First Person | Leland Hartwell

Courtesy of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Leland Hartwell, a co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize, spent his football-playing, girl-chasing high school years in Los Angeles. His 1949 metallic green Mercury--he went to Mexico to buy its green and white upholstery--was the same type of car that James Dean drove in the movie Rebel Without a Cause. "The first time I saw American Graffiti," Hartwell recalls, "I was stunned, I couldn't get up. It was like reliving my high school days."

Hartwell, now 63, has incurred a memory or two since. Now the director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, he earned his reputation and awards for his discoveries about cell cycle regulation. "All of my work has been motivated by thinking of cancer as a disease and then figuring out the fundamental questions, and approaching it in yeast--first in...

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