June 2011

An interview with Isiah Warner

 Warner, a professor at Louisiana State University, talks about his research and some of the challenges he’s faced in his scientific development. 

 ASBMB: What are the key experiences and decisions you made that have helped you reach your current position?
Warner: I have always strived to work hard and do the best that I can do in any job position that I held.

ASBMB: Tell us about your current career position. 
Warner: I am a Boyd Professor of the Louisiana State University system. Boyd Professorship is the highest professorial rank in the LSU system. This honor represents my achievements in both education and research.

ASBMB: How did you first become interested in science?
Warner: I always tell of my first chemistry experiment at the age of two when I tasted kerosene to see why it produced light. From that experience, I learned the first law of chemistry, i.e. do not taste the chemicals.

ASBMB: Were there times when you failed at something you felt was critical to your path? If so, how did you regroup and get back on track?
Warner: The only thing that I can think of is the Vietnam War derailed my plans for graduate school. After undergraduate school, I worked for a company that was a prime contractor for the then Atomic Energy Commission, now the Department of Energy. I later went on to graduate school at the University of Washington to pursue my Ph.D.

ASBMB: What advice would you give to young persons from under-represented backgrounds who want to pursue a career in science similar to yours?
Warner: Work hard, find a mentor and believe in yourself.

ASBMB: What are your hobbies?
Warner: Reading the scientific literature and science fiction books.

ASBMB: What was the last book you read?
Warner: Contact by Carl Sagan.

ASBMB: Do you have any heroes, heroines, or role models? If so, describe how they have influenced you?
Warner: Dr. Martin Luther King was one of my heroes. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs. I work hard since I feel that he sacrificed for me and others like me.

ASBMB: What is it that keeps you working hard and studying science every day?
Warner: I work hard and study science everyday because I have a strong desire to learn things that are not in textbooks.

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