Skip to main content

Arlinghaus (Ralph B.), Ph.D., Oral History Interview: Home

Interview Navigation Materials

Interview Navigation Material

Welcome to the interview landing page.

Scroll down this page to explore this interview in several ways.

  • An Interview Profile summarizes this individual’s role, specialization, and contributions to MD Anderson.
  • A Table of Contents shows the range of topics covered in each interview session: each chapter title links to a chapter summary.
  • Chapter Summaries describe the specific topics treated in each section; each summary links to the corresponding recording so you can listen to the chapter.
  • Here is a link to the full transcript so you may browse and search. (link)

 

Interview Profile

 

 

Interview Information:

Two interview sessions: 21 March 2014, 2 April 2014
Total approximate duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Interviewer: Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.

 

For supplementary materials:

Please contact, the Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library:
Javier Garza, MSIS, jjgarza@mdanderson.org

About the Interview Subject:

Molecular pathologist Ralph B. Arlinghaus (b. 16 August 1935, Newport, Kentucky)

came to MD Anderson 1969 to serve as Chief of the Section of Environmental Biology in the Department of Biology. Today he is a professor in the Department of Translational Molecular Pathology in the Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.  Dr. Arlinghaus has made several key discoveries unraveling the genetic and molecular mechanisms of proteins that support and maintain leukemia (lipocalin 24p3, pathways of the BCR-ABL protein, the Janus kinase 2).  In 1986 he was tasked with establishing the new Department of Molecular Pathology, and built a small but strong department of faculty with independent laboratories and funding.  He stepped down from that role in 2012.  In 2016 he was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In this interview, Dr. Arlinghaus talks at length about his research discoveries, often going into technical detail about genetic and molecular processes.  He not only demonstrates the complexities of the research questions he takes on, but in the process also shows the creative approach to research that he feels has characterized his career and his mark on the field.  He talks about his humble beginnings and career challenges and discusses the death of his young wife from chronic myeloid leukemia, a key event that focused him on the mission of curing that disease.  He sketches his role in building the Department of Molecular Pathology and comments on tensions in MD Anderson that influenced his career at the institution. 

 

Major Topics Covered:

Personal background and education.

Research areas, detailed discussions of progressive experimentation

Research creativity, innovation, collaborations

View of MD Anderson presidents and other leaders

 

About transcription and the transcript

This interview had been transcribed according to oral history best practices to preserve the conversational quality of spoken language (rather than conforming to written standards).

The interview subject has been given the opportunity to review the transcript and make changes: any substantial departures from the audio file are indicated with brackets [ ].

In addition, the Archives may have redacted portions of the transcript and audio file in compliance with HIPAA and/or interview subject requests.

The views expressed in this interview are solely the perspective of the interview subject.They are not to be interpreted as the official view of any other individual or of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

 

Table of Contents

 

Interview Session One: March 21, 2014

 

 

Key Research on ABL Kinases
Chapter 01 / The Researcher

 

A Death Inspires a Career Change and a Commitment to Leukemia Research
Chapter 02 / Joining MD Anderson/Coming to Texas

 

Initial Research with Viruses and Proteins: Slow Progress on the Gag Paul Gene
Chapter 03 / The Researcher

 

Leaving MD Anderson for Industry: Research into Hybrid Proteins with Tyrosine Kinase Activity
Chapter 04 / The Researcher

 

Leaving Johnson & Johnson to Return to MD Anderson
Chapter 05 / Joining MD Anderson/Coming to Texas

 

The New Department of Molecular Pathology
Chapter 06 / Building the Institution

 

Translational Research in the Department of Molecular Pathology (Now the Department of Translational Molecular Pathology)
Chapter 07 / The Researcher

 

 

Interview Session Two: April 2, 2014

 

Discovering a Talent for Laboratory Research and an Early Research Success
Chapter 08 / Educational Path

 

Fellowships and More Creative Research
Chapter 09 / Professional Path

 

A Critical Point in a Career: Crisis and Key Decisions
Chapter 10 / Personal Background

 

Research Projects: Working on an HIV Vaccine; Lipocalin 24p3; How CML Causes Uncontrolled Growth of Blood Cells
Chapter 11 / The Researcher

