Truth: A Love Story (a scientist discovers his own family’s secrets)

Stuart L. Schreiber in Harvard Magazine:

On July 17, 2017, my world turned upside down when I discovered that the man who raised me was not my biological father. What followed was a challenging path of learning and insight into family truths that ultimately brought great joy and made me a better person.

I am a biomedical truth seeker—looking to gain insights into human biology and our genomes in order to mitigate suffering and death from disease. By analyzing DNA variation in persons with and without disease, my research is providing blueprints for therapeutics that are safe and effective.

Good fortune has offered opportunities to realize my dreams. I’ve run a large lab with many of the best young trainees and scientists in the world during the past four decades at Harvard, and I co-founded the Broad Institute—now a 4,000-person biomedical center seeking “to propel the understanding and treatment of disease.” Following human biology-informed blueprints, my trainees and I are catalyzing the development of new types of medicine in diseases ranging from cancer to malaria. In the past 30 years, I’ve started a half-dozen biotechnology companies that have delivered novel medicines—including ones at Vertex Pharmaceuticals that are closing in on defeating cystic fibrosis. I’ve also been happily married to my true love, Mimi Packman, for 38 years.

These circumstances are highly unlikely. The physical and emotional trauma I experienced as a child and teenager, inflicted by my father, taught me the art of compartmentalization.

More here.  [Thanks to Ashutosh Jogalekar.]

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