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Jan A. Witkowski

WSBS Professor

Ph.D., University of London, 1972

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(516) 367-8398 (p)
A key element in scientific research is the exchange of ideas and data with one's colleagues throughout the world. Promoting such exchange is a major part of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's mission and it does so through meetings and publications.

The Banbury Center is the small conference center at CSHL for discussion-style meetings for 24-40 invited participants. The topics are wide ranging, including molecular biology and genetics, human genetics, neurobiology, and science policy. The titles of recent meetings include “Signaling through Ubiquitin”, “Energy Metabolism, the Cell Cycle and Cancer,” “Structural Variation in the Human Genome” and “Neurobiology of Depression.” While two or three meetings are repeated each year, the remainder are new, thus ensuring that the Banbury Center maintains its reputation as an exciting place to be.

One of my major interests is the history of genetics and molecular biology. This is a period of tremendously exciting biological research, and we are in the fortunate position of being able to study the ideas and discoveries while the discoverers are here to help us. I have written articles on the history of embryology, cell culture and molecular biology.

Writing is an important activity for me, and I am coauthor with James Watson of the textbook Recombinant DNA: Genes and Genomes. I have edited several books including Davenport's Dream: 21st Reflections on Heredity and Eugenics; DNA Technology and Forensic Science; The Inside Story: DNA to RNA to Protein and Inspiring Science: Jim Watson and the Age of DNA I am also editor-in-chief of Trends in Biochemical Sciences.