David Golde begins the interview with a discussion of his early years and education in Bayonne, New Jersey. In high school, Golde developed an interest in medicine, which was stimulated by his biology teacher. He received his B. S. in chemistry from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1962. He then attended medical school at McGill University, graduating in 1966. After graduation, Golde completed his internship under the supervision of Dr. Holly [Lloyd] Smith at the University of California, San Francisco [UCSF]. Golde joined the faculty at UCSF after completing his residency at the National Institutes of Health. His experience in clinical pathology at NIH steered him into hematologic research at UCSF in Martin J. Cline's laboratory. While at UCSF, Golde met several influential scientists who first sparked his interest in hormones.
In 1974, Golde left UCSF for the University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA], where he continues his affiliation today as Professor of Medicine, Emeritus. Throughout most of the 1970s, Golde's major field of research was in colony-stimulating factors. Golde observed cell lines to determine which tissues make colony-stimulating factors. In his laboratory at UCLA, Golde developed a major cell line called KG-1 with H. Phillip Koeffler. The KG-1 cell line was later used to clone alpha interferon. Golde began studying hairy-cell leukemia, researching the cell origins for the disease. Studying cultures of the Mo cell line (named after John Moore, a hairy-cell leukemia patient), Golde's laboratory was the first to purify human GM-CSF [granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor]. With Robert Gallo he discovered a specific strain of retrovirus named HTLV-II, and with his postdoc, Irvin Chen, was the first to clone the HTLV-II virus. Golde concludes the interview with a discussion of the relationship between the biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industries, issues regarding federal transfer of information, and thoughts on his contributions to medicine.