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Patricia DeLeon

Geneticist Patricia A. DeLeon was born on July 13, 1944 in Port Maria, Jamaica. After graduating from the University of the West Indies with her B.Sc. degree in chemistry and zoology in 1967 and her M.Sc. degree in medical genetics in 1969 DeLeon enrolled at the University of Western Ontario and graduated from there in 1972 with her Ph.D. degree in microscopic anatomy before completing post-doctoral studies in cell biology and cell genetics at McGill University in 1975.

Upon graduation, DeLeon worked in several industry and academic positions. She served as a visiting scientist at the Johns Hopkins University, a visiting faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and as an adjunct professor at Penn State University College of Medicine. DeLeon joined the faculty of the University of Delaware in 1976, and was named the Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences in 2009. Her work has produced three patents issued or pending and over one-hundred publications and abstracts, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). DeLeon served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and on the Executive Council of the American Society of Andrology (ASA). She has been as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and the NIH and National Science Foundation Review Panels. In addition, she has mentored more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields.

DeLeon is widely recognized for her contributions to andrology, which deals with male reproductive health. In 2007, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from NSF; and, in 2010, she received the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Excelsior Alumni Association, USA. Inc. and was the Distinguished Alumna and Honoree of the Commemoration and Homecoming Celebrations of the University of the West Indies. The National Institute of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology (NIHERST) awarded DeLeon the Caribbean Women in Science Medal in 2011 and President Barack Obama presented her with the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2012.

Geneticist Patricia A. DeLeon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 27, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.081

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/27/2013

Last Name

Martin-DeLeon

Maker Category
Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

Excelsior High School

University of the West Indies

Western University

McGill University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Patricia

Birth City, State, Country

Port Maria

HM ID

DEL09

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

The greater the effort, the greater the reward.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Delaware

Birth Date

7/13/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

Jamaica

Favorite Food

Walnuts

Short Description

Geneticist Patricia DeLeon (1944 - ) was named the Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware in 2009 and received the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2012.

Employment

University of Delaware

McGill University

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3194,14:3821,23:4505,45:5018,56:5531,67:31110,287:35030,333:41730,416:49895,504:66064,698:71825,729:72300,735:73060,744:74489,750:87054,925:100995,1153:103125,1193:103551,1212:110793,1395:117464,1528:117824,1534:120920,1611:122936,1657:134833,1855:146450,2004:158156,2135:161190,2213:164594,2278:164890,2283:165852,2330:180454,2572:187412,2724:191744,2829:193720,2862:195468,2905:198584,2970:201244,3021:202004,3039:202384,3046:217370,3163$0,0:1525,32:4022,51:11129,106:13027,137:13465,145:16335,157:16675,162:22693,232:23119,241:24823,283:25888,300:26669,314:26953,319:28373,350:28657,355:32242,380:39566,478:39902,483:40826,498:41582,509:41918,514:42758,527:46244,537:46860,545:52080,601:53120,611:56313,632:56708,638:58130,659:59552,680:62001,716:67135,762:67900,772:70796,819:71336,825:71768,830:73484,841:74054,847:74966,856:80400,902:81000,912:81825,923:82350,932:82725,939:84375,968:85275,985:90260,1017:91552,1043:94408,1095:95360,1117:95632,1122:105774,1295:106342,1305:106626,1313:109111,1359:113960,1372:119611,1431:120232,1446:122785,1495:127568,1544:128954,1577:130076,1606:130934,1623:131528,1634:132188,1649:132650,1658:133442,1672:141982,1752:145230,1809:145880,1829:146790,1853:148545,1907:149455,1928:154005,2072:154720,2087:154980,2092:155240,2097:155825,2108:156345,2118:156800,2126:157320,2137:163446,2169:163766,2175:164022,2180:165682,2194:168190,2252:168652,2260:169246,2270:170038,2304:173008,2424:174394,2474:175846,2507:176506,2521:185062,2601:185806,2612:191830,2698:192070,2703:192370,2709:192790,2719:194410,2748:195310,2768:196090,2800:197110,2821:197710,2833:202378,2885:203494,2908:204920,2932:206036,2954:206594,2965:207214,2978:210360,3010:212970,3046
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Patricia DeLeon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her mother's life in Jamaica

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Patricia DeLeon describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her father and his entrepreneurship

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her parents' education, and the Jamaican regional dialect, Patois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Patricia DeLeon talks about how her parents met and married

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the social hierarchy in Jamaica while she was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Patricia DeLeon talks about nature in Jamaica and how it influenced her interest in science

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Patricia DeLeon describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Jamaica

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Patricia DeLeon describes her experience in infant school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Patricia DeLeon describes her experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Patricia DeLeon describes her experience in school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the teachers who influenced her in school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the schools that she attended in Jamaica

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her biology teacher, Errol Miller, at Excelsior School in Kingston, Jamaica

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her extracurricular activities and graduating from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Patricia DeLeon talks about talking to her school principal to reduce her tuition

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Patricia DeLeon talks about convincing her school principal to reduce her tuition and her trips home from school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Patricia DeLeon talks about attending the University of West Indies to pursue studies in chemistry, botany and zoology

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Patricia DeLeon recalls President John F. Kennedy's assassination, and talks about Jamaicans' relationship with the U.S.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the mentorship from Professor Ivan Goodbody at the University of the West Indies

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her undergraduate research experience at the University of the West Indies

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Patricia DeLeon talks about Jamaica's independence in 1962, and the political leaders at the time

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her studies at the University of West Indies

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon describes her decision to work as a research associate and pursue her master's degree at the University of the West Indies

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Patricia DeLeon describes her master's degree research on the effects of cannabis on chromosomes, and the publication of her findings

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the implications of her master's degree research, and the effects of cigarette smoking on fetal development

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her decision to attend the University of Western Ontario to pursue her Ph.D. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her studies on the effect of plant toxins on chromosomes

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her doctoral dissertation research on chromosomal abnormalities caused by aged sperm - part one

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her doctoral dissertation research on chromosomal abnormalities caused by aged sperm - part two

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her postdoctoral experience in molecular biology at McGill University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her close relationship with her sister

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Patricia DeLeon talks about living on campus while pursuing her Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Patricia DeLeon talks about getting married in 1971

