Science & Society Classroom, North Building 232 5:30 PM
The Interferon Tournament: The First Great Race in Biotech
Co-sponsored by the Jenkins Chair for New Technologies in Society.
In 1980, what the public most wanted from newfangled gene-splicing technology was interferon. Patients imagined a cure for cancer, scientists dreamed of the Nobel they’d win for cloning it, while venture capitalists saw dollar signs. This talk recounts the race to clone interferon and the subsequent sweepstakes to profit from it. The history of interferon offers a compelling narrative of the early collision of high-stakes science with high finance.
Nicolas Rasmussen has written extensively on the history of experimental biology, the history of pharmaceuticals, and their intersection in the emergence of the biotechnology industry. His works include Picture Control: The Electron Microscope and the Transformation of Biology in America, 1940-1960 (Stanford, 1997); On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine (NYU, 2007); and Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise (Johns Hopkins, 2014). He has graduate degrees in history and philosophy of science from Cambridge and Chicago, and in biology from Stanford, and serves as Professor in History & Philosophy of Science at UNSW in Sydney.
This event is open to the public and will be followed by a reception. Click here for the flyer.