David Baltimore is a world-renowned biologist who in 1975 won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine along with Howard Temin and Renato Dulbecco “for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell.” We had the chance to sit down and discuss science, cancer research, and more with Baltimore.
Baltimore has had a long career in biology and research, with his interest beginning as a high school student in New York.
His own experience tells us that the field of biology has changed significantly over time. According to Baltimore, the biology class a high school student takes today is entirely different from the one he took as a high schooler in the 1950s. Whereas his biology classes started learning about parts of the fern and Linnaean Classifications, today’s high schooler will start out learning about the structure of DNA. From there, today’s biology classes build upon that DNA structure to an understanding of how systems are compiled and controlled to get to the functioning organism.
No field in science has had a revolution that complete in its underpinnings – David Baltimore
Part of Baltimore’s work as a scientist and researcher has included conducting groundbreaking cancer research. Baltimore explained that we now know the underlying genetics in each specific case of cancer is different from the next in one way or another. He went on to describe how vital it is to comprehend this in order to understand the single symptom, which is the uncontrollable growth of cells that create and drive cancer.
Research doesn’t have a lot of friends – David Baltimore
According to Baltimore, people appreciate research and the advances made against disease, but there are few, true advocates for research itself. That’s where an organization, such as Friends, comes into play and can be extremely helpful to scientists and researchers like Baltimore.