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Patricia DeLeon describes her recruitment to the faculty of the University of Delaware in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her initial funding for her research on spermatogenesis at the University of Delaware

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Patricia DeLeon talks about applying for tenure at the University of Delaware in 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Patricia DeLeon describes her promotion to full professorship in 1990

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the lack of diversity on the science faculty at the University of Delaware

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Patricia DeLeon describes her laboratory's research on the SPAM1 protein, and its role in facilitating the fertilization by sperm

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Patricia DeLeon describes the impact of her findings about the role of SPAM-1 in fertilization by sperm

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her transition from chromosomal biology to molecular biology

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her recognition in the field of andrology

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon describes the potential applications of her research in the treatment of male infertility

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Patricia DeLeon talks about spending a year as a visiting scientist at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her scientific publications

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her involvement in the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program at the University of Delaware

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Patricia DeLeon describes her research on the Junctional Adhesion Molecule A (JAM-A) protein in sperm motility

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Patricia DeLeon talks about receiving the NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Mentoring

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Patricia DeLeon talks being recognized by her alma maters in the Caribbean and in Canada

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the students whom she has mentored

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the division of her teaching and research responsibilities

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon talks about becoming the Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon talks about the funding for her research and her efforts to apply her research towards viable treatments for infertility

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Patricia DeLeon reflects upon her career and her choices

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Patricia DeLeon reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Patricia DeLeon describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Patricia DeLeon talks about her service roles and work-related travel

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Patricia DeLeon reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Patricia DeLeon describes her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Patricia DeLeon talks about nature in Jamaica and how it influenced her interest in science
Patricia DeLeon describes the potential applications of her research in the treatment of male infertility
Transcript
Growing up in Jamaica, what were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growing up?$$The sea, we lived very close to the sea. And on a morning, you'd walk by you'd smell the salt, the spray. Birds, the hills. Jamaica is very, the mountains, the hills really--flowers, picking up flowers by--I became involved in science just because plant botany. I picked up plants by the roadside. You know, we'd pick up things, pick up leaves and organize them. I got through science by nature, just by the wayside. In fact, you know, we had, one of my--yeah, we didn't have expensive things. We just had nature. We had leaves and plants and trees and hills and sea and shells, collective shells. That was it.$$Okay, so did you start thinking about science when you were little, I mean like looking at these--(unclear) (simultaneous)--$$Yeah, I, yeah, I really liked--we (unclear) collect plants, I mean flowers and pick up things by the roadside. In fact, one of--and that's pretty common with a lot of kids in Jamaica. But we, one of my friends--he went to a different high school. And one of his teachers would say, you know, when you, you know, when you pick up plants and you pick up things, you should always go and look for the Latin name, you know. And, you know, it's, it was, you know, you look for the Latin, and know what you have. You just don't say here's some--you can say, here this is a Lignum vitae [guayacan, Jamaican national flower]. Or this is a, you know, whatever it is. And she said, and if you don't know, if you go by the roadside, and you pick up flowers, and you don't know what they are, plants. And so when I ask you what it is, just say, "They're roadum sideum" (ph.) (laughter), you know, use the Latin roadum sideum, you know. So it was just a, it was a big thing for, you know--it was a stimulus to go look up something, look up the leaves' shape or look, whatever it was. And in those days, the Latin name was a big thing for plants, but I think it did, it started my, you know, we used to also have a little gutter (laughter). In fact, it really influenced us. When we were buying our house here, we took (unclear) lot, it had a little stream running at the back because we weren't allowed to go down--there's a little drainage area where tadpoles used to be. And as a child, we used to love to go down and my parents [Louise Green Martin and Leonard Percival Martin] were, my mother was always worried about ringworm. (Unclear) have ringworm, whatever, yeah, it was ringworm there. And it's just a, it's dirty water. It's dirty water (unclear), but tadpoles go into there and there was movement and life in it. And if you're, if you--we'd get in trouble if we go down there. And so when we were buying our (unclear) in Delaware we said, ah, this is gonna be great for our kids, their own little pool that they can go (laughter), you know. It, the idea of having a little stream running at the back of your place where you could see tadpoles and little things was something. But I think, just the nature, that's in Jamaica, it really brought the mystery of science that really left an impact on me.$$Okay.$How were your findings in those days affecting the medical profession?$$Well, what I've been trying to do since then is really to try to come up with way to help couples who are infertile. People who work in, with sperm, and I do, have two applications. Either they come up with a contraceptive to prevent sperm from fertilizing or they come up to help couples who have problem conceiving. And I choose to do the latter. And so the goal of the pattern was to be able to add this protein that's missing in some cases to the sperm and empower them to do the job. What I perceive for the rest of my career is trying to still help these couples. One of the ways that we do help them now is to, is to doing invitro fertilization where they--and particularly, a technique called ICSI [Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection] where they inject the sperm directly into the egg. And I'm very much against that because I think that when you take a syringe and inject the sperm into an egg, you bypass all the natural barriers that nature has put there that form a selective mechanism to weed out the bad ones and only let the good ones go in.$$Right.$$And children are being born, autism, as you mentioned. Children are being born with, by this method with a lot of problems. And so my goal, or what I expect my work to impact the field, is to be able to take sperm that are not functioning well and treat them in a dish so that they can respond to the treatment and then let them fertilize the egg on their own, rather than using the injection. And that's what we're, we're kind of working on because now we've shifted to work, working on some molecules that are important for sperm motility. And sperm motility is the most--reduced motility is one of the primary causes of male infertility.$$Okay, that's how it moves, right?$$Yes, exactly. If they can't move, they can't get anywhere. It doesn't matter how many are produced if they can't go to where the egg is. They've got to travel a long way to where the egg is in the oviduct. And if they can't go there, they can't fertilize. So I've been working on trying to empower them to be able to be motile and to get to where they need to go to impact fertilization.$$Okay, so those that aren't motile, there's something missing that's--(simultaneous)--$$Right, they're missing--$$--that may be an enzyme or--(unclear), (simultaneous)--$$--they're an enzyme, right. They're missing a plasma membrane. The particular enzyme that they're missing (unclear) I work with, is called PMCA, P-M-C-A-4, Plasma Membrane Calcium ATPase, and that enzyme, if--we know it is because in mice, if you knock out that enzyme, all of the males are sterile. So from that mouse model, we know that--and the male, the protein is found in humans. We know that there are humans who have that protein not working, and now we're working on a way to add that protein to the surface because we think we are understanding how the protein is added to the surface. And we think that way will help us to get it there.$$Okay.

