by Ella Epstein Over the summer, Rockefeller University president Dr. Lifton gave a lecture on the impact of genetics on human health and disease. Interested to learn more, I reached out to Dr. Lifton to ask him more about his work.
“I grew up in a rural town called Dragona, on the outskirts of Rome not far from the seaside. We had goats, still have chickens, vegetables and fruit gardens, make our own wine, tomato sauce and cheese. I spent a lot of time sitting on a fig tree; I would climb to the highest branch I could reach and sit there reading. Everything in New York is almost the complete opposite, most noticeably the pace of life and concept of time.”
“I grew up in rural PA where my grandparents have a farm. I’m the first person in my family to go to college and the first person in my extended family to go for a PhD. My family is always amazed that I can live in NYC, but I love it here. I’m a diehard foodie, so NYC is the place to be. Plus it isn’t too far from home when I want to go back.”
“Being a scientist allows us to be a part of a secret world that very few people are privy to. I was very interested in the concept of reality – of how we know what’s real, whether animals have a reality and whether animal reality is same as ours. Being a scientist to me means having the tools to uncover and understand a small part of that.”
“I was born in Austin, Texas, grew up in France, went back to Texas for undergrad, and did my PhD in Barcelona, Spain. NYC is quite different from both Texas and Barcelona, in many ways. Public transportation makes it feel more European than Texas, but it is very much America. I feel privileged that my position in society is to figure out the unknowns of the world around us. I have always been fascinated by figuring out how things work, and living systems are the most fascinating of all.”
Steven Lewis sat down with Dr. Shai Shaham, head of the Laboratory of Developmental Genetics at Rockefeller University, to discuss how growing up surrounded by both science and music has shaped Dr. Shaham's perspective on creativity. Research in the Shaham