In this interview, Ilko Ilev, discusses his career as a Senior Biomedical Research Service Scientist within the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. He details getting his PhD from the Technical University of Sofia in laser physics, where his thesis was focused on the development of alternative effective laser designs with direct lens-free optical fiber outputs and their implementations towards nonlinear broadband frequency conversions in optical fibers. Ilev details his experience as a Senior Assistant Professor at the Technical University of Sofia where he taught courses on general physics, quantum electronics, and fiber optics. He discusses the relationship between the FDA and medical device manufacturers. He describes the FDA’s longstanding collaboration with the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences, which has resulted in the development of a new field, Photobiomodulation Therapeutics. Lastly, Ilev discusses the various ways in which physics is directly applicable to his work.
Interview with William Duax, professor emeritus at the Hauptman-Woodward Institute. Duax recounts his childhood in Illinois, and he describes his early interests in the theater and bee keeping, before he focused on science at St. Ambrose University. He describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Iowa, and he talks about his introduction to quantum chemistry and X-ray crystallography. Duax discusses his postdoctoral research growing crystals with Abe Clearfield at Ohio University, and he explains the circumstances leading to his decision to join the faculty at HWI. He describes his developing interests in endocrinology and the formative influence of David Harker at the Roswell Park Research Crystallographic Center. Duax describes the long-term support of the NIH for his research agenda, and he discusses the value of his appointment at SUNY Buffalo. He recounts his long-term involvement in the American Crystallographic Association and his ongoing research interests in steroid structure and ribosomal proteins. Duax explains the importance of taking an evolutionary approach to his research, and he discusses some recent advances in bioinformatics. At the end of the interview, Duax describes his interest in social justice movements, and in particular, Black Lives Matter, and he explains the future promises of electron microscopy.
Interview with John K. Delaney, Senior Imaging Scientist at the National Gallery of Art. He discusses the datasets he has been analyzing during the pandemic, and he recounts his childhood in Boston. Delaney describes his experience at Rockefeller University and his interest in phototherapies and measuring porphyrins under the direction of Dave Mauzerall. He discusses his postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona to study rhodopsin molecules and following the changes in protein structure after excitation by light. Delaney describes his interests in biophysics and his subsequent postdoctoral position at Johns Hopkins as an NIH fellow working in the lab of Sriram Subramaniam, before taking a job in industry as an optical engineer. He explains the circumstances of his initial involvement at the National Gallery of Art and the Gallery’s realization of the value of spectroscopy for analysis and preservation of paintings. Delaney describes how he built an expertise on hyperspectral imaging. He explains why the Gallery supported this work and how a global community developed for this field. He explains the value of his work for art authentication and the opportunities he has pursued in public outreach. At the end of the interview, Delaney explains some of the key physics concepts that inform his work, and he describes his ambition to write a book on reflectance imaging spectroscopy of paintings.
This is an interview with Peter Basser, Principal Investigator at NIH and Section Chief of the Laboratory on Quantitative Imaging and Tissue Sciences with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Basser recounts his childhood in Long Island as the child of Austrian-Jewish immigrants. He describes his undergraduate education at Harvard and how he became interested in biology from a physics perspective. He describes his decision to stay on for graduate research where he worked on fluid dynamics in the lab of Tom McMahon. Basser discusses his postgraduate work on medical devices at Hewlett-Packard, and he describes the opportunities that led to his work at the NIH. He describes the research over the course of his tenure in magnetic stimulation and the flow of currents through nerve membranes. Basser discusses his move to NICHHD and the new opportunities becoming a Principal Investigator offered. He explains his long-range work on tensor imaging and anisotropic diffusion in brain tissue and the growing capacity to image tissue in stroke patients. Basser discusses his work in biomimetics and he explains his dual motivations in furthering both basic science and translational research that has clinical value. He explains the unique collaborative opportunities the NIH affords to work with medical doctors. At the end of the interview, Basser emphasizes the importance of continuum mechanics as a scientific concept that informs all aspects of his work, and he explains why he is excited in the future about new opportunities to study subcellular objects with NMR and other techniques.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Dan Neumann, Group Leader for Neutron Condensed Matter Science at the NIST Center for Neutron Research. Neumann recounts his childhood growing up on a farm in Nebraska and later on in Arizona. He discusses his undergraduate experience at Arizona State and his developing interest in condensed matter physics. Neumann describes his graduate work at the University of Illinois, and he describes his lab work, his AT&T fellowship and research at Bell Labs, and his dissertation work under the direction of Hartmut Zabel. He explains the circumstances leading to his appointment at NIST, and he describes the value of neutron scattering as a means of understanding materials at atomic, nanoscale levels. Neumann describes how neutron scattering fits within the overall mission of NIST, and he explains NIST's support for basic science and why its laboratories have attracted a wide array of researchers. He explains how neutron scattering is the key to developing new materials for both research and commercial applications. Neumann describes some of the key interagency partnership that have advanced neutron scattering research, and he explains some recent projects he has been involved in, including hydrogen fuel cell research, dynamic work on proteins, and pharmaceutical work. At the end of the interview, Neumann describes how closely his work at NIST has been integrated within the broader physics community.