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Gary Ruvkun

 Item — Box: AV03, miniDV: CSHL1141

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

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.

From the Collection:

From the Collection:
  1. Talking Science Interviews, 1990-2017
  2. Presentations, 2016-2019


  • Creation: 1990 - 2019


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

Gary Ruvkun is a molecular biologist and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1973 at the University of California, Berkeley and Ph.D. at Harvard University. He did his post-doctoral research with Robert Horvitz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Walter Gilbert of Harvard. Between 1982-1985 he was a Junior Fellow at Harvard University. From 1985 till 1997 he was an Associate Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. In 1997 he became Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

His laboratory works with C. elegans genomics and molecular genetics to study problems in physiology and developmental biology. Gary Ruvkun started to work with C. elegans during his post-doctoral research, he studied the heterochronic genes which control the temporal dimension of development. This study helped to discover, together with Ambros lab, the first microRNA genes and their mRNA targets. Ruvkun lab discovered also that "the mechanism of microRNA regulation of target mRNAs is post-transcriptional and that some microRNA genes are conserved across animal phylogeny". Ruvkun and Church labs explored the computational discovery of hundreds of microRNAs and Mello and Ruvkun labs introduced a common core microRNA and RNAi mechanism. Currently Ruvkun's lab is working on discover of the RNAi and microRNA pathways in C. elegans.

Gary Ruvkun has received numerous awards, Dan David Prize in 2011, Shaul and Meira Massry Prize in 2009, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize in 2009. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences.

More Information: Wikipedia


From the Collection: 200 Cassettes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

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