Digital Collections

Photograph of Andrew Camilli

Oral history interview with Andrew Camilli

  • 2002-Oct-07 – 2002-Oct-08
  • 2002-Oct-10 – 2002-Oct-11

Oral history interview with Andrew Camilli

  • 2002-Oct-07 – 2002-Oct-08
  • 2002-Oct-10 – 2002-Oct-11

Andrew Camilli was born in Lima, Ohio, a factory town, the fifth of seven children. After Andrew's birth, the family moved to Flint, Michigan, where his father worked as a banker. Camilli's parents were both quite influential in his intellectual development, both being proponents of obtaining a good education. His father's broad interests also introduced Andrew to science at a young age. He attended a public grammar school and then a parochial high school while in Flint, reading about science, being interested in and playing sports (though not for high school teams). He enrolled at the University of Michigan, Flint, intending to pursue a degree in computer science, but after taking a human genetics course, he decided he wanted a career in biological research. Soon he transferred to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to study biology and medical microbiology. While an undergraduate he had the opportunity to work in Robert B. Helling's and Julian Adams's laboratories, as well an opportunity to intern during his summers at Upjohn (about which he addressed the pros and cons of being in industry). After graduation, Camilli matriculated at Washington University in St. Louis, rotating through Daniel A. Portnoy's, William L. Goldwin's, and Roy Curtiss III's laboratories. When Portnoy left for the University of Pennsylvania, Camilli followed in order to complete his doctoral work on the genes for virulence factors in Listeria monocytogenes. He undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in John J. Mekalanos's lab at Harvard University focusing on a recombinase reporter system for genetic expression before accepting a faculty position at the Tufts University School of Medicine. After setting up his own laboratory Camilli received the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award providing him with funding to explore important and interesting directions in his research. Genes remained the central aspect of his science, so he focused his lab on genetic expression in Vibrio cholerae and gene regulation in Streptococcus pneumoniae, which, he acknowledges, has practical applications to understandings of health and disease. The interview concludes with Camilli's reflections on various topics related to his science, his life, and his career. He discusses the ways in which his role in the laboratory has changed over time, his teaching responsibilities, his management style, especially as it relates to his mentors' styles, and balancing his career with his family. He ends with his thoughts on competition in science; the national research agenda; collaboration; and, of course, what he enjoys most about being a scientist.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 120 pages
  • 6 h 21 m 54 s
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Institutional location

Oral history number 0591

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • September 27, 1963
  • Lima, Ohio, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1987 University of Michigan BS Microbiology
1992 University of Pennsylvania PhD Microbiology

Professional Experience

Harvard Medical School

  • 1992 to 1995 Postdoctoral Fellow, Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund

Tufts University. School of Medicine

  • 1995 to 2003 Assistant Professor


Year(s) Award
1983 William J. Branstrom Award for Academic Achievement, University of Michigan
1983 Michigan Competitive Scholarship, University of Michigan
1987 Graduated with high distinction, University of Michigan
1992 to 1995 Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
1997 to 2001 Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences Award
2002 Eli Lilly and Company Research Award

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PDF — 1.8 MB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

10 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads