William Dove (1354), Index

Interview #1354
DOVE, WILLIAM F. (1936 - )
George Streisinger Professor Emeritus of Experimental Biology; Professor Emeritus of
Oncology and Medical Genetics.
At UW: 1965-present (emeritus status 2011)
Session 1
Index by:
August 16, 2013; August 21, 2013; August 23, 2013; August 28, 2013
Molly Laas
Molly Laas
Abstract: In his August, 2013 interview, the geneticist and cancer researcher William
Dove discussed his work at McArdle Laboratory, a period spanning from the 1960s to the
1990s. Dove spoke about becoming interested in genetics and his work with various
animal models: phage lambda, Physarum polycephalum, and the Min mouse, and how
this work relates to the regulation of growth of cancer. William F. Dove spoke about his
work with an additional animal model, the Pirc Rat, and explained why he worked on
intestinal cancers. He then discussed his recruitment to the McArdle Laboratory, detailing
what the laboratory community was like when he first arrived, and detailing some of the
ways it has changed from the 1960s through the 2000s. Dove also detailed his his
relationships with some of his colleagues. Dove discussed the scientific and
administrative staff of the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research who had been
important to his work, as well as mentioned the contributions of graduate students and
postdocs whose work had been pivotal for shaping the course of his lab's scientific work.
In addition, Dove continued his commentary on fellow faculty members. Dove also
discussed McArdle's place on the UW-Madison campus, as well as its relationship with
the Carbone Cancer Center. Dove discussed his family background, including his early
years growing up in Maine and Oak Park, Illinois. He also talked about his schooling at
Phillips Andover, Amherst College, and the California Institute of Technology. Dove then
discussed places that were important to him, including the Jackson Laboratory in Maine.
Dove additionally commented on his involvement in the Madison community and his
personal friendships among McArdle faculty, touching on his work with American
Players Theater in Spring Green, WI, and attending Grandparents University with his
grandchildren. This interview was conducted for inclusion into the UW-Madison Oral
History Program.
Key Words: William F. Dove, McArdle Laboratory, cancer research, genetics, the Min mouse,
gastrointestinal cancer, Harold Rusch, Jim Miller, Betty Miller, Waclaw Szybalski,
Howard Temin, Charles Heidelberger, McArdle staff, Biology Core Curriculum, Carbone
William F. Dove (#1354)
Cancer Center, Jackson Laboratory, Madison, WI,
Interview Session (August 16, 2013): Digital File
00:00:00 Start of Interview/Interviewer’s Introduction.
00:00:13 Question: How did William Dove (WD) become interested in genetics? Answer: WD
noted as a preamble that history itself is a fiction; a story that we tell ourselves to
make sense of the past. WD described his research career as opportunistic. He had
been interested in physical chemistry since high school and loved working in
chemistry lab and making compounds. WD learned how to do research in graduate
school at Caltech [received PhD there in 1962]. The question that intrigued him there
were the behavior of molecules. WD noted that Caltech was a small research
community and due to this he was able to work with molecular biologist Max
Delbrück, who had gathered around him people from many different backgrounds to
work on biological problems. WD did experiments in the Delbrück lab while doing
his chemistry PhD, and in this capacity he was exposed to genetics and learned to
analyze biological problems. As a postdoc [at the Medical Research Council Unit for
Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge, 1962-63] he learned how to use
genetic techniques.
00:04:49 [No question] WD described chemistry as synthesis, a bottom-up understanding of
the molecule. By contrast genetics as he learned it as a postdoc is top-down; taking a
working biological system and asking which mutations interfere in the process, by
subtracting one element at a time. The intent is to identify the genes that are involved
in the process. In his case, DNA replication of a simple virus [phage lambda]. Do
these two approaches meet, and encounter the same molecule? WD said that the great
bridge between molecule-builders and geneticists is the mutated gene. When a gene is
mutated it is possible to find out by sequencing it what protein does it code for, and
how it changes when you interrupt the system. When you do biochemistry you find
that the same protein is a central part of a system you build from scratch. This
approach has been successful, depending on biochemists who use genetics. This gives
them the confidence that a molecule they purify is part of the system.
00:09:03 Question: Did WD work with Linus Pauling at Caltech? Answer: Yes. WD said that
Pauling was the éminence grise of the Caltech chemistry department at that time.