 

Reflections on a Research Style; Collaborating with Clinical Trials
Chapter 12 / The Researcher

 

A View of MD Anderson Presidents
Chapter 13 / Key MD Anderson Figures

 

A Memorable Student and Advice to Students/Professionals
Chapter 14 / View on Career and Accomplishments

 


 

 

 

Chapter Summaries

Interview Session One: 21 March 2014 (listen/read)

 

Chapter 00A
Interview Identifier (listen/read)

 

Chapter 01 (The Researcher)
Key Research on ABL Kinases (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Researcher
  • Overview
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • Devices, Drugs, Procedures
  • Professional Practice
  • D: Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • D: On Pharmaceutical Companies and Industry
  • Discovery and Success

Dr. Arlinghaus first talks about a study he will soon initiate on the role of JANUS Kinase 2 on chronic lymphocytic leukemia.   He next quickly defines the field of molecular pathology and techniques that molecular pathologists use to break open cells and analyze their functions.  He gives the example of the drug, Gleevec, and his contributions to work that unraveled how Gleevec successfully deactivates a key cell function that maintains leukemia. 

Next he talks about his work on the ABL kinase protein and chronic myeloid leukemia).  He explains how this protein is involved in cell abnormalities and signaling functions that support the production of leukemia cells.  He then goes into detail about how the BCR-ABL onco-proteins lead to leukemia.  He notes some of the early studies that advanced knowledge, but did not immediately lead to treatment because the drugs under study (a precursor of Gleevec) were too toxic.

 

Chapter 02 (Joining MD Anderson/Coming to Texas)
A Death Inspires a Career Change and a Commitment to Leukemia Research (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • Evolution of Career
  • Professional Path
  • Personal Background
  • Joining MD Anderson
  • The Researcher
  • Professional Path
  • The Life and Dedication of Clinicians and Researchers
  • Human Stories
  • Discovery and Success

Dr. Arlinghaus explains his reasons for focusing on leukemia research and the process of coming to MD Anderson.  He begins the story in 1967, when he was working at the Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory (Greenport, NY, 1965 – 1969).  This is when his first wife died of chronic myeloid leukemia.  They had three children.  Dr. Arlinghaus decided to stop working on the virus and processes that lead to foot and mouth disease and shift “all of my scientific brain power to work on that disease.”  

He explains how he was invited to come and present a talk in the Department of Biology.  He notes that, usually, a new faculty member brings something to the institution, but at the time, he was unproven in cancer (though he had significant publications in other areas), and Dr. Haas “took a chance” on him.  Dr. Arlinghaus describes the expertise in proteins he brought to MD Anderson.

 

Chapter 03 (The Researcher)
Initial Research with Viruses and Proteins: Slow Progress on the Gag Paul Gene (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Researcher
  • Evolution of Career
  • Professional Path
  • Overview
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • Discovery and Success
  • The Professional at Work
  • MD Anderson Impact
  • D: Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research

Dr. Arlinghaus confirms that when he arrived at MD Anderson he “had no idea how to attack CML.”  He describes how he began working on viruses that cause leukemia in mice using widely studied technologies, including the Rauscher leukemia virus.

Dr. Arlinghaus explains the details related to discoveries about the genomic RNA of the Rauscher leukemia virus and three key proteins associated with it.  Dr. Arlinghaus explains his advances in understating the roles of genes and proteins (GAG-Paul, PR 65 GAG) in creating a leukemia particle that has a unique identity and integrity within cell systems.  He also explains his discovery of the protein sequence and “stop code” of the viral protein. 

Next he talks about the implications of his discovery and sets it in context of other discoveries.   

Dr. Arlinghaus explains that he eventually received a warning after a year passed with no grants being awarded.  He then explains that the NIH’s Virus Cancer Program initiated in the late seventies “saved him.”  He talks about the acceptance of some of his discoveries.

