Oral history interview with Jonathan D. Goldberg

  • 2003-Dec-26
  • 2003-Dec-30
  • 2004-Jan-05
Photograph of  Jonathan D. Goldberg

Jonathan D. Goldberg was born and raised in Hertfordshire, England, one of two children. From the outset, it was clear to his parents that Goldberg was talented academically and so they encouraged him from a young age to attend university. He went through the British state-school system and advanced rapidly through his studies; his interest in science began early, choosing math, chemistry, and biology as his three subjects for A Level exams. Although academically inclined, he also had interests and participated in activities outside of school, including sports, reading, and Boy Scouts. An influential teacher and some interesting lessons on DNA led Goldberg to pursue biology for his undergraduate study. He attended the University of Liverpool, where he majored in biochemistry and had his first experience with intensive lab work. Despite his focus on microbiology while at Liverpool, Goldberg's own interests drew him to structural biology. He subsequently attended the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine and received his PhD under David M. Blow, in whose laboratory Goldberg enjoyed a great deal of scientific freedom; his graduate research focused on protein structure and x-ray crystallography. Drawn by John Kuriyan's (Pew Scholar class of 1989) more experimental approach in structural biology, Goldberg joined Kuriyan's lab at Rockefeller University for a postdoctoral position, researching the structural biology of cell signaling. James Rothman convinced him to take a position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at which he took a hands-on approach to his small lab. Goldberg's research has focused on intracellular transport, and he discusses how his research, which has resulted in a number of publications in prestigious journals, may further the field. In this interview, he also reflects on some broader themes that have affected his research and career, including funding, publishing, and, later in the interview, creativity, collaboration, and competition. Additionally he remarks upon how his own laboratory has operated, including his laboratory's approach to structural biology, his management style, and how his intuition has factored into his research. He also spends some time talking about being part of a two-scientist family, and how he has managed to balance career and family, describing his typical day in the laboratory. The interview ends with his beliefs about the ways in which the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences has impacted on his career.

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