The Perkins Lab -- Neurospora Genetics and Biology
Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University

From Virginia Pollard, Stanford University

The outpouring of expressions of esteem, affection, and sadness over the passing of David and Dot is a little overwhelming, though not at all surprising. What a moving testament to the wide-ranging and profound effect a gentle, dedicated spirit can have on friends and colleagues.

I began my sojourn in David’s lab in January, 1982 as his lab assistant. I knew nothing of Neurospora and little of genetics when I started, having come from a background in medical technology, but working side-by-side with and observing David and Dot over the next 12 years was highly instructive. I remember that when I started I assumed that David was just a year or two from retirement and that my work there would doubtless be short-lived, because the lab would close. Hardly!

Aside from learning much about the work of the lab, an unanticipated benefit for me of working with David and Dot was being introduced to and getting to know so many of their colleagues and students over the years. I learned quickly that geneticists around the globe treasured what David and his lab represented in the world of classical genetics, and that large numbers of them made pilgrimages to his lab to spend time there. Many of these people are represented on this web page, and I remember them with great fondness.

Over the years I continued to visit the lab a few times each year, and I always received a warm reception and personal interest from David when I stopped by. A special, enduring legacy from Dot was the gift of her cello many years ago, with the instructions to have the bow re-haired, take lessons, and play for her one day. Fortunately, I managed to do all three, though I fulfilled the final injunction only 2 years ago, never feeling I had risen to the level of her expectations—an enduring challenge! I was so pleased that she and David were able to come to an informal concert in which I was playing, despite the obvious difficulties the outing posed for them.

With fond and lasting memories, I wish them both the enduring peace they each wished was more in evidence in this world.


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