Michael C. Carroll was born in Birmingham, Alabama, one of four children. His father worked as an engineer after serving in the United States Air Force, and his mother was a housewife and secretary. The family moved to Texas for Carroll’s father’s job when Carroll was about ten. Carroll obtained a business degree from Texas Tech University and moved to Dallas, Texas, to work in banking.
Becoming bored with banking, Carroll decided to try science. He entered Southern Methodist University as an undergraduate, continuing there for a master’s degree and becoming interested in immunology. He obtained his PhD from University of Texas Health Science Center, where his advisor was Donald Capra; and there he began his interest in Complement C4. He moved to University of Oxford to work with Rodney Porter as a post-doctoral fellow where he cloned C4. He then accepted an appointment in Boston Children’s Hospital and is now a professor in Harvard Medical School.
Carroll talks about funding and the ways in which funding drives areas of research, using as an example his own concentration on work in the less fashionable biology of complement, rather than pursuing MHC. He compares British and American science, specifically Harvard’s and Oxford’s. He explains the importance to him of things other than science, primarily family; and he describes the intersection of his science and religion.
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