The Yeast Collections: James Hicks

The James Hicks, Amar Klar and Jeffrey Strathern Collections are often referred to as the “Yeast Collection” -- this is in reference to their work on the micro-organism at CSHL in the 1980s.

The Yeast Group in 1980

James “Jim” Hicks obtained his B.A. in Biology from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and in 1975 received his PhD in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Oregon Institute of Molecular Biology. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Oregon, working with Ira Herskowitz. Dr. Hicks continued his post doctoral studies in Molecular Genetics at Cornell University. From 1977 until 1985 when he left CSHL, Dr. Hicks collaborated with Jeff Strathern and Amar Klar in the Cold Spring Harbor Yeast group where they researched the mechanisms of mating type switching in yeast. Dr. Hicks returned to CSHL as a visiting professor in 2003 and works with Dr. Michael Wigler on the genomics of breast cancer.

The James Hicks Collection was in excellent shape and simply needed rehousing. The Collection totaled 5 laboratory notebooks (2 boxes).

One of my favorite things I find when processing collections is something to which we can all relate – an item which makes the subject “real” and the material more understandable. In Jim Hicks’ lab notebooks, I found just that – a reading list titled: “Yeast – General Reading List”.

To me, this shows that even at a sophisticated level of study, there remains a need and a value for simple information. More fun than a reading list, however, was a page in the notebooks with “Happy Cells”.

As a bonus, I unearthed the below photo of Dr. Hicks – which shows that scientific theory is not all “pie in the sky”.

-Amy Driscoll, Project Archivist

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