I had the privilege of talking to David Spector, the director of research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Spector has worked at Cold Spring Harbor for 29 years. According to him, he got interested in science when he participated in the Manhattan Science Fair. He said that interest motivated him throughout middle and high school.
Spector is an expert on the cell nucleus, where genetic material called DNA is stored. His lab was the first in the world to make time-lapse movies of the process in which a gene instructs a cell to make a specific protein.
He says there is a lot more to the nucleus than DNA, and his research has shown that tiny bodies inside the nucleus work to make sure that the right genes do the right thing at the right time. His lab is now looking at what goes wrong in the nucleus that leads to breast cancer.
Spector believes his work has influenced people positively. His laboratory is known worldwide for his research on genes. His lab has published more than 50 publications and he has edited and/or written chapters in books.
For future scientists Spector says you need to be motivated and have the need to get an answer. He says a great scientist is a puzzle solver. They must formulate a hypothesis and solve it. He said, "You have to really love science."