 

Chapter 04 (The Researcher)
Leaving MD Anderson for Industry: Research into Hybrid Proteins with Tyrosine Kinase Activity (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Researcher  
  • Evolution of Career
  • Professional Path
  • Overview
  • Discovery and Success
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • The Professional at Work
  • D: Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • Finance, Entrepreneur, Biotechnology

Dr. Arlinghaus explains that in 1983 he resigned from MD Anderson and took a job as Vaccine Development Director, Johnson and Johnson Biotechnology Center, in San Diego, California (1/1983-1/1986).  They agreed to give him money to develop his CML research.  He was able to secure his own laboratory space as a Visiting Investigator (Member) at the Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation in La Jolla (1/1983-1/1986).  Dr. Arlinghaus describes his roles and notes that he arrived at Johnson and Johnson with an NCA grant awarded shortly before his departure from MD Anderson. 

Dr. Arlinghaus next describes the work he performed for Johnson and Johnson developing synthetic peptide vaccines.  He describes the molecular chemistry that makes peptide vaccines impossible.

He then outlines his next steps in studying the structure of the abnormal ABL protein in leukemia viruses.  He describes the discovery of the “ABL-fused” gene in CML, adding a new dimension to his research and resulting in a 1995 paper.

 

Chapter 05 (Joining MD Anderson/Coming to Texas)
Leaving Johnson and Johnson to Return to MD Anderson (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Researcher  
  • Joining MD Anderson
  • Professional Path
  • Institutional Politics
  • Evolution of Career
  • Controversies
  • Business of Research
  • The History of Health Care, Patient Care

In this segment, Dr. Arlinghaus explains why he left Johnson and Johnson in 1986 and returned to MD Anderson.  He first provides some background regarding conflicts with Dr. Demakowsky, head of Virology, that had contributed to his departure from the institution.  Next, Dr. Arlinghaus explains why Johnson and Johnson was no longer a good fit for his interests. 

Dr. Arlinghaus explains that MD Anderson hired him back in 1986 to form the new Department of Molecular Pathology.  Dr. Arlinghaus asserts his intention at that time to recruit “the best people on the planet” and he talks about the qualities of the colleagues he admired at Johnson and Johnson and Scripps Laboratory.  Dr. Arlinghaus explains that he returned as a Department Chair, with the support of then-president Dr. Charles LeMaistre, who by-passed any decision-making by the Vice President for Research, Dr. Frederick Becker, who had significant differences with Dr. Arlinghaus

 

Chapter 06 (Building the Institution)
The New Department of Molecular Pathology (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Administrator
  • Leadership
  • Building/Transforming the Institution
  • Multi-disciplinary Approaches
  • Growth and/or Change
  • Obstacles, Challenges
  • MD Anderson Culture
  • The Researcher
  • Discovery and Success

Dr. Arlinghaus explains the package he received when he returned to MD Anderson in 1986 to set up the new Department of Molecular Pathology.  He sums up his vision for the Department and lists the individuals he recruited to build out research.  He explains that he looked for researchers with “vision and creativity” who could develop a unique set of independently funded research projects.  Administratively, he did not want to create pyramids of grant support, a situation that would weaken the department.

Dr. Arlinghaus notes that, two years ago, he was asked to step down as chair, and he felt relieved to do so.  He next reviews his accomplishments as department chair.  He lists the faculty members and notes that his department may be one of the best funded basic science departments in the institution. 

[The recorder is paused for about 5 minutes.]

Dr. Arlinghaus makes brief comments on why a change in leadership was needed at the time.

 

Chapter 07 ( The Researcher)
Translational Research in the Department of Molecular Pathology (Now the Department of Translational Molecular Pathology) (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Researcher  
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • On Research and Researchers
  • The Professional at Work
  • Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • MD Anderson Culture

Dr. Arlinghaus talks about the new Department chair, Ignacio Vestula, who took over when he was asked to step down in 2012.  He also discusses the Departments change of name to Translational Molecular Pathology.  Dr. Arlinghaus observes that the Department had a translational focus prior to the name change, and he explains how his own work fits the definition of translational research: to conduct research with the goal of having a direct impact on the cancer patient.  Dr. Arlinghaus then sketches his model of how a translational study takes shape.  The interviewer talks about a model described by Dr. Mien-Chie Hung, and Dr. Arlinghaus comments on that.  He notes that he does not work directly with clinicians and that his strategy has always been to focus on CML, learning from journals what he needs to know.

