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David Ho

AIDS Research Pioneer

I was at the right place at the right time, having just finished the right type of training, getting ready to do the right type of training that would be relevant to this problem. Chance does play a very, very important role. The other thing I've been telling some of the students here is that serendipity plays an important role, but we have to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are bubbled up by serendipity. And, I certainly, for this particular problem, once I grabbed onto it I did not let go, even though in the early years it was not a problem and people would say, "Well why are you interested in a problem that effects the gay men and drug users?" You know, it's a disease and one should not look upon it in that way. And so, I went full speed ahead on this particular problem.
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David Ho

AIDS Research Pioneer

A lot of what we're looking at is the result of that process from our lab as well as the laboratories of several groups around the world, basically realizing the kinetics of the virus, using that information to do calculations. And, this is where my physical science background really came in useful, having a strong background in mathematics and applying it to biology and then being able to go on with a hypothesis, saying that if we approach treatment in this fashion with these types of drugs in combination, these are the results we expect. And, most of that has come true over the last few years, and now we need to see how far we could go with this whole strategy.
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Susan Hockfield

President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

When I think back to the things that intrigued me, when I was probably by four or five, it was biological things. And so I had this sense of enormous anticipation. My older sister, of course, got to freshman biology in high school before I did. I was so envious. Oh, I was so envious! And when I finally got to that course it was just heaven. And then I took a marvelous course my senior year. There was an advanced biology class for a small set of students who had been through the whole science sequence, and it was a wonderful, wonderful class. We worked with real animals, we did experiments with rats. It was really about mammalian physiology, and that was a terrific class. And I arranged -- I don't know where I got this idea -- but I arranged to take the AP exam in biology. The school didn't give an AP course in biology. There was AP English and AP math -- probably AP history, I don't think I took that -- but somehow I got the idea in my head that I would like to take AP biology. So I was excused from class to spend -- I don't remember how many weeks -- sitting in the library reading a college biology textbook, which was interesting but I don't describe it as a lot of fun.
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Susan Hockfield

President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Susan Hockfield: Steven Gobel. That was funny. Again, serendipity, unusual. I was the only graduate student he ever had. At NIH there aren't graduate students. Generally, you have post-docs -- you don't have graduate students -- and so I was his only graduate student, and what a wonderful experience for me. I had worked in a lab already for two years, so if you enter graduate school without any previous lab experience, there's a huge amount you need to learn just in terms of how you work in a lab. There are thousands of things about how you work in a lab that you just need to learn, and it takes some time. But I had already learned much of that as a lab technician, and if I had gone to work with a scientist who is used to having graduate students, I would've done the things that graduate students do. But instead I went to work with someone who was used to having post-docs, so he didn't think there was anything unusual about my fast-forwarding through that graduate student stuff and just jumping in essentially at a post-doc level. So my graduate research was done with the kind of independence normally accorded only to a post-doc, and I was in an environment where everyone was considered to be a mature scientist, and it was just wonderful. Wonderful. There were very few graduate students around, so I had access to spectacular scientists, one on one, in the midst of this very large group in which I was working. A hugely fortunate, deep, intense educational experience.
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Elizabeth Holmes

Health Technology Revolution

Elizabeth Holmes: We are a certified laboratory. We have the same certifications that every other lab has, the same regulatory approvals. We additionally have made the decision that we are submitting all of our tests to the FDA, in addition to our lab certifications, and we've gone through the certification process to get licenses for all 50 states in the U.S. We actually do have peer-reviewed publications, and we're increasingly doing more. It's an interesting comment, because in the laboratory space, traditionally, unless you're coming up with a new test methodology For example, you're changing from, let's say, an area where people used to do -- and I'm making it up -- immunochemistry, which is a type of method, and you're using, let's say, mass spectrometry, which is a different type of method, then you might see publication, but you really don't see publication in the context of people doing the same type of methods. So where we do our publications, it's in how this work can transform clinical care. We came out of a long period of being in stealth mode and doing work for pharmaceutical companies and others. There's a lot of that work that -- now that we're not in stealth about those things -- we're beginning to share. But fundamentally, the answer to that question is the data speaks for itself. We publish our data on our websites. Clinicians send us samples, and they try it, and they compare it to their reference methods. And that's why so many of them work with us.
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