Matthew George

Biochemist Matthew George was born on February 15, 1949 in Birmingham, Alabama. George was awarded an undergraduate scholarship to attend Wiley College in Marshall, Texas where he received his B.S. degree in chemistry and biology in 1971. George went on to earn his M.S. degree in microbiology and biochemistry in 1974 from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). In 1982, George graduated with his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

From 1981 to 1984, George studied genetics and biochemistry at the San Diego Zoo and the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland. George’s career at Howard University College of Medicine began in 1984 when he became an assistant professor of biochemistry. In 1992, he was promoted to associate professor. George’s research focused on the evolution and interactions of mitochondrial DNA as well as cancer metastasis. He was instrumental in the development of the “mitochondrial Eve hypothesis,” which attempts to explain the origin of humankind. George studies the molecular structure and behavior of mitochondrial DNA which traced humans back to a common ancestor that lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Between 1995 and 1997, George served as senior scientist on the African Burial Ground Project where he traced 200 year old remains back to West African locations by analyzing DNA from bones. Since 2001, George has served as chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Howard University College of Medicine.

George has authored numerous scientific research articles, which have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Molecular Biological Evolution. In addition, his research has been funded by prestigious organizations such as the National Institute of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Human Genome Research. His research on mitochondrial DNA was featured in the exhibit “Science in American Life,” found in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. In addition to his research, George has mentored research students including several dissertation prize winners.

George lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife Yolanda George, who is an education program director at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

George Matthew was interviewed by The HsitoryMakers on January 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.013

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/17/2013

Last Name

George

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Wiley College

Clark Atlanta University

University of California, Berkeley

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Matthew

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

GEO02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Florence, Italy

Favorite Quote

Be good.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/15/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Sweet Potato)

Short Description

Biochemist and geneticist Matthew George (1949 - ) served as the senior scientist on the African Burial Ground Project in New York City.

Employment

Atlanta University

University of California, Berkeley

San Diego Zoo

National Cancer Institute

Howard University

National Center for Human Genome Research

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
1308,0:3200,22:3716,39:5522,66:7156,96:8102,110:9134,128:9994,141:14640,201:14928,206:15936,222:16440,230:17016,243:20159,275:22334,309:25064,326:28260,402:31388,460:31932,469:32272,475:42751,574:46837,602:47232,608:47627,614:48417,627:51450,654:52122,662:54524,683:55226,699:55442,704:57717,724:58515,731:59180,737:61755,746:62800,760:65814,784:67062,806:67530,813:67920,820:68388,827:69168,841:69870,854:70260,863:71352,877:71820,884:73146,905:76720,914:83540,1027:86984,1079:97270,1214:97640,1220:103708,1395:104004,1400:105040,1421:113179,1493:114635,1519:125016,1644:129420,1688:131740,1722:138640,1785:142420,1842:142840,1847:146378,1873:147104,1887:149506,1910:149794,1915:150154,1921:151522,2001:160613,2084:161068,2090:161705,2099:162069,2104:165285,2114:169118,2151:169854,2159:171050,2177:174176,2198:176687,2267:177335,2276:177740,2282:178712,2305:181704,2325:182192,2335:183229,2356:189142,2499:189718,2510:192640,2549:193144,2562:195185,2587:196291,2609:199159,2628:199597,2660:200765,2679:201203,2687:204785,2706:205235,2714:205835,2724:206660,2783:207935,2800:215066,2918:215528,2928:216056,2937:217244,2958:221666,3078:227748,3115:228568,3126:235580,3215:236660,3249:237899,3266:240555,3378:242713,3393:250910,3440:255572,3578:264085,3686:264345,3692:266165,3737:266880,3752:267140,3757:272080,3876:272470,3883:273055,3893:273835,3913:278210,3951:281291,4032:284846,4093:285557,4103:285952,4109:294190,4214:294830,4223:295150,4228:302426,4312:303098,4321:305618,4367:306794,4382:321860,4451:326200,4532:326965,4539:330620,4626:337466,4669:339884,4711:340898,4722:341210,4727:342848,4759:343628,4773:347330,4827:350588,4879:351470,4904:356060,4921$0,0:6338,63:7076,73:8060,92:10110,130:10684,138:11176,145:12898,178:16424,233:26674,416:27904,437:28314,442:34800,486:40942,602:54558,936:59964,955:60887,975:61171,980:65644,1083:66283,1095:74668,1228:79192,1287:88864,1467:95560,1487:98853,1547:114446,1728:115440,1748:115795,1754:118990,1802:120978,1839:121333,1845:128047,1931:134455,2046:135345,2057:135790,2063:140114,2078:141574,2112:147487,2222:147925,2230:148655,2241:149093,2248:149677,2258:150991,2263:162810,2365:166294,2457:166838,2466:190490,2804:191820,2828:192100,2833:196160,2924:196440,2929:196930,2937:200570,3026:201060,3034:204490,3116:204770,3121:210502,3143:215586,3233:215996,3239:225115,3399:227590,3451:227890,3456:228415,3464:244689,3705:245045,3710:245579,3718:246380,3728:261304,3902:264406,3936:276681,4085:277178,4093:289532,4326:290100,4337:290668,4346:291307,4359:309766,4540:310756,4552:315565,4570:316925,4589:323215,4710:330780,4859:343208,4994:344948,5022:346514,5046:348950,5083:360224,5174:360928,5184:365064,5248:376000,5371
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Matthew George's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Matthew George lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about his mother, her growing up and his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about his father's relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about his father's growing up, his career, and his paternal relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about how his parents met and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Matthew George talks about his likeness to his parents and his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Matthew George describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Matthew George describes his childhood home in the Loveman's Village projects

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Matthew George talks about growing up in the projects and his influence on his brothers and sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Matthew George talks about his childhood memories, his upbringing in the church, and the evolution of his religious views