Interview Session Two: 2 April 2014 (listen/read)

 

Chapter 00B
Interview identifier (listen/read)

 

Chapter 08 (Educational Path)
Discovering a Talent for Laboratory Research and an Early Research Success (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • Personal Background
  • Influences from People and Life Experiences
  • The Researcher 
  • Evolution of Career
  • Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents
  • Portraits
  • D: Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • Discovery, Creativity and Innovation
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • Professional Practice 
  • The Professional at Work

Dr. Arlinghaus begins this segment about his educational path with some comments about his origins in a family of immigrant stock.  He notes that his mother decided that he should go to a private Catholic school, and Dr. Arlinghaus worked at a local pharmacy to make money for the school’s tuition. 

He explains why he elected to attend the College of Pharmacy (B.S. 1957) at the University of Cincinnati, (Cincinnati, Ohio,).

Dr. Arlinghaus next talks about his decision to work for his Master’s and then his Ph.D. in biochemistry.  He describes his dissertation research on the structure of collagen.  His comments are very revealing of his approach to research problems and laboratory methods.  He explains his unique discovery: that his analysis revealed a new amino acid in collagen.  “Pretty good for a guy who just got off the turnip truck,” Dr. Arlinghaus says.  The new amino acid was named, 3 Hydroxyproline.  That discovery, he says, made him “the most advanced person in that department.”

 

Chapter 09 (Professional Path)
Fellowships and More Creative Research (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • Influences from People and Life Experiences
  • The Researcher 
  • Evolution of Career
  • Portraits
  • Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents
  • Discovery, Creativity and Innovation
  • Professional Practice
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • D: Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • The Professional at Work

In this segment, Dr. Arlinghaus describes the research he conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Schweet while he was on fellowship at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky (1962-1963 and 1964 – 1965).  Dr. Arlinghaus describes how he came to work on the mechanisms of peptide bond formation in ribosomes in hemoglobin.  He describes the theory of this process at the time –that long chains of proteins were assembled.  Dr. Arlinghaus’s research revealed a different and more complex, two-stop mechanism involving ribosomes, messenger RNA and translocation processes.  Dr. Arlinghaus notes that this ribosome mechanism is now in textbooks and, at the time, it won him national recognition.  He recalls giving a talk in Atlantic City, noting that he wasn’t nervous, but confident because “I knew what no one in this room knew and I was going to tell them about it.”

Dr. Arlinghaus states that he had knowledge and creativity and he reflects on where his abilities and research success came from: keeping up with the latest technique, luck, being “simple minded,” open minded, and aware that thing might be different than reported in textbooks.

 

Chapter 10 (Personal Background)
A Critical Point in a Career: Crisis and Key Decisions (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents
  • Personal Background
  • Professional Path
  • Inspirations to Practice Science/Medicine
  • D: On Research and Researchers
  • Obstacles, Challenges
  • Contributions
  • Activities Outside Institution
  • Career and Accomplishments

In this segment, Dr. Arlinghaus talks about his process of choosing a job after his Fellowship period at the University of Kentucky. 

He recalls a key event at a Gordon Conference where he was “grilled” about his discovery of the ribosome process.  He notes that he was shy and unsure of himself, despite his professional success, so when he met a researcher from the Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory in Greenport, NY, he decided to take a job there (1965 – 1969).  Dr. Arlinghaus reflects on the fact that it was a mistake not to take an assistant professorship, but to take a safe route at Plum island after being “beat up” at the Gordon Conference.

He talks about another factor: his wife, Barbara, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia and died thirty months later, in 1967.  Dr. Arlinghaus states that he also needed to take a safer career route because of this family tragedy and insecurity (he was working two jobs). 

Dr. Arlinghaus ends this segment with the observation that he has always conducted unique research.

 

Chapter 11 (The Researcher)
Research Projects: Working on an HIV Vaccine Lipocalin 24p3 How CML Causes Uncontrolled Growth of Blood Cells (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Researcher  
  • Evolution of Career
  • Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents
  • Discovery, Creativity and Innovation
  • Professional Practice
  • MD Anderson Impact
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • D: Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • The Professional at Work
  • Discovery and Success

In this segment, Dr. Arlinghaus describes the research project he has conducted since returning to MD Anderson in 1986. 

