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Oral History Collection

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., D.Phil., is an author and an oncologist at the Columbia University Medical Center. His 2010 book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, won numerous awards, including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction and the Guardian First Book Award. His most recent book, The Gene: An Intimate History, was published in 2016 and appeared at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, receiving a number of accolades, including being nominated for the Wellcome Trust Prize. Dr. Mukherjee grew up in India before coming to the United States as an undergraduate to study biology at Stanford University under Nobel Laureate Paul Berg. He completed his graduate studies (D.Phil.) at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. After that he earned his M.D. from Harvard University in 2000. In 2009, Dr. Mukherjee joined the faculty at Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Medicine, in the Hematology/Oncology Division. In this interview he recounts his undergraduate experience in the lab of Paul Berg, his time at Oxford, and his work as an oncologist. Dr. Mukherjee also tells us what motivated him to become a writer, as well as his thoughts on the Human Genome Project. An expert science communicator, he provides invaluable insights into how he approaches important issues in bioethics such as genetic determinism and gene-editing.