Courtesy of Utpal Banerjee
 Utpal Banerjee

Chair of the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)

Professor of MCDB and the Biological Chemistry Department, University of California, Los Angeles

Early indications: As far as I can remember, I have always wanted to become a scientist. In elementary school I saw a transparent liquid turn pink upon touching it; perhaps it was not quite as profound as wondering about the origin of life or anything, but it had the same effect. "How" and "why" have been part and parcel of my entire life. Science has provided the tool to channel these curiosities.

Pivotal paper: My first paper as an assistant professor at the University of California, LA, back in 1991 was a lucky break that turned out to be an important contribution. I had worked on a gene called sevenless as a postdoctoral fellow. This new gene we found, I...

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