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Michael Ashburner, 2003-07-03

 Item — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

Ashburner speaks of his relationships and encounters with notable scientists during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. He remembers the laboratory of Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner at Cambridge, and a conversation he had with Barbara McClintock shortly before her death. Among others he speaks of Charlie Thomas, Alfred Tissières, David Hogness, and Arthur Kornberg. His recollections are of meetings and courses which took place at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, various Cold Spring Harbor Symposia, his work on the response of Drosophila to heat shock, and the collaborative tradition among Drosophila biologists.

Table of Contents

  1. Cold Spring Harbor: Symposium on the transcription of genetic material
  2. Charlie Thomas
  3. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: cytogenetics course
  4. Drosophila genetics course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  5. Present and future of CSHL
  6. Sydney Brenner
  7. Francis Crick
  8. Laboratory of Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner
  9. Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner's influence
  10. 1985 CSHL Symposium and sequencing ADH
  11. David Hogness
  12. Arthur Kornberg
  13. Arthur Kornberg: Symposium: Santiago, Chile
  14. Alfred Tissières and Herschel Mitchell
  15. Response of Drosophila to heat shock
  16. Alfred Tissières: protein induction by heat shock
  17. Recruitment to Harvard
  18. Matt Meselson
  19. Competition in science
  20. Competition vs. cooperation in science
  21. Barbara McClintock, personality
  22. A meeting with Barbara McClintock
  23. Barbara McClintock: feminist icon?
  24. Writing science: Drosophila book
  25. Calvin Bridges
  26. Ed Lewis: personal life and ambition
  27. Edward Novitsky


  • Creation: 2003-07-03


Conditions Governing Access

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online: Select tapes have been digitized thanks to support from CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant awarded in 2021, these tapes are available for research online via our Oral History Website and in person at CSHL Archives. Please contact CSHL Archives with any questions regarding availability.

Biographical / Historical

Michael Ashburner was born on May 23, 1942, in Brighton, Sussex, England, and was educated at Cambridge. He received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently Emeritus Professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College. He was formerly the joint head of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Ashburner was also co-founder of "Flybase", the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the "Gene Ontology Consortium", an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster. Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).


1 Optical Disks : DVD ; 66 min.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Interview recorded on Mini DV, then transferred to DVD. Interview transcribed by Clare Clark. DVD authoring and editing by Carlos Viteri. An earlier interview with Michael Ashburner was recorded on May 31, 2003. That interview is also part of the Cold Spring Harbor Oral History Project . See title: Talking science with Michael Ashburner [first interview].

Repository Details

Part of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives Repository

Library & Archives
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
One Bungtown Rd
Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724 USA