Pauling has brought undergraduates from England to work on a pet project, and WD
supervised them, as he had finished his PhD and had time. WD said he could see the
intuitive brilliance that Pauling brought to science, and his command of chemistry, as
well as his distance from hands-on experimental work as he became more involved in
public affairs and other projects. WD said that the project that he worked on had to do
with the action of general anesthetics.
00:12:30 Question: Regulation of growth is an overarching theme in WD's research career.
William F. Dove (#1354)
What led him to be interested in this question? Answer: WD talked about influence of
the person who became his mentor at MRC-Cambridge. He was first assigned to
Francis Crick, who was trying to fill in gaps of understanding the genetic code using
biochemical binding experiments that would figure out what amino acid a particular
triplet code coded for. WD said that these experiments did not excite him. Talks about
the work of Sydney Brenner, a Cambridge biologist who understood the genetics.
Brenner became interested in the control of replication in 1963, while Dove was a
postdoc. He published a paper with the French geneticist François Jacob on the
replicon model for DNA replication. Dove wanted to test it, though it was difficult to
figure out how to test it. WD talked about phage lambda, [a bacterial virus] that can
infect a host genome but live passively – it does not kill the host, though it is
replicated by the host. WD said he selected for viruses that could not grow. WD
digressed a bit to note that issues of latency versus active growth is rampant
throughout current McArdle research. In his own lab, work is being done on early
stages of colon cancer that become latent. Dove says that he studied this intensively
in phage lambda in the early 1960s. WD notes that this shows the influence of
Brenner and Jacob on his work. He and his wife Alexandra Dove worked in Jacob's
lab at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1975-6, in order to learn new scientific methods
for studying mammalian differentiation. Studying how a virus replicates or doesn't
replicate came out of his postdoctoral work, using genetics to analyze a complicated
00:20:55 [No question.] Dove explained that this was a time when biochemists, most notably
Arthur Kornberg (Stanford biochemist), were trying to use purified enzymes to build
systems for DNA replication for the host E. coli. WD said that the biochemistry
department at Stanford gave him a lab to work in after he had accepted a position at
McArdle, as his lab in Madison was not yet finished. There he became familiar with
Kornberg's science and the culture of the Stanford biochemistry department. By then,
WD said he was committed to genetic analysis, and every time Kornberg would talk
about the purified Kornberg polymerase WD would ask whether he knew if it was
involved in DNA replication. WD related an anecdote about Kornberg using
biochemical methods as well as genetic ones to solve a problem in DNA replication.
WD said that the purified approach of the chemist seldom works; genetic methods are
needed to find out which molecules are important. Dove said that his work with
replication and lambda identified its process of replication. The molecular detail came
in part from Fred Blattner's work (professor of genetics at UW-Madison, former
postdoc of Waclaw Szybalski). He was one of the first to make DNA sequencing
feasible for small genomes, like lambda and E. coli, in the early 1970s. WD said that
his lab collaborated with Blattner. Dove noted that much of his work has involved the
graduate students who worked in his lab and the McArdle community. WD notes that
it was impossible to know when he joined the faculty (in the mid-1960s) that he could
do genetics work on anything more complicated than a simple virus. When Harold
Rusch hired WD, he knew that his work had affinities with Howard Temin's work.
00:29:42 Question: [How did WD make a shift from working on a virus to working on the
slime mold model [Physarum polycephalum]? Answer: By the 1970s, DNA
William F. Dove (#1354)
sequencing could be done on more complicated organisms, such as yeast and various
microbial eukaryotes. Dove said that physarum has euykariotic nuclei and presents
mitotic cycle in an amplified way. Rusch had perfected ways to grow physarum, and
WD and his first graduate student, Finn Haugley began to work on the organism
because of its synchronous replication cycle. WD explained his research on the
organism, noting the contributions of Tim Burlent, an assistant scientist in the Dove
lab, Tim Schedl, a graduate student in molecular biology, and Keith Gull, sabbatical
visitor from England. The group was able to study molecular processes that happen
during the mitotic cycle and how the microtubular system shows very dramatic
regulation in anticipation of the mitosis, then inactivates itself when it is complete.
WD said that they were able to analyze this in molecular detail and study the effects
of anti-microtubular drugs that are used in cancer therapy.