He provides context by describing work on an HIV vaccine work he conducted at Johnson and Johnson then talks about his work on lipocalin 2.  He explains how his research into the role of lipocalin 2 has evolved and how he is addressing the research hypothesis that when a tumor forms, an environment is created that is also invaded by normal cells.  Some of these battle the tumor, and other come in and secrete lipocalin 24p3, killing other normal cells.

Dr. Arlinghaus then turns to his work on how CML causes uncontrolled growth of blood cells and what this demonstrates about the host’s involvement in the disease (a paper was published in 1995).  He explains connections between this work and his other studies of Janus kinase 2, and the BCR-ABL.  He goes on to describe unpublished work on how the BCR-ABL protein phosphorylates and thereby activates Janus kinase 2 in an uncontrolled mechanism.

 

Chapter 12 (The Researcher)
Reflections on a Research Style Collaborating with Clinical Trials   (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • The Researcher
  • MD Anderson Impact
  • Overview
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • The Professional at Work
  • Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents
  • Discovery, Creativity and Innovation
  • Discovery and Success
  • Collaborations
  • Multi-disciplinary Approaches
  • On Research and Researchers
  • Understanding Cancer, the History of Science, Cancer Research
  • Business of Research

Dr. Arlinghaus first explains some of his research approach, noting that he uses intuition and logic to attack a problem as if he “peels back an onion.”

Next he talks about his contributions to clinical trials.  He begins with trial to improve treatment of CML patients with Imatinib with period doses of a compound that would inhibit production of Janus kinase 2. [1]  He also talks about his work developing an assay to determine whether a patient is in remission or not based on the number of leukemia cells present.

[The recorder is paused]

Dr. Arlinghaus next sketches several other projects in progress: his collaboration with Dr. Xiaoyan Jian and her work on Janus kinase 2 his continued work on lipocalin 23p2 and host involvement in the spread of cancer the role of BCR-ABL proteins in Janus Kinase 2 activation.  He notes he is currently writing a proposal to extend current NCI grant funding after 2015 and explains that funding is much more competitive today.

 

Chapter 13 (Key MD Anderson Figures)
A View of MD Anderson Presidents (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • Portraits
  • MD Anderson History
  • MD Anderson Culture
  • Building/Transforming the Institution
  • Multi-disciplinary Approaches
  • Growth and/or Change
  • Personal Background
  • Institutional Politics
  • Controversy
  • Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents
  • The Professional at Work
  • Leadership
  • Giving Recognition 

In this segment, Dr. Arlinghaus offers his views of the four MD Anderson presidents.

He describes Dr. R. Lee Clark as a “true visionary” who realized surgery wasn’t sufficient to address cancer and other specialties were needed to unravel its mysteries.  Dr. Arlinghaus confirms that Dr. Charles LeMaistre was very supportive of him.  He talks about some tensions among department chairs and comments on his own leadership style.  He recalls the influence of his mother, Loretta, on his character and behavior.

Dr. Arlinghaus next talks about Dr. John Mendelsohn.

[The recorder is paused]

Dr. Arlinghaus notes that Dr. Mendelsohn’s discovery of a new cancer drug was a “remarkable achievement” and that he added to the strength of the institution.

Next he talks about Dr. Ronald DePinho, offering the view that the institution will grow under his leadership.

 

Chapter 14 (View on Career and Accomplishments)
A Memorable Student and Advice to Students/Professionals (listen/read)  

 

Topics Covered

  • Portraits
  • Personal Background
  • Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents
  • The Professional at Work
  • Giving Recognition
  • Mentoring
  • Professional Practice
  • The Professional at Work
  • Collaborations
  • Overview
  • Definitions, Explanations, Translations
  • Career and Accomplishments

In this segment, Dr. Arlinghaus reflects on his career at MD Anderson, noting that he is very pleased with the people he has trained.  He recalls in particular, Guzi Jamjun [SP?], a graduate student from Saudi Arabia who trained at the Graduate School of Biomedical Science.  Dr. Arlinghaus describes how Mr. Jamjun was able to help him in his own thinking about laboratory technique and methods, noting how rare it has been for him to find someone to discuss work deeply. 

