I received a B.S. in Chemistry from Duke University in 1978, then entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at Columbia University. I graduated from Columbia with an M.D. in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in 1988. I did my thesis work with Dr. Frederick Alt, working on the mechanism and regulation of immunoglobulin gene assembly. Upon graduating from medical school I decided to pursue a research career full time, and rejoined the Alt lab until 1989, when I began a postdoctoral fellowship with the late Dr. Harold Weintraub at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. There I studied functions and DNA recognition properties of basic-helix-loop-helix protein transcription factors. I started my own lab at the CBR Institute and Harvard Medical School in 1993. At the beginning of 2004 I moved to Joslin Diabetes Center, as a Senior Investigator and Head of the Section on Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. I am now Associate Research Director there and a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. I became interested in the C. elegans system initially as a postdoctoral fellow, when I collaborated with Jim Priess to investigate whether the developmental regulator SKN-1 functions as a transcription factor. This interest led me later to begin working with C. elegans in my own laboratory, so that now essentially all of my lab’s projects involve this model organism. Our work on C. elegans oogenesis, early embryonic development, and relationships between stress and stem cell function led us into the stem cell field.