00:36:03 Question: How did your work on physarum relate to cancer research? Answer: Dove
said that if a simple definition of cancer is that it's uncontrolled replication. To begin
to understand cancer at a basic level, Dove and his lab wanted to understand how
cancers replicate. His lab studied one aspect of it; the mitotic apparatus. Dove said
that ideas are like a seed, but they need a soil to flourish, either a receptive colleague
or a community. Dove said that what they did with lambda and physarum was in a
culture that was thinking about cancer. He said that even in the 1960s he had pressure
from senior scholars to do his genetics on mammalian cells. He knew that the
genetics of mammalian cells was not rational, in that the ploidy was not controlled.
So the genetics could not be mapped and had a large ascertainment bias. He thought
he could do better work on lambda and physarum. Dove noted that his stint in Jacob's
lab gave him the tools for working on mammalian genetics. WD said that he talked
with Peter Brooks, a visiting scholar in Charles Heidelberger's laboratory, about
carcinogens and how they act. It became clear to WD in the late 1970s that there was
a class of carcinogens, the nitrosamines, that would be effective mutagens in the germ
line. Bill Russell and the large mutagenesis facility at Oak Ridge had studied the
same class of molecules. One of these nitrosamines was found to be active, so WD
said that they knew that they could approach mammalian biology with rational
genetic methods. Alexandra wanted to get into serious research in the late 1970s. So
to make mutagenesis work it takes calendar time, as WD put it, as the progress of the
experiment is staged by the life cycle of a lab animal. Alexandra would see her
animals every day, when she had time to to do it. This gave the lab time to develop
mutations in the mouse that were effective in differentiation. The byproduct of this
was the first mouse mutant that in the germ line developed intestinal cancer. This is
the mid-1980s. [Dove referred to the Min Mouse]
00:45:00 Question: What are some of the applications of the Min Mouse? Answer: WD said
that they were able to study all of the genes that affect the process of tumor formation.
He explained that there can be several genes in a system that tip the balance toward
the development of cancer, or slow or speed up development of cancer. Dove detailed
the modifer gene his lab identified that slows the growth rate of cancers. This,
combined with other modifying loci in the genome, can stop cancer growth. WD also
described research on cloned HeLa cells that suggests ways that therapies could
William F. Dove (#1354)
interfere with the early stages of a tumor, as well as early detection of cancers. Dove
noted that his lab worked with the Jackson Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in
1993 making the Min mouse available to researchers around the world with no
restrictions. Many hundreds of publications have been made using the Min mouse
over the past 20 years using animals from the Jackson Lab. Dove notes that this is a
strong contrast with the OncoMouse, licensed by Harvard University to DuPont,
which put strong restrictions on its use and limited publications. Dove said he was
lucky to work with WARF, which supported making strains available worldwide.
Dove noted that there has been a lot of research on cancer but that they only treatment
available is 5-fluorouracil, developed at McArdle by Heidelberger. One must believe
that early detection is the best way to address colon cancer as a public health problem,
which is why his lab works on early detection.
00:54:16 End of Interview
Interview Session (August 21, 2013): Digital File
00:00:00 Start of Interview/Interviewer’s Introduction.
00:00:11 Question: Why did Dove decide to create the Pirc Rat? Answer: William Dove [WD]
explained that some organisms show biological phenomena more clearly than others.
The Min Mouse was useful for cancers in the small intestine. However, changes in
the same gene that causes small intestine cancer in the Min Mouse causes colon
cancer in humans. WD noted that McArdle scientists Henry Pitot and Michael Gould
studied rats; in addition, Alexandra Dove and others in the Dove group had made
germ-line mutagenesis practical. Gould used these techniques in rats. The Dove lab
collaborated with Gould's mutagenesis program, and they monitored the animals that
emerged from his program for genes that would be useful for them. Dove said that his
graduate student Larry Kwong and postdoc Jim Amos-Landgraf set up a screen for a
mutation in the rat that affected a gene called APC. They looked at over 1,300 rats
over the period of a year, and found an animal that had a mutation in this gene. They
found that the mutation led to colon tumors, like the human. WD said that they were
then able to develop a number of experiments for which the rat is more suitable than
the mouse. WD notes that the genetics of the mouse is highly developed as a tool for
doing genetics research; by contrast the rat is less developed, but is beginning to catch
up. For the Dove lab the most important thing is the initial biology: a defect in this
particular gene gives a human-like disease. A mouse does not behave that way.