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about his appreciation of the newspaper and the bombing incidents in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Era

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about his academic performance and his work ethic

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about his elementary school teacher, Annie Mae Mitchell Smith

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about his father's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Matthew George talks about his mother's concerns about the Civil Rights Movement and the origin of the derogatory term, "bama"

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Matthew George talks about his childhood aspirations, his desire to be different, and his world view during his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Matthew George talks about his high school's curricular structure

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about his experience being inducted into the National Honor Society in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about his extracurricular activities and his social status in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about his high school counselor, Ms. Coman, and her influence on his decision to attend Wiley College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about his decision to major in science at Wiley College and preparing for his high school Salutatorian speech

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Matthew George talks about his influence on his brothers and sisters

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Matthew George talks about his jobs during school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Matthew George talks about segregation in Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about his trip to Marshall, Texas and his first night at Wiley College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about his peers and the positive intellectual environment at Wiley College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about his decision to major in science and his experience at Wiley College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about his studies, his professors, and his financial aid at Wiley College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Matthew George talks about his professors at Atlanta University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Matthew George talks about the faculty at Atlanta University and meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Matthew George talks about his wife and the birth of his son

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about him and his wife's experiences defending their theses

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about moving to California

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about his admittance to and his financial aid at the University of California, Berkeley

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about the difference between covert racism and overt racism

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Matthew George talks about how he matched with his Ph.D. Advisor, Allan C. Wilson

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Matthew George talks about his advisor's research interests

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about mitochondrial DNA and the mitochondrial Eve

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about his colleague, Rebecca Cann, and his experiences working with her

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about his work with his doctoral advisor and his experience getting his dissertation completed

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about his research with Oliver Ryder at the San Diego Zoo

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Matthew George describes his postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute, his appointment to Howard University, and his teaching influences

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Matthew George talks about his student, Daryl Basham, and the use of DNA fingerprinting in criminal investigation

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about the ethics regarding genetic testing and the risks associated with modifying DNA sequencing

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about his work on the African Burial Ground Project with Michael Blakey

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about working with his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about the challenges of doing research at an HBCU

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Matthew George reflects on his career

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Matthew George reflects on his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Matthew George talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Matthew George talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Matthew George talks about his experience at the Science and American Life exhibit and being recognized

