Gregory J. Hannon was raised in New Castle, a town in western Pennsylvania just north of Pittsburgh, the elder of two children in a large Irish-Catholic family. His father worked as a quality inspector at Johnson Bronze Company; his mother was a homemaker. After completing high school, Hannon attended Case Western Reserve University, choosing to major in biochemistry. During his sophomore year he began working in Joyce E. Jenhoft's laboratory, which served as a pivotal moment in his scientific career. The experience of scientific research in the Jenhoft lab encouraged Hannon to participate in a program for early admission to Case Western's graduate school. Upon starting his graduate career, he entered Timothy N. Nilsen's lab and began his work on RNA processing, developing new techniques to answer his research questions. Hannon completed his PhD at Case Western and then chose to continue his studies as a postdoctoral fellow with David Beach at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. In Beach's lab he worked on cell cycle interacting proteins and RNA interference (RNAi). It was during this time that Hannon began collaborating with Yue Xiong (Pew Scholar, Class of 1995) and Manuel Serrano on CDK. He accepted a permanent research position at Cold Spring Harbor, and worked through the complexities associated with transitioning from someone else's lab to one's own research lab at the same institution; he also started his work with Genetica, Inc. Throughout the remainder of the interview, Hannon talks about partnerships and collaborations between academia and industry; the privatization of scientific research; and trademark issues. He also discusses his perspectives on the grant-writing process; the peer review system; and gender issues in science. The interview concludes with his reflections on balancing his career and his family life, his scientific aspirations, and the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on his work.
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