During the LMB’s 60th anniversary, a selection of staff and alumni have been interviewed by science writer Kathy Weston, about their time at the LMB and what it has meant to them. The ‘LMB Through the Years’ project has collected stories and views from across LMB’s six decades. Each interviewee has also chosen an object to represent their time at the LMB: from the famous cheese scones, to submarine mini-gels and a computer keyboard. The first three of these video interviews have now been released on the project website.
Sjors Scheres: From blobology to the resolution revolution
Sjors started at the LMB in 2010, to work on image processing for electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM). He chose to put recruiting lab members on hold, and instead worked by himself for two years, eventually producing RELION, a software package implementing a new and innovative method of image analysis. He explains why moving to the LMB put him in the right place at the right time, the importance of open-access software for rapid scientific progress, his strategy for recruiting new Group Leaders and the collaborative project that has rekindled his passion for wet-lab biology.
Lesley Drynan: Essential services: running the Biological Services Group
Lesley joined the LMB as a Research Assistant in 1995, to work in Terry Rabbitts’s group, where she mastered the art of making transgenic mice. She talks about how her involvement with animal work motivated her switch into a different career track, and gives us a behind the scenes look at how a top-ranked animal facility works to take the best possible care of its inhabitants, both furry and otherwise. Finally, she reveals how she unwinds at the end of each day from the stresses and strains of her job.
Mark Bretscher: Solving the genetic code with Crick and Brenner
Mark arrived at the LMB as a PhD student, when it was still the Medical Research Council Unit for Molecular Biology, based in a hut outside the Cavendish Laboratory. He recalls his first encounters with Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner, his work on the triplet code, the move into the new LMB and the epic series of parties following the announcement of Kendrew and Perutz’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry and Crick and Watson’s Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in October 1962.
Kathy Weston said: “The LMB’s success has always been down to the people who’ve come to work there, and getting the chance to interview some of them has been a privilege, as well as a huge treat.”
Jan Löwe, LMB Director, added: “Kathy’s interviews capture brilliantly some of the quirkiness, community spirit and successes that have been key aspects of the LMB over six decades. It is wonderful to hear about the LMB from so many different perspectives and times – I very much look forward to the release of the remaining interviews.”
More video interviews will be released in the next few weeks, featuring: Rebecca Voorhees; Lori Passmore; Pat Edwards; Gillian Griffiths; Greg Winter; John Walker; John White; Nigel Unwin and Joan Steitz.