For decades, the attention of the scientific community was focused on the central dogma of biology — the decoding of the genetic information embedded in DNA. Little research was dedicated to how proteins are degraded and removed from cells. Enter onto the scene a young graduate student, Aaron Ciechanover, who with his mentor Avram Hershko, uncovered the complex and elegant ubiquitin proteolytic system. For his discovery, Dr. Ciechanover shared in the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Hershko and Irwin Rose. Watch the complete interview for more stories about being a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the magic of “A-ha” moments, and the conflict between religion and Darwinism.
A legend within the field of innate immunity, Dr. Bruce Beutler of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School is best known for two seminal discoveries: identifying mouse tumor necrosis factor and discovering Toll-like receptor 4, the receptor for lipopolysaccharide. With this discovery, later rewarded with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, we finally understood how immune cells could recognize and react to bacteria. Watch the full interview for many more stories on developing etanercept, searching landfills for sequencers, and falling in love with genetics.
Dr. John Oates of Vanderbilt University was central in launching the field of clinical pharmacology and gave life to the concepts of first-pass drug metabolism and interindividual variation in the way humans process drugs. Dr. Oates also made seminal discoveries on the metabolism, biosynthesis, and pharmacology of eicosanoids. Watch the full interview for many more stories about testifying before Congress and Dr. Oates' love of sailing.
Dr. Christine Seidman of the Harvard Medical School has uncovered the genetic basis of many human cardiovascular disorders, from cardiomyopathy and heart failure to congenital heart malformations. In this interview, she speaks about her early intrigue with atrial natriuretic factor and her more current gene-intensive investigations. She also shares many more stories about her interest in the ear, an early inspirational patient, and her thoughts on work-life balance.
Professor Stephen O’Rahilly’s research has led to an increased understanding of the genetic causes of human obesity and insulin resistance. Using modern biochemical approaches and classical clinical observation in humans with profound metabolic disorders, O’Rahilly, from the Departments of Medicine and Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, has shown that a person’s appetite and feeding behavior can be linked to specific genes. His work has challenged long-held dogmas and led to new treatment avenues. The full interview includes many more stories about how you can learn more from reading Chekhov than medical school and why he has stayed in Cambridge all these years.