Chapter 14: A Memorable Student and Advice to Students/Professionals

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Chapter 14: A Memorable Student and Advice to Students/Professionals

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In this chapter, Dr. Arlinghaus reflects on his career at MD Anderson, noting that he is very pleased with the people he has trained.He recalls in particular, Guzi Jamjun [SP?], a graduate student from Saudi Arabia who trained at the Graduate School of Biomedical Science.Dr. Arlinghaus describes how Mr. Jamjun was able to help him in his own thinking about laboratory technique and methods, noting how rare it has been for him to find someone to discuss work deeply.At the end of the chapter, Dr. Arlinghaus gives advice to students and professionals: work hard, be honest, only publish what you believe.He also says that he doesn't know how to instill drive and a sense of mission in people, but notes that "if it's a hobby, it's not enough."He advises leaders to attract bright people and to listen to them.

Identifier

ArlinghausR_02_20140402_C14

Publication Date

4-2-2014

Publisher

The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - View on Career and Accomplishments; Portraits; Personal Background; Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents; The Professional at Work; Giving Recognition; Mentoring; Professional Practice; The Professional at Work; Collaborations; Overview; Definitions, Explanations, Translations; Career and Accomplishments

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

I remember. So I think we would do well together if I was a department chair, but my time is over, which I don’t like. But I had some good ideas about who’re other good people to hire, but that parts gone. I’ve done my part and I wish MD Anderson well. It’s a good institution. I’ve certainly thrived because of it for most of the years and I feel fortunate to be able to come here and do well and to be promoted up the ranks. I do I feel blessed and although my discoveries drove the process, because I wasn’t a politician.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Right. Right

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

My wife, both of them, said you don’t speak enough about what you do. I said, “Well, I’ll leave my work to speak for itself.” And Barbara used to say, “That’s a mistake.” And Kathy says the same thing. Anyway, I did alright. I did alright. I’m very pleased --- pleased with the people I’ve trained. Pleased with the people that helped me as trainees and I had a graduate student that I maybe didn’t mention to you. As my --- one of the first graduate students. He was Saudi Arabian. Did I talk about him? I’ve had probably 25 graduate students who’ve trained and got their Master’s or PhD’s. Gazi Jamjune (phonetic, ) was his name, a Saudi. He got his Master’s at University of California and came to the graduate school here at Biomedical Sciences and had they --- they had these --- all the faculty had what are called tutorials to give a graduate student a chance to have a look at the lab they may want to get their work done, PhD work on. And Gazi got a Master’s at University of California in Santa Barbara, from a wealthy Saudi, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I never learn from graduate students in the way I learned from him. He had the big picture. He had the small picture. Gazi Jamjune. He was quite a guy. He helped me a lot. And his --- and the performance of his research while he was in my lab. And, of all the other 25, there are a few I could mention, but not like him. He was brilliant. He was good with his hands. He was good with his brain.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What did you learn from him?

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

Methods to make --- better methods. I used to marvel because he developed certain methods to examine things in my lab, and I watched and learned from him in that regard. That added to my knowledge about methods. You know, when I was a graduate student, they were using paper chromatography to analyze the composite of a peptide, and I went to the library. Gazi did that in modern way. So, for example, we used to --- we used to analyze --- I have to remember back. It now has been 15 years ago. I just lost the --- we used to analyze --- I don’t know why I just lost it. But we used to analyze --- Ah --- And we used to fractionate proteins on what are --- these columns. I talked about the Moore & Stein column that was very long. We’d run buffer through that at 35 degrees --body temperature-- and collect fractions, maybe 100 fractions. Analyze each fraction. He used to run what are called ‘analysis of proteins’ on tube gels. So we’d put the mixture of the cell proteins on the top of a tube that long [gestures], using electrophoresis to drive the proteins through the tube and separate them by size. So we used to then push the tube out of the ---- the gel out of the tube and slice it with a razor blade and analyze each slice. He came to me and he said, “I looked this paper up.” He did what I used to do. He looked this paper up and he found out that, instead of running tube gels --separating proteins within in the tube, run a slab gel and you could put your fraction on a --well, on a slab that had 10 --- potentially 10 tubes, 10 lanes. And you could develop that slab, because using radioactive at the time. Using sophisticated radioactive method. Again, he got that from the library. So my lab became --- so everybody in the lab learned those techniques from Gazi and they became more productive because they didn’t have to cut 100 fractions --- a tube that is cut into 100 fractions and analyze each tube. We could do it on one slab gel. And you’d put a film over it and instantaneously develop the x-ray film and see the fractions...

