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  1. Carla J. Shatz : An Oral History

    Shatz, Carla J.
    Stanford (Calif.) : Stanford Historical Society, October 15, 2019 - 2019-11-18

    Carla Shatz, the Sapp Family Provostial Professor, the Catherine Holman Johnson Director of Stanford Bio-X, and Professor of Biology and Neurobiology, speaks about her education and research career in neuroscience, change over time for women in science, and the successes of Bio-X, Stanford’s interdisciplinary biosciences institute. Shatz describes her family background and her undergraduate education at Harvard, where an opportunity to work in the lab of David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel led to an interest in studying neurophysiology. She recounts her PhD and postdoc work at Harvard Medical School and joining the faculty of Stanford’s Department of Neurobiology in 1978. Shatz describes her later work in UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, her recruitment to Harvard Medical School as chair of the Department of Neurobiology, and her decision to return to Stanford to direct Stanford Bio-X. Shatz summarizes Bio-X’s successful seed grant, graduate fellowship, and undergraduate summer programs and describes the institute’s role as an incubator for cutting-edge ideas and university initiatives. She provides insight into her lab’s important research discoveries on neuroplasticity, including possible applications in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and the work of her lab family across all three institutions. Other topics include opportunities and challenges for women in science, the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford, and receiving both the Gruber Prize and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.Women in science • Growing up on the East Coast • Value parents placed on education and their encouragement of her interests • Early interest in science and math • Mother’s insistence that she take shop class with the boys instead of home economics • Impact of the Space Race on US science education • Acceptance to Radcliffe College • Russian immigrant family background • Lack of women in STEM at Harvard in the 1960s • Relationship of Harvard and Radcliffe during the 1960s • Anti-Vietnam protests and activism at Harvard • Family differences in views of the Vietnam War • Father’s work as engineer at Lockheed during World War II • Mother’s surprising expectations for her regarding marriage • Lack of access to birth control during college • No maternity leave at Stanford in the early 1980s • Lack of women professors during her college education • Thoughts on women’s progress in academia • Memories of father’s work ethic and family athletic pursuits • Learning courage through skiing and applying it to science • Impact of Title IX on the Radcliffe/Harvard Ski Team; benefits of participating in athletics during college • Deciding between chemistry and art and design • Opportunity to work as an undergraduate in the lab of David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel at Harvard Medical School • Interest in studying neurophysiology in graduate school • Impact of grandmother’s stroke on her decision to pursue a PhD instead of an MD • Birth and growth of the field of neuroscience • Receiving a Marshall Scholarship • Decision to use scholarship to study physiology at University College London • Research and MPhil thesis on changes in the properties of neurons in the brain • Decision to return to Harvard as a graduate student in the lab of Hubel and Wiesel • Harvard’s Department of Neurobiology • Debate about whether the department should accept women graduate students in the 1970s • Mentors at Harvard • Junior Fellow in Society of Fellows at Harvard • Impact of fellowship in enabling connections with the university at large • Studying how the brain processes visual information • Postdoc work with Pasko Rakic on brain development • Being hired at Stanford Medical School at the same time as Helen Blau and Ann Arvin • Support and advice at Stanford from Eric Shooter • Early days of Stanford’s Neurobiology Department • Research facilities in the Sherman Fairchild Building and designing her first lab • Equipment necessary for research in neurobiology in the 1970s • Funding research with NIH grants • Challenges in recruiting diverse faculty • Decision to delay children until after she had earned tenure; endometriosis diagnosis and infertility treatments • Looking for jobs as a dual academic couple with then- husband, Mike Ignatius • Reflections on sexism in the handling of spousal appointments and differentials in retention efforts and salaries for women faculty • Move to UC Berkeley • Thoughts on gender differences in negotiating retention packages • Divorce • Stepping into major leadership roles at UC Berkeley • Creation of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute • UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology • Stanford’s low salaries compared to other institutions • Howard Hughes Investigator funding • Exposure to many different disciplines at UC Berkeley • Creating a lab family • Research on how brain circuits change during developmental critical periods • Support from immunologist Jim Allison • Teaching undergraduate students at Berkeley • Sharing personal challenges with lab family • Running a lab and importance of senior research staff to lab stability • Thoughts on work-life balance • Invitation to chair the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School • Helen Wills • Howard Hughes administrators’ refusal to allow her to take her funding to Harvard as she would be in a leadership role • Joining the Howard Hughes Medical Advisory Board and instituting a performance-based process for obtaining permission to transfer funding • Opening up the selection process for Howard Hughes funding and thus increasing the presence of women and moving away from the old boys’ network • Recruitment to Harvard and strengthening the department with five new hires, including four women • Efforts to make Harvard Medical School a more nurturing place for women, including building a breastfeeding room and creating a support network for women in the basic sciences • Fundraising to support special childcare needs as part of recruiting new faculty • Growing disillusionment with Harvard following space reallocation and President Larry Summers’ comments on women in science • Recruitment to Stanford to direct Bio-X • Jim Clark’s funding for the Clark Center and story of his surprise announcement at Bio-X’s Tenth Anniversary celebration • Faculty and funding structure of Bio-X • Success of seed grant program • Bill Bowes and the Bio-X fellowship program; impact on Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships • Success of Bio-X PhD and MD-PhD students • Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Program • Resources to make newly discovered technologies available quickly; Optogenetics Innovation Lab • Gratitude for high level support from the university • Creation of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford with Bill Newsome; Bio-X as catalyst and incubator • Bio-X Executive Committee and process for moving faculty in and out of the Clark Center • Philanthropists support of Bio- X; creation of an expanded Bio-X Advisory Council • Research on immune receptors and their roles in removing connections in the brain and their application to Alzheimer’s disease • Brain organoids • Thoughts on using animals in research • Connection between basic science and translational research • Research discovery that even before birth signaling sculpts neural circuitry in the brain • Receiving the Peter and Patricia Gruber Prize in Neuroscience • Kavli Prize in Neuroscience in 2016 for work on early neuroplasticity • Research on the molecules involved in the brain’s pruning of neural connections • Prolonged nature of research, publication, and acceptance of discoveries • Publishing research • Patents and Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing • Patent on Alzheimer’s work • Current approaches to treating Alzheimer’s • Joint appointment in the School of Medicine and School of Humanities and Sciences • Advising biology undergraduates • Differences between undergraduates and medical students • MD-PhD students • Women in the Society for Neuroscience • Importance of mentoring beyond the classroom • Neuroscience academic family and efforts to keep up with former students • Teambuilding in the lab • Service on scientific advisory boards • Salk Institute • Vallee Visiting Professorship at Columbia • Long-range planning efforts at Stanford, including the Innovative Medicine Accelerator • Love of performance arts and culture • Ballet training and skiing • World travels • Similarities and differences between Stanford, Harvard, and UC Berkeley • Role and evolution of basic sciences in medical education • Interdisciplinary collaboration and collegiality at Stanford