00:08:20 Question: Did Dove work out a similar means of sharing the Pirc Rat with colleagues
as he did with the Min Mouse? Answer: WARF got a patent for the Pirc Rat. The Min
Mouse was developed in collaboration with a group from Johns Hopkins, and they
were working with the pharmaceutical company Hoffman-La Roche, which wanted to
patent it. Dove said that his lab and his Hopkins colleagues did not think it would be
beneficial to patent it. This allowed the Jackson Laboratory to make the Min Mouse
freely available to academic researchers. WARF has licensed the Pirc Rat to Taconic
William F. Dove (#1354)
[a lab mouse and rat supplier] under a similar open access model as the Min Mouse
for academic researchers. Dove notes that the McArdle rat cancer genetics
community now includes James Shull.
00:11:56 Question: Why study gastrointestinal cancers? Answer: The Min model was the first
to emerge from mutagenesis experiments. That being said, Dove noted that
gastrointestinal cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer in the industrialized
world. The survival rate for the cancer is about 50%, he added. Most of what Dove's
lab does with the Pirc Rat is to work on early detection of cancer. Some of their
investigations have been with the biotechnology center to look for markers that might
be present in blood to be used for early detection of cancer. An early tumor can be
surgically removed, Dove noted, which is a less-risky surgery with a good prognosis.
So in this instance, early detection becomes a cure.
00:15:33 Question: How was Dove recruited at McArdle? Answer: Dove was hired by Harold
Rusch, and first came to Madison on a cold January day, where he spoke to Rusch
and every other faculty member. He noted that hiring at McArdle involved the entire
faculty. He noted that there were strong chemists on the faculty at the time, like James
Miller and Charles Heidelberger, and Roswell Boutwell, with whom he had an
intellectual affinity. Dove said that there was not a great deal of genetics at McArdle
at the time, though Temin was an exception, as was Waclaw Szybalski. Rusch made
him an offer several days after the visit, which was one of several offers he received.
Dove noted that he was also courting Alexandra Dove, who would become his wife;
they jointly decided to move to Madison.
00:21:28 Question: What was McArdle like when you first arrived in 1965? Answer: Dove had
no lab when he first accepted the position in 1964. When he arrived the following
year his lab was almost ready. He initially worked with his sixth-floor neighbor,
Heidelberger, and one of his graduate students. From the beginning until now
McArdle faculty had a special feature: most of its faculty meetings would be devoted
to research. Dove described this as different from other Wisconsin departments, and
different from departments at other universities. Van Potter was crucial for this. Dove
described him as very full of ideas and an interactive person, and an important
participant in faculty meetings. Betty Miller always made sure that faculty meetings
happened, and that research would be discussed. While Norman Drinkwater was the
director of McArdle he wrote accurate summaries of research talks.
Question: Did Dove get any of his ideas from the faculty meetings? Answer: Only
osmotically, Dove said. He listened to a lot of discussion of cancer. He noted that he
was at one point under pressure to do somatic cell genetics, and when he would give a
staff meeting on phage lambda the question arose as to whether he could do similar
studies on mammalian cells. He had to quietly suggest that he didn't want to do that
kind of work. When new techniques
00:27:45 Question: What was Harold Rusch like as a director? Answer: Dove noted that Rush
had hired everyone, and there was a familiar affinity. McArdle was also smaller than
William F. Dove (#1354)
it is now. Rusch became allergic to animals and found that his talents were better
served as an administrator. He was not doing research, though he had a deep interest
in cancer and could talk with faculty members about their work. Dove said that
Rusch's special talent was that he could talk to anyone, and was very friendly. Rusch
was effective in building a family at McArdle when it was small. WD noted that Pitot
and Drinkwater made their connections to labs in a different way. Pitot did the
pathology for all groups that did cancer research, so he interacted scientifically.
Drinkwater has been the go-to person for statistical analysis of data. Dove said he
thinks that it's a matter of the growth in size and the nature of connections with the
director that McArdle is less of a family at present.
00:31:05 Question: If McArdle is less of a family now, how would Dove characterize it?
