Dr. John Pringle
Having focused on swimming (but majored in math) as an undergraduate, I began graduate school intending to do population ecology. But as a result of wonderful courses that I took as a first-year student, I fell in love with genetics, cell biology, and yeast. There were no nearby labs working on yeast, so I worked on yeast proteins under the benevolent guidance of Guido Guidotti, discovering (among other things) the importance of using protease inhibitors and the advantages of boiling samples to be used for SDS-gel electrophoresis. For postdoctoral work, I headed to the University of Washington (the center of yeast genetics at the time), where I had the good luck to join Lee Hartwell's lab soon after it had begun the genetic analysis of the cell cycle. I participated happily in this work for three years, focusing mainly on development of the concept of Start (the cell-cycle control point in G1 phase).
After two more years as a postdoc in Zurich (continuing to study the nutritional control of cell-cycle initiation with Armin Fiechter), I started as Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 1975. We began to study the cytoplasmic events of the cell cycle (cytoskeletal organization, cell polarization and bud formation, mechanisms of cytokinesis), work that continued after our moves to the University of North Carolina in 1991 and to Stanford in 2005; several people in the lab still work on these issues. However, in 2004 I also began a study of the cell and molecular biology of the dinoflagellate-cnidarian symbiosis, motivated by the incredibly interesting biology, the almost complete lack of attention to it by molecular and cell biologists, and the hope of helping to save the world's coral reefs. Most of the lab now works on this project.