  2. Carla J. Shatz : An Oral History

    Shatz, Carla J.
    Stanford (Calif.) : Stanford Historical Society, October 15, 2019 - 2019-11-18

    Carla Shatz, the Sapp Family Provostial Professor, the Catherine Holman Johnson Director of Stanford Bio-X, and Professor of Biology and Neurobiology, speaks about her education and research career in neuroscience, change over time for women in science, and the successes of Bio-X, Stanford’s interdisciplinary biosciences institute. Shatz describes her family background and her undergraduate education at Harvard, where an opportunity to work in the lab of David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel led to an interest in studying neurophysiology. She recounts her PhD and postdoc work at Harvard Medical School and joining the faculty of Stanford’s Department of Neurobiology in 1978. Shatz describes her later work in UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, her recruitment to Harvard Medical School as chair of the Department of Neurobiology, and her decision to return to Stanford to direct Stanford Bio-X. Shatz summarizes Bio-X’s successful seed grant, graduate fellowship, and undergraduate summer programs and describes the institute’s role as an incubator for cutting-edge ideas and university initiatives. She provides insight into her lab’s important research discoveries on neuroplasticity, including possible applications in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and the work of her lab family across all three institutions. Other topics include opportunities and challenges for women in science, the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford, and receiving both the Gruber Prize and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.Women in science • Growing up on the East Coast • Value parents placed on education and their encouragement of her interests • Early interest in science and math • Mother’s insistence that she take shop class with the boys instead of home economics • Impact of the Space Race on US science education • Acceptance to Radcliffe College • Russian immigrant family background • Lack of women in STEM at Harvard in the 1960s • Relationship of Harvard and Radcliffe during the 1960s • Anti-Vietnam protests and activism at Harvard • Family differences in views of the Vietnam War • Father’s work as engineer at Lockheed during World War II • Mother’s surprising expectations for her regarding marriage • Lack of access to birth control during college • No maternity leave at Stanford in the early 1980s • Lack of women professors during her college education • Thoughts on women’s progress in academia • Memories of father’s work ethic and family athletic pursuits • Learning courage through skiing and applying it to science • Impact of Title IX on the Radcliffe/Harvard Ski Team; benefits of participating in athletics during college • Deciding between chemistry and art and design • Opportunity to work as an undergraduate in the lab of David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel at Harvard Medical School • Interest in studying neurophysiology in graduate school • Impact of grandmother’s stroke on her decision to pursue a PhD instead of an MD • Birth and growth of the field of neuroscience • Receiving a Marshall Scholarship • Decision to use scholarship to study physiology at University College London • Research and MPhil thesis on changes in the properties of neurons in the brain • Decision to return to Harvard as a graduate student in the lab of Hubel and Wiesel • Harvard’s Department of Neurobiology • Debate about whether the department should accept women graduate students in the 1970s • Mentors at Harvard • Junior Fellow in Society of Fellows at Harvard • Impact of fellowship in enabling connections with the university at large • Studying how the brain processes visual information • Postdoc work with Pasko Rakic on brain development • Being hired at Stanford Medical School at the same time as Helen Blau and Ann Arvin • Support and advice at Stanford from Eric Shooter • Early days of Stanford’s Neurobiology Department • Research facilities in the Sherman Fairchild Building and designing her first lab • Equipment necessary for research in neurobiology in the 1970s • Funding research with NIH grants • Challenges in recruiting diverse faculty • Decision to delay children until after she had earned tenure; endometriosis diagnosis and infertility treatments • Looking for jobs as a dual academic couple with then- husband, Mike