Answer: Dove said that McArdle is a community. He detailed its facets: the faculty
research meeting is still central, and that the graduate students at McArdle are paid
attention to by the faculty, including Paul Lambert, Dan Loeb, and Drinkwater.
McArdle seminar comes and goes, Dove said, though Jim Shull is trying to make it
more prominent. Dove has bought in to this, he said, as has Carolyn Lambert. They
have an experiment going on called the “speaker chat” where students meet with an
outside speaker after a lecture. He compared this to a similar program in the genetics
department. Dove said he thinks that the seminar will help foster a stronger sense of
community at McArdle.
00:35:08 Question: Impressions of Waclaw Szybalski? Answer: WD equated Szybalski's
personality with an attempt to find out if there is life on Mars: the way to do it is to
probe and see if there is a reaction. Dove said that Szybalski loves to get a reaction by
challenging others. WD described him as inventive and supportive of his students.
His personal interactions are the opposite of Rusch, he said, and described him as a
wildcard in the McArdle deck.
00:38:05 Question: Impressions of Howard Temin? Answer: He was also one for challenging
dogma. He had unmatched biological insight, and he was committed to going for the
final truth whether it could be predicted or not. WD said that Temin had a level of
cynicism that would allow him to pick up alternative motivations people might have
for what they do. In science there are a lot of people who are out for fame, or are
interested in making a killing rather than a living in science. Temin could pick this up,
Dove said. After Temin was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer he became softer, a
side that wasn't present before he was diagnosed.
00:41:00 End of Interview
Interview Session (August 23, 2013): Digital File
00:00:00 Start of Interview/Interviewer’s Introduction.
William F. Dove (#1354)
00:00:10 Question: Faculty who were important to your work at McArdle? Answer: Dove said
he got to know the research of all of his colleagues on the faculty. He also listed a
number of faculty members who he and his wife had socialized with [more detail on
this topic is in the August 28 interview]. He noted that this sub-group of the McArdle
community who has been more like family. Dove noted that the academic staff has
been important to his work. He mentioned Helen Iverson, the first business manager
of the department, and her successor Randy Martinson. Both women have the
community at heart and help the community do good work, Dove said. He also
mentioned Bette Sheehan, an administrator, and Ilse Riegel, a senior scientist at
McArdle, who were helpful in organizing students, postdocs, and grants. Mary Jo
Markham and Kristin Adler, word processing specialists, were also important to
Dove's work; they have been on the staff of McArdle since the mid 1970s. Dove said
that they know each other's jobs completely, and have provided continuity. Don
Fechner, a handyman who is in his 80s but still comes in to the office; WD noted that
Fechner's dedication to his work stems from his belief in the core mission of McArdle
to cure cancer. Question: Fechner couldn't retire? Answer: WD said that he's rather
fix things at McArdle than at home.
00:10:05 [No question] WD explained that McArdle is in the center of campus and is a place
for meetings of graduate students and postdocs who want to work on cancer. Dove
said it was a serious question as to whether these people feel part of the community.
He explained his efforts for forging tighter bonds between McArdle and the students;
such as arranging for students to have meetings with colloquium speakers. He also
discussed “episcience” or passions out of the lab, and Dove has arranged for members
of the community to give talks about their outside interests. These talks are as yet
attended by a small number of people but it has been something Dove was interested
in exploring.
00:15:30 Question: McArdle's status as a hub of cancer research in the middle of campus; will
it change when it moves to the new location? Answer: Dove noted that it will be in
the middle of the second of three big towers, and may lose its scientific identity. The
labs will be open labs, which is different from how they are in the current McArdle
building. Dove said he is not sure that McArdle will be able to express its identity; the
best opportunity for this would be the weekly seminar series.
00:18:09 Question: Jim Shull, present director of McArdle? Answer: Dove said that Shull
comes from outside McArdle, and has scientific affinity with Dove's group and
Michael Gould's group. Shull is trying to create connections through the McArdle
seminar but is disappointed with how many faculty participate. Shull is working on
creating a five-faculty leadership group. Dove said that this group is functioning well.
