Bruce Stillman

Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Bruce Stillman had big shoes to fill when he took over from Jim Watson as director of Cold Spring Harbor in 1994. "I never thought in a million years when I came here that I would end up being director of this place," he says. "In retrospect, it was very typical of Jim to choose someone as young as I was to succeed him," he adds, noting that it’s a reflection of Watson’s desire to maintain the youthful dynamism of Cold Spring Harbor’s atmosphere.

Stillman, a native of Australia, has been at Cold Spring Harbor since 1979. He started as a young scientist in an environment that can make researchers famous early in their careers and garner them job offers that take them other places. "I came here feeling terribly inadequate," he says, "because here you’re with some of the world’s best scientists and you realize your shortcomings."

As director, Stillman has a big hand in shaping the future of Cold Spring Harbor—influencing what direction the research takes and hiring scientists whose talents compliment each other. "I don’t have to promote them to do good science, because it’s within this culture," he says.

"To do good science just goes along with the place. Of course, there is [the question of] the necessary funds to do good science and that's a lot of what I do—to try and raise the funds that supplement the federal grants that we get from taxpayers, which is how we get the money to do medical research in this country."

Bruce Stillman
"It’s an extremely interactive place. What I try to do is promote that."

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