The Human Element: A Candid Conversation about Pioneers of Modern Medicine with discussants Peter Agre, J. Michael Bishop and Neen Hunt at the 2007 Aspen Health Forum. Elliot Gerson moderates the discussion.
Intellectual curiosity, methodological rigor, hard work and even luck each play a role in science. Hear Nobel Prize recipients J. Michael Bishop and Peter Agre recount personal stories of discovery, including including amusing anecdotes about what surrounds "Eureka!" moments. Neen Hunt, president of The Lasker Foundation, will share additional insights on discoveries by Lasker awardees- Aspen Institute
Dr. Peter Agre
A native Minnesotan, Dr. Peter Agre learned the importance of science and humanism from his Scandinavian parents. Following graduation from Augsburg College, Agre studied medicine at Johns Hopkins where he developed a lifelong interest in biomedical research.
After clinical training, Dr. Agre joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins and focused his research on red cell membranes. His laboratory became widely recognized for discovery of the aquaporin family of membrane water channels. Aquaporins regulate entry and release of water from cells and are implicated in multiple diseases including renal failure, heart failure, brain edema, blindness, and infectious diseases including malaria. For this work, Dr. Agre shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Roderick MacKinnon (Rockefeller). His other honors include the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Commandership in the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, and membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine for which he chaired the Committee on Human Rights (2005-08). As President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009-10), he led scientific diplomacy visits to Cuba, North Korea, Myanmar, and Iran.
Dr. Agre is currently University Professor and Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and directs the NIH International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Dr. Agre and his wife Mary have been married 38 years and have four grown children.
J. Michael Bishop
J. Michael Bishop is University Professor and Chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco, and a recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Bishop and his colleague Dr. Harold Varmus were jointly awarded the Nobel for their discovery of proto-oncogenes' normal genes that can be converted to cancer genes by genetic damage. This work led to the recognition that all cancer probably arises from damage to normal genes, and provided new strategies for the detection and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Bishop has served as a scientific advisor or member of numerous oversight boards, including the Board of Trustees of The Salk Institute, the National Cancer Advisory Board, and the Medical Advisory Board for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is the author of more than 300 research publications and reviews, and of the book How to Win the Nobel Prize: An Unexpected Life in Science.
Elliot Gerson is an executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, responsible for its Policy Programs, its Public Programs and its relations with international partners.
Neen Hunt is President of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and the Mary Woodard Lasker Charitable Trust, a position she has held since 1995. The foundation and its programs support biomedical research aimed at eradicating disease, improving human health and extending life. Dr. Hunt oversees the Lasker Medical Research Awards, which are widely regarded as among the most prestigious honors granted to medical scientists.
Prior to joining the foundation, she was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the United Nations Foundation, a non-profit advocacy and education organization that supports the United Nations. Before that she was Head of the Calhoun School, a coed independent school of 650 students in grades K-l2. Under her leadership the school received Presidential recognition as a model school, and the Calhoun library is now dedicated to her. She received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.