Ignatius • Reflections on sexism in the handling of spousal appointments and differentials in retention efforts and salaries for women faculty • Move to UC Berkeley • Thoughts on gender differences in negotiating retention packages • Divorce • Stepping into major leadership roles at UC Berkeley • Creation of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute • UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology • Stanford’s low salaries compared to other institutions • Howard Hughes Investigator funding • Exposure to many different disciplines at UC Berkeley • Creating a lab family • Research on how brain circuits change during developmental critical periods • Support from immunologist Jim Allison • Teaching undergraduate students at Berkeley • Sharing personal challenges with lab family • Running a lab and importance of senior research staff to lab stability • Thoughts on work-life balance • Invitation to chair the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School • Helen Wills • Howard Hughes administrators’ refusal to allow her to take her funding to Harvard as she would be in a leadership role • Joining the Howard Hughes Medical Advisory Board and instituting a performance-based process for obtaining permission to transfer funding • Opening up the selection process for Howard Hughes funding and thus increasing the presence of women and moving away from the old boys’ network • Recruitment to Harvard and strengthening the department with five new hires, including four women • Efforts to make Harvard Medical School a more nurturing place for women, including building a breastfeeding room and creating a support network for women in the basic sciences • Fundraising to support special childcare needs as part of recruiting new faculty • Growing disillusionment with Harvard following space reallocation and President Larry Summers’ comments on women in science • Recruitment to Stanford to direct Bio-X • Jim Clark’s funding for the Clark Center and story of his surprise announcement at Bio-X’s Tenth Anniversary celebration • Faculty and funding structure of Bio-X • Success of seed grant program • Bill Bowes and the Bio-X fellowship program; impact on Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships • Success of Bio-X PhD and MD-PhD students • Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Program • Resources to make newly discovered technologies available quickly; Optogenetics Innovation Lab • Gratitude for high level support from the university • Creation of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at Stanford with Bill Newsome; Bio-X as catalyst and incubator • Bio-X Executive Committee and process for moving faculty in and out of the Clark Center • Philanthropists support of Bio- X; creation of an expanded Bio-X Advisory Council • Research on immune receptors and their roles in removing connections in the brain and their application to Alzheimer’s disease • Brain organoids • Thoughts on using animals in research • Connection between basic science and translational research • Research discovery that even before birth signaling sculpts neural circuitry in the brain • Receiving the Peter and Patricia Gruber Prize in Neuroscience • Kavli Prize in Neuroscience in 2016 for work on early neuroplasticity • Research on the molecules involved in the brain’s pruning of neural connections • Prolonged nature of research, publication, and acceptance of discoveries • Publishing research • Patents and Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing • Patent on Alzheimer’s work • Current approaches to treating Alzheimer’s • Joint appointment in the School of Medicine and School of Humanities and Sciences • Advising biology undergraduates • Differences between undergraduates and medical students • MD-PhD students • Women in the Society for Neuroscience • Importance of mentoring beyond the classroom • Neuroscience academic family and efforts to keep up with former students • Teambuilding in the lab • Service on scientific advisory boards • Salk Institute • Vallee Visiting Professorship at Columbia • Long-range planning efforts at Stanford, including the Innovative Medicine Accelerator • Love of performance arts and culture • Ballet training and skiing • World travels • Similarities and differences between Stanford, Harvard, and UC Berkeley • Role and evolution of basic sciences in medical education • Interdisciplinary collaboration and collegiality at Stanford

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