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Bernard Brooks, Chief of the Computational Biophysics Section in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Brooks describes the long scientific tradition in his family and he recounts his childhood in Massachusetts, where he displayed aptitude for the sciences at an early age. He describes his undergraduate education at MIT where he focused on chemistry from a computational perspective. Brooks discusses his graduate work at Berkeley where he worked with Fritz Schaefer on the configuration interaction code in quantum chemistry. He describes his postdoctoral research at Harvard with Martin Karplus, where he helped to develop the CHARMM project to study protein simulations. Brooks describes the circumstances leading to his work at the NIH, and he describes his ongoing work on CHARMM over the years. He explains the development of computational biophysics over the past thirty years and the numerous ways this work is relevant across the institutes at the NIH. At the end of the interview, Brooks assesses the impact of the rise of computation power over the course of his career and he forecasts how his work will contribute to ongoing improvements in physics models.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews William Eaton, NIH Distinguished Investigator and Chief of the Laboratory of Chemical Physics. Eaton recounts his childhood in Philadelphia and he describes his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned an M.D. a Ph.D. He describes his budding interests in chemical physics during his time in medical school and his formative research at Cambridge, where he worked on protein synthesis. He conveys the serendipity surrounding his decision to join the NIH as a result of his experience with the draft during the Vietnam War. He discusses his offer to head the biophysics program at Harvard, and he explains his decision to remain at NIH. Eaton provides a history of NMR and AIDS research at the NIH, and he describes his research agenda at the NIH, including his seminal work on sickle cell disease and protein folding. At the end of the interview, Eaton reflects on the value of his medical degree over the course of his career.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Richard Leapman, Senior Investigator in the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and Scientific Director of the intramural program. Leapman recounts his childhood in England and he describes his early and formative experience playing with an optical microscope. He describes his undergraduate work at Peterhouse College of Cambridge University and the influence of Aaron Klug in his physics education. Leapman explains his decision to remain at Cambridge for his Ph.D., and he describes his work in the Cavendish Laboratory and Klug's suggestion that he focus on inelastic scattering of electrons in electron microscopes to perform elemental microanalysis. He discusses his postdoctoral work at Oxford and the opportunity leading to his research at Cornell in the School of Applied Engineering Physics. Leapman explains his attraction to join the NIH upon learning that he would have access to an electron microscope and could work on electron energy-loss spectroscopy. He describes some of the biological implications of this work, including the ability to look at cells to detect elemental distributions inside subcellular organelles. Leapman discusses his many collaborations across the Institutes at the NIH and the development of NMR spectroscopy, and he describes the partnership between NIH and NIST that ensured his access to cutting-edge technology over the course of his career. He describes various aspects of his research that have direct clinical value to treating a variety of ailments, including asbestos exposure to coronavirus. Leapman describes his work at the chief of electron beam imaging and micro-spectroscopy and the numerous collaborations he has pursued beyond the NIH at both National Labs and university labs. He discusses some recent advances in his field, including new abilities to determine the 3D structure of proteins, and he explains his administrative duties as Scientific Director of the Institute. At the end of the interview, Leapman describes how the study of electrons has connected all of his research, and he discusses some of the challenges and opportunities he has confronted in his career as a physicist operating in a biologically-focused research environment.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews David J. Haas, President of the Tecco Corporation. Haas discusses his work as founder of Tempbadge and he recounts his childhood in Buffalo and then Texas. He describes his undergraduate education at the University of Buffalo, where biophysics was beginning to start as a distinct discipline. Haas explains his decision to remain at Buffalo for his graduate research, working under Fred Snell, and he describes his introduction to crystallography from David Harker at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute. He emphasizes the critical support provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), both to him as a graduate student and to biophysics generally at the time. Haas discusses his postdoctoral research in cryo-crystallography with David Phillips at the Royal Institute in London, and his brief work beforehand at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC. He describes his subsequent work at the Weizmann Institute in Israel where he continued his research in cryo-crystallography, and he describes the scene there during the Six Day War. Haas discusses his work at the Philips Corporation in New York, where he became involved with the X-ray research that would go into security scanners at airports and stadium venues. He explains his decision to go into business for himself with the launch of Temtec for which he created self-expiring visitor badges. At the end of the interview, Haas provides an overview for some of the major advances in biophysics over the course of his career, and he expresses optimism regarding the viability of antiviral therapies for Covid-19 by the end of the year.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Ksenia Blinova, acting assistant division director, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Division of Biomedical Physics at the FDA. Blinova recounts her childhood in Tula, Soviet Union, and she describes the “physics” and “lyrics” educational scheme that splits school children into either a science or humanities focus. She describes her education at Moscow State University, where she became interested in physics and where Victor Yuzhakov and Svetlana Patsaeva were her graduate thesis mentors and where she developed her expertise in fluorescence intensity. Blinova discusses her postdoctoral work at the NIH where she was mentored by Robert Balaban in the Cardiac Energetics Laboratory. She describes the fellowship opportunities stemming from NIH-FDA collaborations that led to her initial work at the FDA, where she learned both biostatistics and took training in regulatory issues. Blinova discusses her subsequent work in electrophysiology and induced pluripotent stem cells, and she describes some of the challenges in ensuring that medical devices are certain to be safe and effective for patients. She describes how physics is applied in her division, particularly in computer modeling, and she describes her interest in developing human cell research as an alternative to animal testing. At the end of the interview, Blinova describes how she plans to remain close to the research as her administrative responsibilities increase, and she explains the promise of her current work on cardiac ablation for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.