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Meet Larry Joe!

Meet Larry Joe, molecular biologist and baseball fan!

Hi, I'm Larry Joe!

What do you work on?

I am a Molecular Biologist, working in a lab at the University of California, Berkeley. Our lab in interested in extending lifespans and preventing age-related diseases. In my previous job I worked for a Bay Area biotechnology company where I developed DNA analysis instruments and reagents for forensic and agricultural purposes. Some of my products can be seen on “CSI” shows or movies.
My favorite project there was participating in the gray wolf restoration project in Yellowstone Park. There is a delicate balance of animal species in the park. Wolves had been hunted to extinction in Yellowstone. The loss of the predator disrupted that balance and negatively impacted the other animal populations. Twenty-one wolves were transported from Canada to Yellowstone. We analyzed the DNA of the founding members and their offspring to confirm the field biologists’ observations on wolf family behavior as the wolves re-populated the park. The project was a big success as the wolves continue to thrive there today, and the ecosystem balance has recovered.
Larry in Yellowstone

How did you get interested in science, and what did you study?

When I was a kid, I loved animals and science. I always wanted to visit the Oakland or San Francisco Zoos, the Exploratorium, Chabot Observatory, or the Academy of Sciences. I also liked building things and figuring out how things work. I studied microbiology and immunology in college. I thought I might pursue a career in one of the health professions, but in the end, I enjoyed conducting experiments as a scientist.

What do you do in your free time?

My main hobbies are traveling, hiking, wood working, reading, watching movies & nature shows, framing pictures, and gardening. I also like to play and watch baseball. My nephew and I have a goal to visit all of the Major League Baseball stadiums.

What’s your one piece of advice for people interested in biology?

I have two pieces of advice:
1: Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. I like it when students ask me questions, for it shows me that they are interested in the project and it gives me confidence that they can execute the experimental protocol.
2: Try to find a mentor. Mentors can be great resources for a scientist as you progress through your career. They can help prepare you for various situations and provide insight on what to expect in a given job. Many scientists enjoy the mentoring aspect of the job, including myself.

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