00:20:50 Question: Memories of Jim and Betty Miller? Answer: Dove explained that they were
highly committed to research and worked very well together. They were wellrespected national leaders in cancer research, particularly through the American
Association of Cancer Research as were the others of the founding group. This
became less true for some of the younger members, such as Howard Temin and
himself. The Millers brought a focus on cancer research that was implemented
William F. Dove (#1354)
nationally through the AACR and locally through their lab. Their lab blended Jim's
chemistry approach and Betty's biological one. Dove noted that Betty, Temin, and
Charles Heidelberger died of cancer. Dove mentioned that a photo that was taken of
her and the rest of the McArdle faculty when she was dying of cancer. Jim Miller was
an opinionated man with a soft side, WD noted, as he was willing to help anyone who
needed it. Dove said he felt a warmth from both of them.
00:25:31 Question: Charles Heidelberger? Answer: Heidelberger was his neighbor when Dove
arrived at McArdle; he broke the news to WD that his lab was not finished. They had
shared interests in chemistry and music. Heidleberger would play his trumpet for
AACR meetings. Heidelberger left McArdle because he divorced and took a position
in Los Angeles; he was a bittersweet ending to his research program, Dove said. He
notes that Heidleberger's anti-cancer drug, 5-fluorouracil, is still used to treat colon
00:28:35 Question: Students who were important to Dove's work? Answer: Dove noted that
there was a long list, as each student was special to him. He focused on people who
caused changes in the lab's scientific direction. His first student was Finn Haugli, who
worked on lambda, and also worked with Harold Rusch's group on Physarum
polycephalum. Dove said that he remained friends with Haugli; he came back to
Dove's lab in the 1980s. In his phage lambda era, an important figure was Mark Furth
who had learned a lot of microbial genetics during his undergraduate years. He was
able to do some of the molecular analysis of phage. In between these two students
was a postdoc, Hachiro Inokuchi from Kyoto. Inokuchi created a lot of strains which
which to study the replication system of lambda. He is still an inventive scientist; he
works for biotechnology companies in Japan. Dove then segued to discussing
students who worked in his lab in the 1970s through the early 1990s, while the lab
was working on physarum. Tim Schedl developed an analysis of the genetic system
controlling the mitotic apparatus of the organism, using methods that came along in
human genetics. He was able to work with the organism alongside a postdoc, Tim
Burland, who knew biology. Their work made physarum a good organism to study a
growth cycle; particularly because it has cellular structures that are similar to those of
higher organisms. Keith Gull joined the group that was being led by Burland and
Schedl and brought his skills in electron microscopy and morphological analysis; he
also learned genetics at the lab.
00:40:52 [No question] Among the personnel who worked on mice, Dove noted that his wife
Alexandra Dove was a critical member of the lab. Dove noted that Alexandra worked
for five years in the 70s on mouse mutagenesis; they had no grant to support the
work, though McArdle directors Harold Rush and Henry Pitot were behind them. In
addition, the Millers and Roswell Boutwell were winding down their research
programs, so there was space in the animal facility for this work. Some of the
postdocs who worked on this were Amy Moser and Larry Johnson. Johnson was
interested in immunogenetics; Moser was also interested in immunology and wanted
to find mutants expressed in certain molecules on lymphocytes. Moser set up a
mutagenesis screen to look for loss of certain, key lymphocyte antigens. Dove
William F. Dove (#1354)
explained Moser's work studying mutations in mice, which led to the development of
the Min mouse. Dove then shifted to discussing his students in the 1990s, when the
lab studied tumor foundation in the Min mouse, and later Larry Kwong and Jim
Amos-Landgraf, geneticists who helped develop the Pirc rat, as did Amy Irving.
00:49:00 Question: Dove was involved in creating the biology core curriculum – why did he
get involved in the project? Answer: Dove continued with his discussion of people
who were important to his lab by discussing academic staff. He mentioned Carol
Mcleester, Natalie Borenstein and Linda Clipson, specialists who was older than the
graduate students and served as a stabilizing force within the lab. Dove then returned
to the question asked. In 1967, the college decided to create a biology core curriculum
that would be laboratory-based as well as a major that students in all of the colleges
could participate in. He worked with Walter Plaut, a microcopist, Robert Metzenberg,
a biochemist, and Millard Susman, a geneticist. The four met for a year to plan the
course, and create new experiments that would illustrate points in cell biology. Dove
discussed the chairs of the committee, including Ann Burgess, who developed it
further. He said that his original committee made sure that each undergraduate lab
group had a good Zeiss microscope to work with among other materials. Dove
explained that this was an example of a time when he needed to get to first base, and
then would others would take over the work. WD said that he is determined that the
material his lab has developed could help researchers to get to first base on the early
detection of cancer.
