Elucidating biosynthetic pathways for vitamins and cofactors

17-Jan-2019 16:42

I followed my brother through the superb public school system in New York City, including the Bronx High School of Science, which was close enough to our apartment in the West Bronx that I could walk to and save the cost of public transportation.

Perhaps even more important, Bronx Science had a mediocre baseball team that I felt I could easily make.

It started me on the path that I have followed until now.

The only hope for college was to go to The City College of New York (CCNY).

I knew by the winter of 1952 that I was headed for a career in biochemistry, and early in 1953, Mazur arranged for me to meet Sidney Udenfriend, also a CCNY alumnus, to discuss doing my graduate studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under a new program with George Washington University (GWU) Medical School. Second, the NIH was just at the beginning of a growth spurt and had not yet obtained the reputation as one of the premiere biomedical research institutes in the world, despite the depth of talent that was already there.

I believe I had already received an acceptance from Western Reserve University, but Udenfriend made the NIH sound so attractive that I was not sure what to do. However, Mazur thought it was worth the risk, and when my brother later told me that he had accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with Bernard Horecker at the NIH, many of my doubts were erased.

I am taking the liberty throughout this article to include some biographical information and personal thoughts since it is hard for me to reflect on my early years in science without providing some personal history.

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However, selecting Bronx Science for my high school training was one of my fortunate decisions.In June of 1953, I left for Bethesda and became Udenfriend's graduate student in the laboratory headed by Bernard (Steve) Brodie in the National Heart Institute.