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Matthew George talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Matthew George describes his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Matthew George talks about his experience being inducted into the National Honor Society in high school
Matthew George talks about his work on the African Burial Ground Project with Michael Blakey
Transcript
Also, during the 11th grade, one of my friends she came to me and said "Something good is gonna happen to you today." "What the heck are you talking about?" So you know we have assembly, and where you have these (unclear) monthly meetings and everything, and so I'm there in assembly with a bunch of my other friends, and I'm looking at the program, it's--you think it's gonna be dumb and boring which most of them were, but that particular day it's about the National Honor Society and suddenly you hear your name (laughter).$$So you were on it but didn't know it.$$Had no clue, but she knew. And the other thing about it was that it was a lot of other project kids that were being inducted at the same time. So we had the middle class kids who normally, you know, get inducted, and then there was us. It almost like a little first; it was like we were like the project slash ghetto kids being culled in with the middle class--the kids from the Honeysuckle Circles and the Honeysuckle Hills.$$Now that's a real name of a real group?$$Honeysuckle Circle, Honeysuckle Hill, okay? That was the name of the neighborhood. If you had a couple of bucks, you could get you a nice brick house, you could be an upper-class black person and you lived it. Fred Shuttlesworth (laughter); that's when it got bombed (laughter), okay? (Simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--On Honeysuckle Hill?$$Yeah, or something like that. But here's the kicker, and Yolanda's gonna get me for this (laughter). "Don't call any names." I'm sorry, it's a part of my life. Reverend [John Wesley] Rice lived in the Honeysuckle Circles and the Honeysuckle Hills. And he was the high school counselor.$$And Reverend Rice is the father of our former Secretary of State?$$Condoleezza's daddy.$$Condoleezza, okay.$$Okay? And so here it is, we're more or less, you know, busting up the show because we may not be the right type of people (laughter), but they can't deny the numbers, you know. We got the GPA's, we got the grades and things like that, but never once--at least me, I don't know about the others, but during those three years in high school, I never was counseled by Reverend Rice about a possibility or an opportunity to go to college.$$So--well wait a minute; now you're saying that you're in a National Honor Society--$$Yes.$$--you clearly are working above the level of the general course (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--But again--$$--but (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--remember what--remember, from the very beginning what I was told by my mom [Rosetta Johnson] to do when I go to school, right? That was, that was my mind set. This is how naive, this is just how dutiful I was, this is what I do. This is what I--I followed orders, rules and regulations.$$And you were the first in your family to get that far because you're the oldest, right?$$Yeah, oh yeah.$$So (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Yeah, I'm, I'm--every step I take you know, I'm breaking ground.$$Yeah, and I guess they're looking forward to just you graduating from high school, right?$$Exact--this is--they told me "All we can give you is a high school education. Everything else is on your own. This is why we cannot give you $35.00 for vocational school. We can make certain that you have enough food to eat, the lights on, heat is on, gas, all that kind of stuff. We will give you what you need. I will wash your clothes, I will iron your clothes, okay? You do the rest, okay?"$$But to think of Reverend Rice (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--I'm not trying to--$$(Simultaneous)--a counselor, I know you're not trying to do that, but if this is--I believe what you're saying that he didn't do it. If he didn't counsel you then, you know, he's missing an opportunity--I don't know if everybody with your qualifications didn't get counseled, but that seems like a really--that seems like something that really slipped by; a really important person that slipped past him that he should have helped.$$Well, like I said, it wasn't just me I mean--as I said, there were several other project kids that were also inducted at the time. It was the strangest honor society that they've ever had, you know. We weren't the best dressed, we weren't the most well-spoken or anything like that, but we were the kids that got the job done. We did well academically, and the rankings said this is where we belong, and once we got into the honor society for our high school, the whole set of dynamics changed, your know; it really changed. And we became little heroes, if you will, to all of the people that did not live in the Honeysuckle Circles and the Honeysuckle Hills; they were just like 'bout time, thank you guys, okay--and girls because it wasn't just guys, I mean there were some females that were inducted that year and they also didn't live in the right places. But as a little collective and as a group, they were so proud of us because we were them; we were them.$$Okay.$Now this is something that's really important for--in a lot of different ways in terms of a history project like I was in, is the African Burial Ground Project in New York City. Tell us--I guess you can just set it up by saying that construction workers discovered a gravesite--$$Emm hmm.$$--that was identified by archeologists, I guess, as an African burial ground--$$Right.$$--a place where Africans brought over here enslaved in New York City unloading boats and that sort of thing back in the 1600's I guess (simultaneous)--$$Yeah, today the bones are like--well we said 200 years old, so you can just extrapolate to, yeah.$$So the decision was to study those (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Well, right.$$(Simultaneous)--(Inaudible response).$$(Simultaneous)--Yeah, Michael Blakey, who used to be here in the Anthropology Department, was very much interested in that because, not only--by looking at the bones solely, you could look at--you could also tell about the work conditions, where the breaks occurred; is it on the clavicle, is it on the ribs, and things like that. Look in the clothing, what else is in the coffin gives you an idea what type of life these people led. The question then becomes well, where did these people come from? What is the origin of the skeletal remains? And so he wanted to have a genetic component to it, so from the anthropological part and sociological part, he was expert in that and he'd asked me to come on as a senior scientist to do the genetic part, so part of what I had wanted to do was to not only do that by using mitochondrial DNA because I knew how to isolate DNA from what we now call ancient materials--anything that's extinct or old--because you can do this technique called a Polymerase Chain Reaction so even minute amounts--you can put in specific little pieces of DNA to get large pieces of DNA back. Then you do DNA sequence and then you can see--compare what these sequences are closely related to in terms of different ethnic groups.$$What's that process called again?$$PCR, the Polymerase Chain Reaction. When that technique was developed, the person immediately got a Nobel Prize (laughter), okay? This is what gets people in trouble; this is your CSI. This is where your single strand of hair with a hair root and some DNA, this is what can be amplified to get--this is enough working material. Your DNA does not have to be purified; you put in the right set of primers, okay, that will actually allow you to amplify a specific set of sequences--that gold standard set of sequences, and they turn out to be yours, they got you. Lick a stamp, smoke a cigarette, wherever you get cells; this is why they say just rub the cheek cells, boom; break them open and DNA will spill out, get your probes in, and you're good. So I wanted to use that technique by using hair samples, so I just use--and you wanted--since the technique is so sensitive, you've got to make certain that your sample is not contaminated, to you have to test yourself, you have to test the workers around you to make certain that the sequences that you finally get back are those only from the bone. So I'd also wanted to mix in trained graduate students in Howard to use this technique and so it takes time when you're trying to get students who have little to no experience in a laboratory. So my end of the deal was a little bit slower than Michael would have like to see and this is where Rick Kittles came in; he's working solo, independent at NIH [National Institutes of Health] and everything like that; all he's doing is research. But that's beside the point; in the end, using the set of primers that I had for mitochondrial DNA and doing the DNA sequence, we were able to determine that the skeletal remains were from a region in West Africa, in a so-called Yoruba Tribe, and that worked out really well. And the other thing about grave sites like that is that, just as I told you early on about working for a dollar and a dime cutting grass in Elmwood Cemetery, slave graves were always kept separate from the white graves too, so that's another thing that made it useful in terms of like 'hey, what we're gonna find here is simply gonna be a slave or African origin,' and so that led the sociology and sociological part of anthropology as well, so then physical anthropologies, bones, the cultural parties, the social anthropology, so it's a huge team, large effort; and I think it paid off in a whole number of ways.$$Okay. So, you started this project in 1995--$$Emm hmm.$$--and I think it reached its conclusion with a publication of the findings (simultaneous)--$$Right, in 2009--$$(Simultaneous)--2009. Okay, that was a long time.$$Yeah, there was a lot of work. And you know, if you were to take a look on my book shelf, you could see--it was funded by the GSA, the government--what is it, the Government Services Administration?$$Emm hmm.$$Yeah. It was General Services Administration.$$Emm hmm.$$It was a tremendous number of people, and some things--there was some politics involved in it amongst us as scientists as well, so that probably added to it taking so long, and then plus with Michael transferring out to a school in Virginia. But Michael was a visionary and a strong advocate for this particular program, and I appreciate the time and effort that he spent, you know, in getting all of us involved in it.

Georgia Mae Dunston

Geneticist Georgia Mae Dunston was born in Norfolk, Virginia on August 4, 1944 to a working class family. As a child, Dunston developed an interest in the biology of race and decided to continue her study of biology after graduating from high school. She earned her B.S. degree in biology from Norfolk State University in 1965 and her M.S. degree in biology from Tuskegee University in 1967. Dunston went on to study at the University of Michigan, finishing her Ph.D. degree in human genetics in 1972. She then accepted a position at Howard University Medical Center as an assistant professor which she held from 1972 to 1978.

From 1975 to 1976, Dunston completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute where she studied tumor immunology. She later served as a scientist there in an immunodiagnosis lab that was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At Howard, Dunston was appointed director of the human immunogenetics laboratory in 1985. At this time, she focused her research on diseases that are common in the black community as well as genes and immune reactions that are unique to African American populations. From 1991 to 1994, Dunston served as associate director of the Division of Basic Sciences at Howard University Cancer Center. She was promoted to full professor in the Department of Microbiology at Howard in 1993 and became chair of the department in 1998. Inspired by the Human Genome Project, begun in 1990, Dunston focused her attention on the genetic heritage of the African American population. Dunston’s work in human genetics and diversity resulted in her founding the National Human Genome Center at Howard in 2001.

Dunston is the recipient of several awards including the Howard University College of Medicine Outstanding Research Award, NAACP Science Achievement Award and the Howard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Faculty Member Award. She has been a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Sigma Xi and the National Academy of Sciences Review Committee on Human Genome Diversity Project. Georgia Mae Dunston lives in Washington, D.C.

Georgia Dunston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 5, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.088

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/4/2012

Last Name

Dunston

Maker Category
Middle Name

Mae

Occupation
Schools

Norfolk State University

Tuskegee University

University of Michigan

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Georgia

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

DUN05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Oceans

Favorite Quote

All things are possible to the one that believes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/4/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese Food

Short Description

Geneticist Georgia Mae Dunston (1944 - ) is professor in the Department of Microbiology at Howard University and the founding director of the National Human Genome Center.

