Lessons Learned, with Andrew Feinberg
From Cornell to Westminster Abbey, Feinberg has traveled a compelling career path. Here, he describes his journey and offers his thoughts on the future of epigenetics
Andrew Feinberg | | Longer Read
At a Glance
- Working alongside great mentors and collaborators enables different perspectives to combine, helping solve complex problems
- Epigenetics is a relatively young but rapidly evolving field that must be incorporated into the broader medical research picture
- The National Institutes of Health are one of the great triumphs of western civilization, but more funding should go to “high-risk, high-reward” projects
- Because of the strong relationship between early life exposure and what happens to that person later in life, it is important to take an integrated view of the life cycle
I started out as a kid interested in mathematics and computers. I took a year of college math at Cornell the summer after my junior year of high school, then worked at IBM Research after my senior year. I really thought that was what I’d end up doing. I never saw myself wanting to do biology and absolutely never thought about medicine, but, during my sophomore year at Yale, I picked up a catalog out of curiosity and noticed a five-year program at Johns Hopkins that led to a medical degree after only two years of university. I applied on a whim and, while working in France that summer (for IBM again), I received a telegram from my father saying that I had been accepted at Hopkins and he had sent in a deposit. There weren’t any discussions about it, and he said I could change my mind. But I thought it sounded good, and his judgment was probably better than mine at 19 – so that’s how I became a teenaged medical student.
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