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Classic Lasker

Oct 9, 2023

“The idea of spending your time digging into mysteries…I thought that would be a wonderful way to spend your life.”

Evelyn Witkin did spend her life digging into mysteries, and she was recognized with the 2015 Lasker Award for her work that solved one—how some bacteria survived 100x the radiation that killed other cells. Witkin discovered the DNA-damage response, a genetically regulated emergency system that protects the genomes of all living organisms. In an interview with Emmy-nominated writer/director/podcaster Flora Lichtman, Witkin talks about what it was like to be at Cold Spring Harbor in the 1950s, when many major discoveries in molecular biology were made, and tells us a little bit about her hobby in retirement: Victorian poetry.