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So amazing

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

… on the film.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So amazing, amazing efficiency.

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

So he taught me a lot. Plus he helped me decide on this --- I don’t know if I told you or not. Anyway, so it turns out in the Rauscher leukemia virus they had this 8,000-nucleotide genome coding for essentially three proteins. And ribosome got onto the end of that messenger RNA and translated the first third called the gag protein –protein that encapsulated the viral genome and reverse transcriptase. Then the rest of it was not known how it got translated into protein, although the coding information was there. It was not known how the ribosomes got past that block, and I figured out that if wa --- because other people in yeast genetics were showing that there was special transfer RNAs that allowed the ribosome to bypass the stop codon. So, the gag gene has all the codes for the various amino acids, then the ribosome comes across this stop codon. Well in yeast genetics, there are transfer RNAs that would bind to that stop codon and put an amino acid there and allow the ribosome to continue translating into the pol. So you got a gag-pol protein, and that made me again in a very small world famous for a little while, right?

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What did Gazi [phoneatic] add to that?

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

Discussions, talking

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So helped you.

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

He didn’t provide the incentive, but he was one of the few people that could --- we could discuss things like that and he didn’t say, “Well, I don’t believe” or “I don’t”. Probably not giving him enough credit right now, but again it has been so long ago. But he was a confidant as a graduate student. It was unheard of.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Very, very unique

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

For me it is still unheard of

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Very unique. Wow. That sounds like he was creative in a similar way to you, so you make a good…

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

Very creative

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Good symbiotic unit there

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

We were a good match. We were.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yep.

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

And I was fortunate to have him in my life.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Is there anything else you would like to add, Dr. Arlinghaus? I don’t have any more real questions to ask.

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

I had a good career here. Could have done more, but I did the best and maybe even better than I thought, so I’m very pleased. I’m not unhappy with my career, although I missed some opportunities, not by any fault, it’s just ….so there’s so many mysteries when you attack a research problem and you’re just not [reading] enough. You don’t read enough. You don’t see what the other pe --- other people in the field are doing. You might read it, a few of the papers, but you don’t read enough and it’s even worse now. Because of the number of papers coming out in chronic myeloid leukemia. So I get this thing I get every month. There’s a computer program that looks at all the CML papers and I get --- I get to read them now, but that wasn’t available two years ago or one year ago. So I can see other people who publish papers in journals I never heard of. That’s what it takes to make progress. And the opportunities I missed because I don’t know.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Right. Right. So what --- based on that, what advice do you have for people doing research now in your field?

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

Work hard. Be honest. Only publish things you believe. Don’t be false. You have to publish facts and findings so that they can use those facts and findings to build on. ‘Cause you’re going to use facts and findings from other people to build on. So, but I don’t know how you would instill intuition. I don’t know how you do that. Or mission-driven. If it a hobby, I don’t know if it’s good enough. You can’t say that to a young assistant professor, because they’re brilliant in a way that I’m not, and so I always tell them you’ve got to make happen. You’ve got to get bright people around you. You’ve got to educate bright people. You’ve got to listen to what they say because sometimes you may be wrong. So I, as I say, I’m blessed.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So anything else you would like to add.

Ralph B. Arlinghaus, PhD:

Sorry it’s over.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

We’ve leave it there, Dr. Arlinghaus. Thank you. I’m turning off the recorder at 3 p.m.

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Chapter 14: A Memorable Student and Advice to Students/Professionals

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