00:57:49 [No question] Dove discussed his connections with genetics faculty, including Mike
Hoffman, Chris Bradfield, Norman Drinkwater, Richard Burgess, and Jim Crow.
Dove and Crow edited a column called Perspectives in the journal Genetics for 22
years. He noted that genetics is primarily about human biology, and that there are 14
departments at UW who work on human biology as well. In the 2000s Dove held
symposia on campus on human biology, to bring together these various workers. The
best of the symposia was in 2006; it had 12 different foci and was quite demanding to
manage, he said. As a result of this effort, he and an alumni, Adam Wilkins, wrote an
essay in Perspectives about the meeting. He says it doesn't consider it a complete
success because it was became so vast. Dove said that he got to know people from
other parts of the university, including the art department. Dove segued to discuss the
Carbone Cancer Center, and its relationship with basic research In the following 20
years there has been an unresolved marriage between McArdle and the center. Many
of the McArdle faculty had served in leadership roles at the center. He noted that the
funding held by clinical faculty members at the medical school constitutes more than
half of university's funding. Under the current climate it is difficult to get funds for
basic research, he said. IT remains unresolved as to whether the Cancer Center should
provide some funding for basic research. This question depends in large part on the
relationship between the director of the Cancer Center and that of McArdle, WD said.
He described the relationship between basic and clinical research as a marriage
between two cultures. He explained that the programs within the cancer center are
front and center in receiving funding, the disease oriented working groups are filling
gaps between them and supporting the programs.
William F. Dove (#1354)
End of Interview
Interview Session (August 28, 2013): Digital File
00:00:00 Start of Interview/Interviewer’s Introduction.
00:00:10 Question: Where was William Dove born and what was his family like? Answer:
Dove grew up in Maine, where his father was in charge of an agricultural research
station at the University of Maine in Orono. His mother was also a faculty member at
the university, though did not continue working after she was married. Dove was one
of five children. In Maine, his family lived on a five acre plot of land, which felt like
wilderness to him. He and a friend built a cabin in the woods; he feels he learned
most from nature than from school as a child. His father lost his position in 1943, and
he and his sister were sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Montclair, New Jersey
while his father tried to look for a new job. Dove related that he attended a good
school in Montclair, where he had a third grade teacher who recognized how
interested he was in nature and gave him a book on evolution. This turned him into a
book learner, WD said. When his father found a job in Chicago working for the
Quartermaster Corps in the U.S. Army, they settled in Oak Park, Illinois. Dove said
his father lost this job as well in 1948; in both cases he was fired for not following
orders. Dove's mother supported the family [in the Encyclopedia Britannica research
department, where she was a researcher]. Dove said he earned his own money by by
working as a newspaper boy. Dove said that he used some of the money he made to
join a tennis club and became a good player. He also saw an ad for a summer school
at Phillips Andover, which offered scholarships for newspaper boys. He won the
scholarship and began to attend the school at age 16. Dove said that the school
expanded his horizons and allowed him to meet many different types of people. He
also spent a year as an exchange student at Oundle, a boarding school in England.
Though it was an elite school, vocational education was required; Dove said that this
helped him as a scientist because he was able to make his own equipment. He noted
that the culture of adolescence at this school was to be distinctive, rather than to blend
in. He became known as a tennis player, and was able to play during a school
championship at Wimbledon. He was also recognized as a good student. Dove went
to Amherst College for his undergraduate education, because he wanted to go to a
smaller school. At Amherst he was able to do his own scientific experiments. He said
he went to Caltech because of its scientific reputation and small size. This also
allowed him to move from chemistry to biology, facilitated in part Max Delbrück.