Employment

National Cancer Institute

Howard University Hospital

Howard University

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Georgia Mae Dunston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her mother's growing up in Princess Anne County, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston discusses her father's unique name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her patrilineal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her father's education and social background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her father's near death experience and religious enlightenment

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her family's religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her siblings and growing up in Norfolk

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston reflects upon her experiences and interests as a young girl

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about being introduced to philosophy and science

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston discusses what distinguished her from her siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her interest in biology, skin tone bias and race

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her transition to Ruffner Junior High School during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her experience at Booker T. Washington High School, and her desire to become a biologist

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about receiving a state scholarship to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about being a first generation college student

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston recalls some of her influential college professors and peers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her peers at Norfolk State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston remembers getting her first 'C' and learning biology in college

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about graduating from college and searching for employment opportunities

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her introduction to the field of genetics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her experience with academic challenges, love and heartbreak at Tuskegee University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree at the University of Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes how her experience with research expanded her scholarly opportunities

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about George Washington Carver

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston comments upon being unaware of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment while she was at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about being the only African American in the human genetics program at the University of Michigan in the mid-1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about exploring different belief systems at the University of Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about the study of human genetics being influenced by social stereotypes

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about race and genetics

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her doctoral work on characterizing a human blood-group variant first found in a native South American population

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about receiving an opportunity to pursue a post-doc at Howard University and NIH

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her relationship with her doctoral advisor

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about Dr. Willie Turner's role in her appointment at Howard University and the NIH

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about Dr. Willie Turner's mentorship at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her first experience with the NIH research grant process

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about African American geneticists and Howard University's program in human genetics

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes the establishment of the doctoral program and the first doctoral students in microbiology at Howard University in the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her role in establishing the Human Immunogenetics Laboratory at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her work in the field of immunogenetics

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about the role of the Howard Immunogenetics Laboratory in providing clinical services for the transplant program

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about how Howard University became involved in the Human Genome Project - part one

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about how Howard University became involved in the Human Genome Project - part two

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her initial meeting with Francis Collins in the 1990s, and her involvement with studying the genetics of diabetes in Africans

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her involvement with starting the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about recruiting geneticist, Rick Kittles, to the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about Rick Kittles' departure from the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study at Howard University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about factors that affect gene expression and regulation

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Georgia Mae Dunston reflects upon her legacy and talks about the genetic basis of diversity in humans

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Georgia Mae Dunston describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community today

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about her family and reflects upon her career's findings

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Georgia Mae Dunston talks about how she would like to be remembered, and describes the power of understanding the human genome

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Georgia Mae Dunston talks about the study of human genetics being influenced by social stereotypes
Georgia Mae Dunston talks about how Howard University became involved in the Human Genome Project - part one
Transcript
But in genetics, I just remember sitting in that class [at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan] being conscious of being black, and they're talking about black genes and white genes and black this gene. And I honestly believed that there were black genes and white genes. That's why I'm so sensitized at this point in time, almost thirty, thirty-five years later, still in a mindset of trying to tie genetics of biology to black and white, you know, with this racial construct. And, and part of, sort of my whole story going out of--I think I've been called and blessed to be where I am, at the time that I am, meaning, genome project and all because if we don't get it right, if we don't get it biologically, we're gonna miss out on the tremendous power that the science has to bring.$$Now, let me ask you, what was the current, the thinking in 1967 about race and genetics? I mean can you kind of boil it down?$$Just like our (laughter), just like our thinking about society in general, that the--and because we're dealing with medicine, the focus is on disease, okay. I'm in medicine, which is different from public health. So the focus is on medicine. So when you look at it at a population level, and when you look at it through society with a racial construct, the genetics is seen and taught in that way too. So we have black diseases, white diseases. Never mind the fact that all blacks don't have it, but because it's more common, it gets the label of that kind of disease. Sickle cell [anemia], a black disease. Many blacks have anemia that's not based in a sickle cell. Some whites have anemia that is based in sickle cell, but because we have this categorization, it carries over in even how we handle our healthcare. Even to the big studies that were done in the '80s [1980s] about how a physician factors in the person's quote "race" into their diagnosis, into their recommendations for care, based on what's common or generally known, not based on the individual. See, the big push now in medicine is this whole term "personalized medicine" that's really driven by the knowledge growing in the genetic basis of biology. But we're still stuck in our old constructs that are really compromising the power of our new technologies and techniques, and that's part of the scholarly work that we have to do in terms of shedding light. But my point is simply this, that I was interested in human genetics at a time where it was taught as science, but still taught through the lenses of a racists society, racists in terms of constructs, not in--$$Well, give me an example.$$I don't mean racists in terms of anybody treating me differently.$$I understand. Give me an example of what you mean?$$Just like I, the clearest example is this whole idea that I heard all the time. Black gene, white gene. I actually thought black folk had a gene that you could describe as clearly as in blacks. This is a gene in black folk. And I'm thinking because you got the black gene and the white gene, that white folk don't have this gene that we call black gene (laughter), okay. One time, it was so bad, I really expected, at that time, we were looking directly at the gene. We were looking at the footprints or the, really the expressions, if you will, the footprints, with skin color being one. But sickle cell being one of your first classic genetic diseases, okay. That was, that's one of the hallmark, genetic diseases. And it was the chairman of our department, Dr. Neal, who really was instrumental in tying sickle cell to the malaria environment and actually working out the fact that the presence of a sickle cell gene actually was contributing to the adaptive advantage or the survival of people in an environment where malaria could be a threat to life, okay, working that out. But my point is, my, I'm in human genetics so my study and what we're looking at is genes related to disease in people, okay. And because we have this way of looking at people and grouping people, that influences how we communicate, how we interpret, how we see the data. And so I would hear all the time, black gene, white gene. Those were common terms, so much so that I really thought that there were genes that were present in blacks that weren't present in whites and genes for whites and that these lined up with what we call black and white.$Okay, now, let me ask you about this. Now, I wanna ask you about the role that Howard [University, Washington, District of Columbia] played, that you all here at Howard played in the Human Genome Project beginning in 1990?$$Well, you see, building up to 1990 also I had done another, and this is how I kept my--I was able to, I have been able to keep my research active because of the physical location of NIH [National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland], beginning with the post-doc. And then I was going back periodically to reboot, to realign. So during the opportunity to develop the immunogenetics lab, I did another visiting investigator stint at NIH with the [National] Cancer Institute [NCI]. But this time, I was looking at--my interest in human immunogenetics was growing--actually, one before that was the NK, when the NCI moved to Frederick [Maryland] and I was there. But let me say this, Howard, how we got tied to the genome project, the genome project was perking up to officially start in 1990, okay, as a formal fifteen-year project. When it was first envisioned, formally starting in 1990 to be a fifteen-year project to complete sequencing of the genome. Now, in the late '80s [1980s] there, we were sensitive from HLA [human leukocyte antigen], okay. Another change that was occurring was Howard had recruited George Bonney who is a statistical geneticist who had come out of New Orleans [Louisiana] with a big statistical group there. He was recruited to this same program that, I had the immunogenetics lab [Human Immunogenetics Laboratory, Howard University]. He came to head our bio-statistics lab. And I mention him because he's coming now in the, in the early, mid-80s [1980s], I don't know exactly. But the point is, he's coming to head statistical, the statistics core, and we, he's part of this RCMI [Research Centers in Minority Institutions] program. And he and I meet, and we talk, and he tells me, Georgia, HLA, which is what I'm studying, this human antigen, he's saying that your work here is foundational for the big project that's really on the way, and we're talking big project--he's saying this, the human genome project. I didn't know about the human genome project before he came because he's now coming out of the group that's doing the planning of the statistics for this work, how we're gonna analyze this data. That's the group he's coming out of. But he tells me, we need to have a genetics resource here that's part of the genome project. He also, he's not--, he's Ghanaian. And he was in touch with the French folk that were big on human genetic polymorphism institute there [Paris, France] called CEPH, the Center for the Study of Human Polymorphisms. The bottom line is, he introduces me to his colleagues, tells them about my work in HLA, but saying that I need to be thinking of having something comparable to their study of polymorphisms. Actually, we go to Paris to look at their set up and to really meet these folks. So George kind of introduced me to the community that was planning and working with plans for the genome project. So we write a grant from Howard to have a genome resource at Howard, a resource for genomic studies at Howard. At that time, we called it GRAAP, Genomic Research in African American Pedigrees, okay, GRAAP was the name. We, all excited because George is saying, you've gotta have, you're gonna have to come to us to have resources of black 'cause at that time, and true enough, all of the resources that the folk gearing up for the genome project working with all of these resources are from white populations. This was a heady time, but suffice it to say, our grant was not even close to being funded.

