Ronald Plasterk, 2006-06-04
Scope and Contents
The Oral History Collection contains interviews conducted with 200 scientists within the fields of molecular biology, genetics, and the life sciences between 1990 and 2018. The interviewees provide first-hand accounts of their experiences in the fields of modern biology, such as neuroscience, cancer, genetics, plant genetics, genomics, biotechnology and others, from the 1940s through the 2000s. The collection contains audio and video recordings, as well as transcripts of interviews.
The interviews offer a glimpse into the life of prominent scientists. The interviews discuss scientists' early school days and beginning interests in science to what or who made them choose to go into science. They also include reminiscences about their research and major discoveries, experiences of women in science, the character and life of leading scientists like Barbara McClintock and James D. Watson, the history of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the nature of the double-helix discovery, the ethics of the Human Genome Project and biotechnology.
Many scientists interviewed for this project have either carried out their research or attended scientific meetings at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Their recollections document not only the history of molecular biology and genetics the but also the laboratory's role in this history. The collection comprises of Hi8 8mm tapes; mini-DV; DVCAM and VHS audio cassette tapes. Most of the interviews from this collection have been transcribed. Interviews which have been digitized can be found at the Oral History Collection page.
The collection is organized into two series: Talking Science Interviews and Presentations. Talking Science Interviews consist of individual scientists, while the Presentations series include clips of oral history interviews that were used for a specific meeting or event.
- Talking Science Interviews, 1990-2017
- Presentations, 2016-2019
- Creation: 2006-06-04
- Plasterk, Ronald Hans Anton, 1957- (Interviewee, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online: https://library.cshl.edu/oralhistory/. 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 email@example.com with any questions regarding availability.
Biographical / Historical
Ronald Plasterk, is a Dutch politician of the Labour Party and successful scientist and molecular genetics. He studied biology at the Leiden University and economics at the University of Amsterdam. In 1981 he received the Dutch doctorandus degree in biology. In 1984 he earned a doctorate in mathematics and natural sciences from the University of Leiden.
After receiving his Ph.D. he moved to California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and worked as a post-doc (1985-1986) on the transposon sequences in DNA in the parasite Borrelia hermsii. Plasterk was also a post-doc at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (1986-1987) where he studied Caenorhabditis elegans, a nematode that is used as a model organism. His major area of research include genetics and functional genomics.
He came back to the Netherlands in 1987 and became a group leader and member of the board of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. Between 1989 and 2000 he was director of the research school of oncology at the institute. From 1997 till 2000 he was professor of molecular genetics at the University of Amsterdam. In 2000 was appointed director of the Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology (Hubrecht Laboratory) and at the same time he was a professor in developmental genetics at Utrecht University.
In February 2007 Ronald Plasterek was appointed minister of Education, Culture and Science in the fourth Balkenende government and he decided to end his scientific career. He held this position until February 2010. He is a member of the House of Representatives and Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
More Information: Wikipedia
Ronald Plasterk received his Ph.D. from the University of Leiden in southern Holland in 1984, working extensively with transposable elements. His postdoctoral research was largely done at both the California Institute of Technology and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the UK, where Plasterk began studying the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. He soon became a member of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, working there from 1987 to 2000. Plasterk has been a professor of molecular microbiology at the Free University of Amsterdam, and a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Amsterdam. He is now a director at the Hubrecht Laboratory; the Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, and a professor of Developmental Genetics at the University of Utrecht. Plasterk is currently an involved member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the European Molecular Biology organization. Ronald Plasterk is now studying different topics in the areas of both genetics and functional genomics. He has researched in these different fields using the nematode c. elegans as well as the similarly structured zebra fish, focusing on the transposition of DNA by means of RNAi. Ronald Plasterk has participated in many courses, meetings and symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, attending his first phage meeting in the mid 80’s as he recalls it, and since started to teach courses and give lectures of his studies in Holland.
1 Cassettes (Camcorder footage) : MiniDV - CSHL1134
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English