Charles K. Barlowe was raised during the time of desegregation in Saluda, Virginia near the Chesapeake Bay, the youngest of three children. His father was a World War II veteran who used the G. I. Bill to become, ultimately, a dentist; his mother received her degree in history from the College of William and Mary, and became a school librarian once her children were in school. Barlowe started in public schools, but eventually transferred to private schools due to overcrowded classrooms and better educational opportunities. His education and childhood were, according to him, quite typical. Following in his family's footsteps, Barlowe enrolled in the College of William and Mary for his undergraduate education, where he decided to pursue his interest in chemistry. He worked with Gary C. DeFotis, a physical chemist who studied transition metals, analyzing crystal complexes by an x-ray diffraction method and then measuring their ferromagnetic properties with large magnets. Unsure of what path he wanted to follow for a career, after college Barlowe applied for and received a laboratory position with I. David Goldman in the Hematology/Oncology department of the Medical College of Virginia where he worked on antifolate polyglutamylation and competitive drug displacement at dihydrofolate reductase as important elements in leucovorin rescue. After his experiences at the Medical College of Virginia he decided to apply to, and was accepted at, the University of Texas. He studied with Dean R. Appling on folic acid metabolism in yeast for his doctoral work and then moved on to Randy Schekman's laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley for postdoctoral research on transport vesicle formation in membrane trafficking. Family and professional considerations led him to accept a faculty position at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. The interview ends with a discussion of setting up his laboratory at Dartmouth Medical School, the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant on his work, and his current research on mechanisms of COPII-dependent transport. In addition, he talks about scientific funding in the United States, his wife's career, balancing family life with work commitments, and the role of the scientist in society.
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