Oral Histories

Interview of Kai Zinn

Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences: Kai Zinn
Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences
Science, Medicine, and Technology
Novak, Steven J.
Zinn, Kai
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
Interviews in this series, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, document the research of "outstanding scientists from quality institutions" chosen by the Pew Scholars Program to receive four-year stipends.
Growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico; majors in chemistry at University of California, San Diego; graduate study in molecular biology at Harvard University; cloning the cDNA for interferon while in Mark Ptashne's lab; reasons for moving to the Tom Maniatis lab; interest in gene induction; the principle of cooperativity in gene regulation; discovery that the interferon gene is regulated by both activators and repressors; uses genomic footprinting to detect factors that interact with interferon in vivo; fails to recieve credit for the SP6 RNAase protection assay; examples of scientific discoveries that have been misattributed; Zinn's relationship with his wife, Pamela J. Bjorkman; postdoctoral work on the labeled-pathway hypothesis in Drosophila in Corey S. Goodman's lab; sequencing fasciclin I in grasshoppers and Drosophila; functional redundancy of molecules in the Drosophila nervous system; reasons Zinn and Bjorkman accepted positions at California Institute of Technology; managing lab personnel; studying olfactory receptors; the funding of scientific research; scientific publishing; the rewards and difficulties of a scientific career.