ASBMB: Do you have any heroes, heroines or role models? If so, describe how they have influenced you?
Pruitt: My view here may be a little bit unconventional because I find great inspiration from the lives of many people who have excelled in their respective fields, especially when their accomplishment required Herculean effort, discipline and passion. I take the best attributes from each person such as previous mentors, scientists, athletes, ministers, family members and literary giants and make my own collage of heroic inspiration. This helps me continue along my path at the right pace when the pressure mounts and the sun begins to set.
ASBMB: What is it that keeps you working hard and studying science every day?
Pruitt: Uncovering hidden treasures of biological systems is immensely gratifying, especially being the first to do so. This feeling that accompanies discovery is similar to the deep satisfaction of stumbling upon a special heirloom that was lost or misplaced for years. Likewise, whether the discovery is intentional or serendipitous, when it is made there is an interesting merging of the unfamiliar and familiar. While this discovery may be seen for the first time in this new biological context, this "fact of nature" was there all along but just had to be found.