At the end of the segment, Dr. Arlinghaus gives advice to students and professionals: work hard, be honest, only publish what you believe.  He also says that he doesn’t know how to instill drive and a sense of mission in people, but notes that “if it’s a hobby, it’s not enough.”  He advises leaders to attract bright people and to listen to them.


[1] Oaks JJ, Santhanam R, Walker CJ, Roof S, Harb JG, Ferenchak G, Eisfeld AK, Van Brocklyn JR, Briesewitz R, Saddoughi SA, Nagata K, Bittman R, Caligiuri MA, Abdel-Wahab O, Levine R, Arlinghaus RB, Quintas-Cardama A, Goldman JM, Apperley J, Reid A, Milojkovic D, Ziolo MT, Marcucci G, Ogretmen B, Neviani P, Perrotti D. Antagonistic activities of the immunomodulator and PP2A-activating drug FTY720(Fingolimod, Gilenya) in Jak2-driven hematologic malignancies. Blood 122(11):1923-34, 9/2013. e-Pub 8/2013. PMCID: PMC3772499.

 

Original Profile

 

 

This interview with molecular pathologist Ralph B. Arlinghaus (b. 16 August 1935, Newport, Kentucky) takes place in two sessions during spring of 2014 (approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes total duration).

Dr. Arlinghaus came to MD Anderson 1969 to serve as Chief of the Section of Environmental Biology.  Dr. Arlinghaus spent some time away from MD Anderson (1983 -1986), returning in 1986 to serve as Chair of the new Department of Molecular Pathology.  Today he is a professor in the Department of Translational Molecular Pathology in the Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.  He holds Hubert L. Stringer Chair in Cancer Research.  The interview takes place in the Dr. Arlinghaus’ office in the Life Sciences Building on Holcombe Boulevard, just west of the main campus of MD Anderson.  Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D. is the interviewer.

Dr. Arlinghaus received his Bachelors’ in Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Pharmacy in Cincinnati, Ohio (1957) and continued in the Graduate School of Arts to receive his Master’s in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (1959).  He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the

University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine in 1961 and stayed at the institution for his Clinical and Research Fellowships (1/1959-1/1959 and 1/1960-1/1961, respectively).  Dr. Arlinghaus then received two Research Fellowships to support his work at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington (1/1962-1/1963 and 1/1964-1/1965).  He next took a position as a research biochemist at the Plum Island Animal Disease Laboratory, Greenport, NY (1965 – 1969), at which point a family tragedy compelled him to redirect his career, and he took a position as a biochemist at MD Anderson with the intent of focusing on chronic myeloid leukemia.  In 1986 he was tasked with establishing the new Department of Molecular Pathology, and built a small but strong department of faculty with independent laboratories and funding.  He stepped down from that role in 2012.  Over the course of his career, Dr. Arlinghaus has made several key discoveries unraveling the genetic and molecular complexities of proteins that support and maintain leukemia.  In 2005, for example, he discovered that leukemia cells induce healthy cells to secrete lipocalin 24p3, killing other healthy cells in order to make room for tumor growth; he thereby overturned the commonly held idea that leukemia merely crowds out normal cells.  His work on the pathways of the BCR-ABL protein has identified markers for leukemia; based on his work on the Janus kinase 2, Dr. Arlinghaus has been able to propose improvements to leukemia treatment, and these are now in clinical trials.

In this interview, Dr. Arlinghaus talks at length about his research discoveries, often going into technical detail about genetic and molecular processes.  He not only demonstrates the complexities of the research questions he takes on, but in the process also shows the creative approach to research that he feels has characterized his career and his mark on the field.  He talks about his humble beginnings and career challenges and discusses the death of his young wife from chronic myeloid leukemia, a key event that focused him on the mission of curing that disease.  He sketches his role in building the Department of Molecular Pathology and comments on tensions in MD Anderson that influenced his career at the institution.