Dr. James Bowman

Geneticist, medical professor and pathologist Dr. James Bowman was born on February 5, 1923 in Washington, D.C. to James E. Bowman, a dentist and Dorothy Bowman, a homemaker. Bowman graduated with honors from Dunbar High School in 1939 and went on to study biology at Howard University where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1943. By attending medical school as part of the U.S. Army Medical Corps at Howard University, Bowman was able to obtain his medical degree in 1946. His intention was to become an Army medical officer, but at the time, segregation prevented it, so Bowman continued his studies in pathology. After an internship at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C., Bowman did his residency in pathology at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago from 1947 to 1952.

In 1955, Bowman accepted a position in Iran where he studied favism, a disease which relates to the deficiency of glucose-6-dehydrogenase. From 1961 to 1962, Bowman studied genetics at the Galton Laboratory at the University College London. After returning from London, University of Chicago professor Alf Alving invited Bowman to take a faculty position there in the malaria research unit. His research on enzyme deficiency at the University of Chicago sent him abroad to do population studies. Bowman traveled to Mexico, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Uganda among other places. From 1981 to 1982, Bowman studied under the Henry J. Kaiser Senior Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

An expert in the fields of pathology and genetics and professor emeritus in the departments of pathology and medicine at the University of Chicago, Bowman also served on the Committee on Genetics; the Committee on African and African American Studies; and as a senior scholar for the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. He also published more than ninety works in the fields of general human genetics; hematological population genetics; genetic variation among diverse peoples; and ethical, legal and public policy issues in human genetics. One of his most notable books entitled, "Genetic Variation Disorders in People of African Origin," was co-authored with Robert Murray. Bowman and his wife, Barbara, raised one daughter, Valerie Bowman Jarrett.

Bowman passed away on September 28, 2011 at age 88.

Accession Number

A2002.192

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

9/27/2002

Last Name

Bowman

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BOW03

Favorite Season

None

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Outside of the U.S.

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/5/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Potato Salad, Rice, Ham

Death Date

9/28/2011

Short Description

Medical professor, pathologist, and geneticist Dr. James Bowman (1923 - 2011 ) was an expert in genetic pathology and a world traveler. Bowman was professor emeritus in the departments of pathology and medicine at the University of Chicago.

Employment

University of Chicago

St. Luke's Hospital

University College London

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Namazi Hospital

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:3554,30:31530,402:74161,971:100348,1363:188430,2440$0,0:65271,1042:172740,2497
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. James Bowman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. James Bowman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. James Bowman describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. James Bowman describes his father and mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. James Bowman describes his childhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. James Bowman talks about his favorite teachers at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. James Bowman describes his experiences attending Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. James Bowman talks about winning the District of Columbia singles tennis championship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. James Bowman describes segregation in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. James Bowman talks about attending Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. James Bowman talks about his professors at Howard University

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. James Bowman describes his extracurricular involvement at Howard University

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. James Bowman describes his experiences attending Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dr. James Bowman compares the standards of Howard University College of Medicine to other medical schools in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. James Bowman talks about serving in the U.S. Army at the Medical Attrition Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois and Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. James Bowman talks about meeting and marrying his wife, HistoryMaker Barbara Bowman

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. James Bowman describes why he moved to Iran in 1955

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. James Bowman talks about studying favism in Iran, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. James Bowman talks about studying favism in Iran, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. James Bowman describes favism

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. James Bowman talks about raising his daughter, HistoryMaker Valerie Bowman Jarrett, in Iran

