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Most important to the discoveries described here were the fantastic students, postdocs, technical, and administrative staff who created the lab. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to B. Wightman, I. Ha, P. Arasu, J. Giusto, J. Gatto, T. Burglin, B. Reinhart, A. Pasquinelli, F. Slack, S. Kennedy, D. Wang, J. Kim, H. Gabel, R. Kamath, S. Fischer, M. Butler, D. Parry, G. Hayes, X. Wu, C. Zhang, S. Garcia, C. Phillips and S. Curran on the tiny RNA team. An equal number of people on the aging, metabolism and Mars projects also contributed deeply to the intellectual and technical growth of the lab. I launched my lab in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital under very special circumstances: we were completely funded by Hoechst from 1985 to 1992 and almost half funded by them for another decade. This level of patronage allowed us to embark on the study of an array of experimental problems that would have been much more difficult to tackle in a traditional grant-funded environment. H. Goodman deserves very special thanks for his decision to broaden this Hoechst-funded research beyond the endocrinology that was probably their original intent, and for his shrewd recruiting in so many fields. And I thank P. Leder for founding and settling the Department of Genetics at Harvard, my academic home, and my colleagues in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Genetics at Harvard who taught me how to run a lab by their many examples of discovery and training of great scientists. I arrived at graduate school greener than green in 1976, and it was a combination of my fellow students, D. Hanahan, V. Sundaresan, W. Herr, G. Church and T. Wu, and my teachers, F. Ausubel, W. Gilbert, and R. Horvitz, who showed me how to become a scientist. During my postdoc, V. Ambros was my developmental genetics teacher and collaborator extraordinaire, our collaboration now extending over a career, and M. Finney was also a close collaborator, which extended to his postdoctoral work in my lab and current co-direction of our search for extraterrestrial genomes (SETG). So the tribes of my education, my lab and my academic environment were uniquely inspiring, supportive, and loads of fun. But my home tribe has been the wellspring of strength and joy: Natasha Staller is presumably the most sophisticated molecular geneticist among the world's art historians. As a historian of Cubism, she can see cultural inflection points that most do not, and after years of asking me about many details of our work, and reading most of our papers, she is also a very sophisticated biologist. From this vantage point, Natasha nudged me towards ambitious, high-risk projects, and her confidence in my abilities, and in the talents of my students and postdocs, incited a certain boldness. And I am truly grateful to Natasha and to our daughter Victoria for the joyous home life of our little tribe.
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Ruvkun, G. The perfect storm of tiny RNAs. Nat Med 14, 1041–1045 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm1008-1041
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