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Winston Anderson

Biomedical scientist and research director Winston A. Anderson was born on July 26, 1940 in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1959, Anderson graduated from Calabar High School in Kingston and received his Higher Schools Certificate. At the age of seventeen, he immigrated to the United States and enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Anderson went on to earn his B.S. degree in zoology and his M.S. degree in zoology from Howard University in 1962 and 1963, respectively. In 1966, he graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island with his Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences.

Anderson was appointed as chair of the Howard University Department of Zoology in 1975. He served in that position until 1983 and remained on the faculty as a professor of biomedical science. In 2006, with a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Anderson started the Howard Hughes Medical Research Scholars program. This program has been supported by the National Science Foundation’s Research Careers for Minority Scholars program and the National Institute of Health Biomedical Research Support program for minority students at Howard University. In addition to research and mentoring, Anderson co-founded the Sandy Spring Museum and African Art Gallery in1988 and serves as the curator.

Anderson is a founding member of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and was the first African American scientist elected to serve on the ASCB Council. While at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Anderson received the Anne Langer Award for Cancer Research and the Distinguished Teacher Award at the Pritzker School of Medicine. In 1992, Brown University bestowed on Anderson its Outstanding Graduate Alumnus Award, and Howard University’s Division of Academic Affairs honored him for establishing the distinguished lecture series, “Brilliant Encounters in Science.” In 2011, Anderson received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Winston A. Anderson lives in Silver Springs, Maryland with his wife, Carol Anderson. They have three children: Laura, Lea, and Michael.

Winston A. Anderson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers February 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.053

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/17/2013

Last Name

Anderson

Maker Category
Middle Name

A

Schools

Calabar High School

Brown University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Winston

Birth City, State, Country

Kingston

HM ID

AND14

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Hang in there.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/26/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Jamaica

Favorite Food

Ackee, Saltfish

Short Description

Biomedical scientist Winston Anderson (1940 - ) , a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Professor, was awarded the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, Engineering Mentoring.

Employment

University of Paris

Harvard University Medical School

University of Chicago

Howard University

Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Winston Anderson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Winston Anderson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Winston Anderson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Winston Anderson talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Winston Anderson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Winston Anderson describes his parent's personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Winston Anderson talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Winston Anderson talks about growing up in his family's household

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Winston Anderson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Winston Anderson describes the music he listened to growing up in Jamaica

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Winston Anderson talks about his elementary schools

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Winston Anderson talks about his high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Winston Anderson talks about his influential high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Winston Anderson describes being on the track team in his high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Winston Anderson talks about his time at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Winston Anderson describes the transition from Jamaica to the United States

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Winston Anderson describes working as a switchboard operator while at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Winston Anderson talks about the faculty at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Winston Anderson remembers going with Stokely Carmichael to boycott restaurants in North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Winston Anderson talks about his mentors at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Winston Anderson describes his decision to attend Brown University for his doctoral degree

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Winston Anderson describes his time at Brown University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Winston Anderson describes his doctoral dissertation

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Winston Anderson talks about his spermatology research at the University of Paris

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Winston Anderson describes his mentors while he was at a post-doctoral position at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Winston Anderson describes teaching at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Winston Anderson describes his research on endochondral ossification

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Winston Anderson describes his research on estrogen-induced peroxidase

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Winston Anderson describes how he met his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Winston Anderson describes leaving University of Chicago to teach at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Winston Anderson describes the challenges he faced as head of the Biology Department at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Winston Anderson describes the grants he obtained for Howard University pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Winston Anderson describes the grants he obtained for Howard University pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Winston Anderson talks about the Ernest Everett Just

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Winston Anderson describes the growth of the Biology Department at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Winston Anderson describes current research at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Winston Anderson reflects on his legacy pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Winston Anderson reflects on his legacy pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Winston Anderson describes the interdepartmental projects at Howard University

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Winston Anderson reflects on his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Winston Anderson talks about the Sandy Springs Slave Museum and African Art Gallery pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Winston Anderson talks about the Sandy Springs Slave Museum and African Art Gallery pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Winston Anderson talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Winston Anderson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Winston Anderson talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Winston Anderson describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$3