Question: How did Dove finance his undergraduate career? Answer: Dove said he
was given full scholarships. At Amherst he had a Sloan Foundation fellowship and at
Caltech he had a National Science Foundation fellowship. Norman Davidson, his
research professor, encouraged Dove to be a “dorm dad,” or residential associate
during his third year at Caltech. He met Richard R. Burgess [McArdle professor of
William F. Dove (#1354)
oncology] there, who was a freshman. Dove described his work as a dorm dad as eye
opening; the students are very brilliant but not socially well balanced. Dove described
a prank that Caltech students played during the Rose Bowl during his tenure. He then
described getting a position at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge just when
molecular biology was blossoming in the early 1960s. His time there was formative,
he said, in that he developed a vision of what he wanted to do, which was to resolve a
paradox related to the replicon model of DNA replication. He also met his wife,
Alexandra Shedlovsky, who was also a postdoc; they shared a laboratory. Dove said
that when he came back to the U.S., he looked for a job, and chose McArdle. WD was
given a lab at Stanford while his McArdle lab was under construction. He noted that
one of his former Stanford colleagues developed ENU mutagenesis of the mouse
germ line at the same time that WD and his wife worked on the problem; their
outlook was formed while they were postdocs together.
00:29:27 [No question] Dove ended his narration of his early career, and shifted gears to speak
about the fact that his father did experiments at home, testing the taste sensitivity of
his family members. Dove said that his father wanted to keep pursuing his ideas,
while his mother worked. Dove said that he went to his lab that day, and that he was
grateful that McArdle has allowed him to keep working as much as he wants.
00:31:33 Question: Father [Franklin Dove] studied genetics at UW-Madison? When did he
graduate? Answer: He came to Madison to learn how to improve the genetics of
cattle. He became a graduate student of L.J. Cole, who worked on cattle breeding.
Dove said his father took odd jobs, such as working as a lab technician for Harry
Steenbock or making cabinets. Franklin Dove did not have much money, so he lived
on Picnic Point year round. He was a student at UW-Madison from 1923-27. Dove
said that his father savored his time as a graduate student, and the friendships he made
as a graduate student. Dove said his father's experience has been a main incentive for
his own work leading the genetics doctoral program.
00:36:20 [no question] Dove segued into discussing places that were important to him. He feels
that is UW-Madison at the center; part of this comes form his father, and part of it is
learning the differences among the way that academia is conducted in different parts
of the country. In California, the sense of neighborhood is absent, WD said; and too
much experimentation. The academics were non-hierarchical, unlike how it was in
New England. Dove said he thought of as Madison as the happy medium. The fact
that Wisconsin has put most of its major research functions in one city has facilitated
learning from one's colleagues. In addition, the cost for having animal facilities for
the work he was doing with mice was comparatively low to what it would cost on the
coasts, which would necessitate more grants to support it. Dove then noted that the
Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, has always had an attraction for him. This
is in part due to its commitment to mouse genetics, and also because it is in Maine,
which reminds him of his childhood.
00:44:54 Question: Friends and social life at McArdle? Answer: Dove mentioned Dick and
Ann Burgess, as their children and the Doves' children would get together. The Doves
William F. Dove (#1354)
and the Burgesses also hosted Christmas parties for McArdle. Bill and Donata
Sugden, in addition, were friends; Dove's dog Ginger would stay with them when the
Doves were away. The Sugdens' son and Dove's son are also following a similar
academic path, he noted. Outside of McArdle, their strongest family connections are
through getting to know the parents of their kids' friends. Dove mentioned that his
grandchildren now attend Thoreau Elementary School in Madison, where his children
went; Alexandra and Dove volunteer there.
00:50:50 [No question] Dove explained that he and Alexandra have taken on other projects
after their children grew up. One of which is the American Players Theater in Spring
Green, WI. Dove said he was part of a group which helped revive the group by
raising money to keep APT going; both emergency funds and development grants to
help the theater survive. He noted that the theater has operated in the black for more
than 10 years. He said that some of their friendships came out of this, including a play
reading group. Dove spoke about his family; he explained that his daughter Suzanne
moved to Barcelona and met her husband. They lived in Washington DC for a while
but chose to raise their children in Madison.
00:56:15 Question: How did he get involved with Grandparents University? Answer: Dove
explained that his grandchildren live outside of Madison, and they come to visit to
join the event. Dove said that he and his grandson Lewis took a limnology course.
Dove explained that this was an example of peer education; the children taught
themselves with undergraduates as facilitators. Dove also took a cartography course
with his other grandson this year. His granddaughter took a restoration ecology course
with Alexandra, learning about invasive species in the UW-Madison arboretum.
01:01:17 End of Interview