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. James Bowman describes the cultural experience of living in Iran

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. James Bowman talks about living and working in England

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. James Bowman describes being hired at the University of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. James Bowman talks about Dr. Alf Alving

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. James Bowman talks about being invited back to Iran to lecture

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. James Bowman describes how the American Central Intelligence Agency's secrets were common knowledge amongst people living in Iran

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. James Bowman describes how a British intelligence secret was shared with him

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. James Bowman talks about the National Security Agency

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. James Bowman describes his research at the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. James Bowman describes his first research trip to Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. James Bowman shares an anecdote of the treatment of guests in accordance with Nigerian and Middle Eastern traditions

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. James Bowman describes the tensions of traveling to Uganda

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. James Bowman talks about Dr. John M. Branion Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. James Bowman talks about the various African countries he visited

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. James Bowman describes how he learned of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement while living in Iran

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. James Bowman describes his reaction to foreigners' perceptions of the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Dr. James Bowman talks about the importance of understanding different cultures

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. James Bowman comments on diversity from a genetics standpoint

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. James Bowman talks about "nature vs. nurture" and power, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. James Bowman talks about "nature vs. nurture" and power, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. James Bowman talks about the Model Sterilization Law and Buck v. Bell

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. James Bowman talks about eugenics around the world

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. James Bowman talks about eugenicist and physicist William Shockley

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. James Bowman talks about Dr. Frances C. Welsing and inherited disorders

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. James Bowman comments on the ideal of an utopian society

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. James Bowman shares his thoughts on religion

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. James Bowman notes how religion and politics can potentially stunt scientific progress

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. James Bowman shares a story about Dr. Joycelyn Elders

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. James Bowman talks about the politics surrounding stem cell research

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. James Bowman shares his thoughts about the future of genetic research, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. James Bowman shares his thoughts about the future of genetic research, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. James Bowman shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. James Bowman reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. James Bowman describes the deaths of each of his parents

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. James Bowman talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. James Bowman reflects upon his contributions to research and teaching in Iran

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. James Bowman provides advice for young people and talks about his wife, HistoryMaker Barbara Bowman

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dr. James Bowman narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. James Bowman narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$10

DATitle
Dr. James Bowman describes why he moved to Iran in 1955
Dr. James Bowman describes being hired at the University of Chicago
Transcript
Okay, so how long were you in Denver [Colorado]?$$We were there for about a year and a half, and then my wife [Barbara Bowman, HM] and I thought there was a chance, you know, should I go back to Chicago [Illinois] to Provident Hospital. I was invited back, but I thought that I had had enough of that, and my wife and I thought that we're not very happy to living, even in that time, under segregated conditions. And my wife and I said, and I said, well, it'd be nice to travel and have somebody pay for it (laughter). And we decided to leave the United States. And then during that time, it was during the McCarthy Era too. It was not very pleasant. And so I happened to be at a meeting in Washington, D.C., the International Geographic Pathology, and I met a friend of mine, who had been at Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and was head of Geographic Pathology. And he said, what are you gonna do when you leave the Army? And I said, well, I was thinking of going somewhere, and I was thinking of going to Africa or to India or some place. And he said, what I heard about an excellent place in Iran. There's a new hospital that's being built, and they want Americans and Iranians to open the hospital. I said, now, that's a rare thing. He said, and they're looking for a chairman of the Department of Pathology. So he gave me the address, and I wrote, which was then the Iran Foundation, which was incorporated in New York. And the members of the board of the Iran Foundation were professors from all over the country, and A. O. Whipple and Eastman from Har--from Hopkins and what have you. So my wife and I were invited out for an interview in New York at a yearly meeting they have there. And there was a large banquet, and my wife and I were circulated by members of the board. And at the end of the dinner, they said, well, Dr. Bowman, we'd like to invite you and your wife to Iran. So we said, yes, because everybody said, ah, that's the craziest thing. You wouldn't do it and why would you go there? And where is Iran and what have you? And I said, (unclear) you know, opportunity. And the salary wasn't bad, and it was tax free, so we thought we could make it. So, we, in 1955, we arrived in Iran, and it's the best thing that ever happened because that is--my work in Iran and the research I did there was eventually, was the reason why I was invited to at--the University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois].$Now, when you left England, where did you go?$$When I went to England, that is, I said, well, you know, we were looking for something else to do. And I remembered Dr. [Alf] Alving who was the, who initiated the studies on this enzyme deficiency that we were studying in Iran. And I remembered what he said. He said, now, Dr. Bowman, when you come to Chicago [Illinois], he said, I'd like for you to see me, talk to me, look me up. And so I called him up, and he said, Oh, oh, I remember. And he said, come over, I wanna see you. So we started chatting and chatting and chatting, and then the next day, he said, you know what? He said, he said, we'd like to invite you to be on the faculty at the University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois]. It just came out of the blue. I didn't expect it at all or what have you. And so he said, but, he said, the chairman of the Department of Medicine--at that time, the blood bank was in the Department of Medicine. And since I was a pathologist, and I did all sorts of pathology, blood bank, he said, we need someone in the blood bank. They had the blood bank. And that was, oddly enough, was in the department of medicine, he said, but the chairman, the Department--of Medicine, Dr. Jacobson, is going to be at the International Congress of Hematology, and are you going? I said, yes, I'm going there too, in Mexico. He said, he'll, he'll see you there. And so I saw him at his hotel, and he said, go out, he said, let's go out tomorrow, out to the pyramids. And so he took me out to the pyramids, and so we talked and chatted all day. And after we came back, he said, well, you know, he said, I'd like for you to be on the faculty, just like that. I didn't have an interview or anything else. Of course, I said, well, I said something about an interview. And he said, well, you've been with me all day long (laughter). He said, that's your interview. So that's how I started on the faculty of the University of Chicago with a group that was called the University of Chicago Malaria Research Unit, and they were doing research. And that was a unit that actually worked on and developed on prophylaxis for malaria and for treatment of malaria, right through that unit. But these, this research was done at Statesville Prison, and they were doing other studies too. So that's how I started at the University of Chicago.$$That's a wonderful story. I mean very few people are just invited without having to apply (laughter).$$(Laughter).