Oral Histories

Interview of Stewart Shuman

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences: Stewart Shuman
Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences
Science, Medicine, and Technology
Hathaway, Neil D.
Shuman, Stewart
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 New York City; the National Science Foundation Summer Program in Biochemistry; undergraduate studies at Wesleyan University; working for a summer in Lewis N. Luken's lab; spends a summer with K. Gordon Lark at University of Utah; reasons for pursuing a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree; choosing to attend Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University; the significant role played by female faculty at Einstein; decides on Jerard Hurwitz as a Ph.D. mentor; Hurwitz's contributions to the field of procaryotic replication; research on RNA kinase and RNA transcription; Eugenio Spencer's purification of vaccinia RNA polymerase; characterizing RNA polymerase via pyrophosphate exchange leads to work on capping enzyme; the usefulness of vaccinia virus as a system for studying enzymes; dealing with inconsistent results from the same lab; Shuman's preference for working alone; his final graduate project demonstrates that vaccinia and human capping enzymes utilize the same covalent mechanism; the benefits of training in a public hospital; the emergence of AIDS during Shuman's residency; his preference for research over clinical work; reasons for returning to poxvirus studies; applications of vaccinia recombinant studies to live vaccines; the shrinking field of virology; the scientific community's increasing concern with status; Bernard Moss lab's contribution to understanding viral gene expression; postdoctoral research on capping enzyme and elongating polymerase in Moss's lab at National Institutes of Health (NIH); collaborates with Steven S. Broyles on in vitro transcription assays; a conflict over authorship strains relations with Moss; the lack of an educational mission at NIH; the excitement of establishing a lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; training students and postdocs; collaborating with Beate Schwer on the role of capping enzyme in yeast.