University of Florida
Rich began his scientific career at the age of six when he had the good fortune to move to a property in Marin County, California that had a creek running through the back yard. There he conducted an informal and largely unconscious multiyear study of the life cycle of the frog, until high school interrupted his investigations with more worldly pursuits.
Rich found his passion for laboratory science as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying the genetics of antibiotic resistance in bacteria in the laboratory of Cedric Davern and ribosome structure in the laboratory of Harry Noller.
Rich began studying viruses as a graduate student at Yale University, where he conducted research on gene regulation during bacteriophage T7 infection in the laboratory of Joan Steitz, receiving a Ph.D. in 1975.
As a postdoc at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, in London, England from 1975-1977 under the mentorship of Robert Kamen, Rich studied transcriptional regulation of gene expression during infection by mouse polyoma virus, a DNA tumor virus.
From 1977-1978 Rich undertook a second postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratories of Joseph Kates and William Bauer in the Microbiology Department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he initiated his studies on the poxvirus vaccinia.
Rich was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1978 until 1990, when he moved to the University of Florida as a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.
Since 1977, Rich has used a genetic approach to study transcriptional regulation of viral gene expression and, more recently, virus assembly using vaccinia as a model system. Rich runs a relatively small research laboratory and still conducts his own experiments whenever possible. In both the laboratory and in the classroom, Rich teaches virology to graduate students, medical students and undergraduate students. Rich plans to remain at the University of Florida for the remainder of his formal career when he can once again turn his curiosity to less formal pursuits. There’s a creek in his back yard…
Rich first appeared on TWiV as a guest on episode #26, Poxviruses, in March of 2009 and after several return visits became a regular participant in February of 2010. Rich feels strongly that science is for everyone and that an understanding of the scientific basis of our existence and an appreciation for the methods used to gain that understanding is critically important for the future of the globe. Rich is grateful that TWiV provides an opportunity to communicate this passion to a broad audience of listeners.