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
Winston Anderson talks about his spermatology research at the University of Paris
Winston Anderson describes the transition from Jamaica to the United States
Transcript
Now, before we get away from Brown [University, Providence, Rhode Island], tell us about Elizabeth LaDuke?$$Right, you know, Brown allowed you to have many mentors, Richard Ellis, Richard Goss, Elizabeth LaDuke. She was the, the product of a professor there called J. Walter Wilson. A building is named after J. Walter Wilson. She was a great cancer biologist, and she would spend every summer at labs in France called Village Reef in France. And she was the person that said, "Winston, what do--would you like to go to France and continue your research?" I said, "Why not?" You know, I didn't have anything else to do at the time. So I got an American Cancer Society fellowship to go to France to work with, at her recommendation, work with a fellow named John Andre. John Andre was the most charismatic scientist you could ever find and a good scientist. And at that time, he was involved in identifying mitochondrial DNA in different protozoa and in different plants. And he was one of the first to isolate the mitochondrial DNA and look at it as single DNA particles, isolated from the cell. So it was really wonderful. But John Andre was a generalist as a cell biologist. And again, just like Brown [University], they allowed you to work on what you wanted to work. So he knew that I was interested, as I told you earlier on in the manchette, those microtubules that have formed heads of sperm. And then we took off, and we became, founded a society there called Society for Spermatology, International Society for Spermatology, groups from Italy, from Sweden, Europe, all over and the United States. And with one prime person, his name is Don Fawcett who was to become one of my most important mentors, Don Fawcett. Now--$$Now, what year is the society formed?$$This is '66 [1966].$$In '66 [1966], okay.$$'66, we're dealing with now, '66 [1966] to '68 [1968]. At the University of Paris [Paris, France] I think I came out with about twelve publications on spermatology, structure, function of sperm. On stuff dealing with mitochondrial metamorphosis, during spermiogenisis, the differentiation of sperm and identifying things like DNA in the sperm mitochondria of different animals and looking at the impregnation of the egg with sperm. In other words, use the electron-microscope to watch where the sperm binds with surface of the egg, how it gets incorporated. That's important because not only could you--the question was, does the sperm DNA in their, in their mitochondrial, contribute to the differentiation of the egg and the embryonic system? In most systems, it seems like the sperm DNA just breaks down. But in our system of the sea urchins that we looked, we found that the sperm mitochondria with its DNA fused with the egg mitochondria with its DNA and was carried on into the embryo. So we believe that the sperm or paternal mitochondrial DNA had something to do--or just not eliminated. It may have had something to do with the differentiation of the embryo.$$Okay.$$So those were interesting years. You met some of the great scientists of the world, and made the best connections that you could ever have.$$Now, you mentioned John Andre--$$John Andre, yeah.$$Now, what about Emanuel Foray, Ferme--$$Fremiet.$$Fremiet.$$Fora--Fremiet was one of the protozoologist of the time, and he worked very closely with John Andre. He was an old man, so he used John Andre's laboratories and really sort of one of the great advisors of the area.$$Okay, and what about--there's a person called "Person"--$$Paul Personne.$$Personne?$$Personne, he was a student of Andre. And he and I specialized in a very unique spermatozoan. This spermatozoan, and most sperm have the head, where you have the nucleus and the DNA. And then they have a body that just contains mitochondria, and the mitochondria provides the energy for the motility of the sperm. But this unique sperm had in its body a compartment that contained glycogen. And it used that glycogen to make ATP or energy for the sperm, and the difference of the mitochondria for the sperm to move. So it was a very, very unique thing, and you know, and it was time where we would develop techniques. Very few people knew how to demonstrate the presence of glycogen. We found glycogen everywhere in these cells, in the flagella, in the mitochondria, all over. So we hypothesized that they were, this was a source of glycolytic ATP. In addition to the ATP coming from mitochondria for the propulsion and movement of these sperm. And that was fun.$I just wanted to go back and have you describe your, how you made the transition from--$$Okay.$$--you know, Calabar [High School, Kingston, Jamaica]?$$Right.$$When you were on the verge of graduating from high school at Calabar--$$Yes, yes.$$--did you have college counseling from anyone?$$Nothing, nothing like that. I, you had two choices, people in my situation. My brother [Abraham St. Aubyn Anderson] was already in the United States. My sister [Shirley Payne Anderson] had gone to London [England, United Kingdom], and there was no money to really do much with me. So after Calabar, I worked one year in Jamaica at a job at the mail office, pulling bags of mail. Then my uncle got me a little job in new accounts at the bank, and I think just fouled up a lot of people's bank books (laughter), because I didn't, wasn't very good at it. But then, I had a choice. My type of person in this family setting would either be a teacher or a preacher. And they're all ready to send me to the Methodist Man School to become a Methodist minister. And my mother [Ruth Elizabeth Gray] made the mistake of asking me, "What did you want to do?" And I said I wanted to come to the United States to be a dentist, to prepare to become a dentist. And that was a ploy that we all used because at that time, the island needed dentists, and you could only get off if you said you wanted to be a dentist. And so I used that ploy, but you had to show some monies to back it up, and so my mother and her sister and a couple friends of mine, the Livermore's, got enough money to let me get to the United States.$$Okay.$$Okay, and I came here, and I remember, it was on the old BOAC [British Overseas Airways Corporation] airplanes. And I remember my father [Laurel Charles] didn't see me off, and that was the last time I saw my father. But on the plane, I saw him driving a little truck, coming to the airport. It was too late. And my mother gave me two things. She said, "Here is a little bible, and here's fifty dollars. Go see your uncle in Wilmington [North Carolina]" and then to my older brother in Washington [D.C.]. So I still have the bible.$$Okay, now, this is in 1958?$$1958.$$Okay, all right.$$Seventeen years old, going on towards eighteen.$$Okay.$$And so that's the transition.