Marvin Chun’s interest in psychology started in high school searching for self-help motivation. High school was very difficult for Chun, moving back to South Korea for his father’s job after being raised in California. Not only are Korean schools very different from (and harder than) American schools, Chun did not speak Korean at the time. One day he found an introductory psychology book lying around the house and began reading...
LC: You’ve also worked with the National Academies to research the role of gender in scientific research. JS: Right, that was a one time appointment to the committee that wrote the book on women in science. The committee was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences and Donna Shalala, who’d been the HHS head secretary… Continue reading Joan Steitz–Writing the Book on Women in Academic Science and Engineering
Dr. James Watson came and gave a talk at Fred Hutch a couple years ago and said something about how genome sequencing technology is great, but that the future of cancer research and other research is in understanding the translational process beyond just mapping mutations. But obviously Dr. Watson is famous for his DNA research. What attracted you to RNA, coming from his lab?
Joan Steitz theorizes that her father encouraged her to pursue science because he secretly wished he had become a scientist instead of a high school guidance counselor. By the time she got to college at Antioch, she knew she wanted to be a scientist. She began majoring in chemistry before the discovery of double stranded DNA was in textbooks.
LC: I wanted to ask, with one of the leaders of scientific publication innovation on the line, in my neck of the woods there’s a new journal popping up called the Yale Undergraduate Research Journal and I wanted to present it’s structure to you, and maybe you can provide some insight or some advice. Does that sound alright?
(photo from https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/news/berkeley-talks-nobel-laureate-randy-schekman-new-parkinsons-research, taken by Elena Zhukova)
LC: So I heard that a way you motivate people in your lab is a bulletin board in your lab with major landmark and major achievements on it that you’re shooting for. I was wondering if this board is still literally or figuratively in place and what your modern or current research goals are.
RS: Well I would say one of the dramatic changes has been in the career options for someone studying biomedical science, generally biology, life science. When I started in graduate school in 1970 there was only one career option really--as an academic that was my intention and all of my classmates expected to do the same. There were of course in other disciplines, in chemistry there were positions in industry, but that just wasn’t an option in cell and molecular biology.