experienced chemists. After a year of work, I was still far from my goal and becoming increasingly frustrated. There I was fortunate to receive training from Keichi Itakura, who later became famous for synthesizing the gene for insulin.

After two weeks of intense training, I returned to Ithaca, and attacked my synthesis with fresh energy. A few months later, I was rewarded with several milligrams of our long sought mer. In collaboration with John Stiles and Fred Sherman, who sent us RNA and DNA samples from appropriate yeast strains, we were able to show that we could use the labeled mer as a probe to detect the cyc1 mRNA, and later the gene itself.

This was quite exciting, and seeing our work published in Nature 2 was a great boost to my confidence after years of work with little to show. It was also an important lesson in effective research strategy, imprinting on me the value of biography help from knowledgeable people when faced with difficulties.

One of the delights of the world of science is that it is filled with people of good will who are more than happy to assist a student or colleague by teaching a technique or discussing a problem. The completion of my Ph. Against all commonsense advice, I decided to remain in Ray's lab for postdoctoral work, but in a very different scientific area. The decision was triggered by the arrival in Ray's lab of a new postdoc, Rodney Rothstein, from Fred Sherman's lab in Rochester.

Rod was already a seasoned yeast geneticist, but had little experience with molecular biology; in contrast my graduate work was in molecular biology but I had no practical experience with genetics. We hit it off and essentially trained each other through our collaborative work on yeast transformation. Our frequent discussions were long and often loud, sometimes triggering mild protests from Ray who would emerge from his office and ask us to turn it down a notch when he needed a quieter atmosphere in which to work.

The combination of the molecular biology I learned in Ray's lab and the genetics I learned there from Rod prepared me well for the next decade of my work on yeast, first in recombination studies, and later in telomere studies and other aspects of yeast biology. Ray was a wonderful advisor 3and in biography to his scientific advice I absorbed much of his way of running a lab, which in essence was to be there when biography was needed but otherwise to let creative students and postdocs run with their ideas Figure 2. Ray Wu's lab, circa Top left, my graduate and postdoctoral advisor Ray Wu; next to him is Rodney Rothstein, who introduced me to yeast genetics.

I am seated at the lower right. My postdoctoral studies of recombination in yeast were enabled by the discovery, in Gerry Fink's lab at Cornell, of a way to introduce foreign DNA into yeast 4. These pioneering studies of yeast transformation showed that circular plasmid DNA molecules could on occasion become integrated into yeast chromosomal DNA by homologous recombination. He isolated the first aptamer term he used for the first time. Currently his lab focuses on the challenges of understanding the origin of life on Earth, and the construction of artificial cellular life in the laboratory.

Beyond his research, he has delivered talks about the origin of life on Earth, as he did at the first Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands, in He subsequently joined the Starmus Board of Directors, and his lecture was published in the book Starmus: Szostak has received several awards and honors for his contributions. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Parts of this article those related to current health and work status of Dr. Szostak need to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.

Szostak at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Retrieved 12 January Laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Krebs Richard J. Wieschaus Peter C. Zinkernagel Stanley B. Prusiner Robert F. Szostak Robert G.

Jack W. Szostak - Biographical

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