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Early Days with Interferon

Early Days with Interferon


JOURNAL OF INTERFERON & CYTOKINE RESEARCH 27:91–96 (2007) © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/2007.9998 HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Early Days with Interferon DEREK C. BURKE in Europe was a young man named Jim Watson, who had just published with Francis Crick that famous letter in Nature,1 with its memorable conclusion: “It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material,” that was to set the course of the biosciences for the next 50 years. When I returned to England, I was newly married to a Yale graduate, I was liable for military service in the British army, and I had no job. I was grateful to be offered two very different jobs in Britain, one working on rocket fuel development and the other on the biochemistry of viruses at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) at Mill Hill in North London. This Institute, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), was one of the premier research laboratories in Britain, and I was lucky to be offered a post there. This was a 3-year appointment as a member of the chemistry division, not the virology division,
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