Search Magazine December 01, 2008

Five questions: An Interview with Jim Yeadon

The Jackson Laboratory
Q: How did you get interested in science?

A: I have early memories of turning over rocks to find toads, walking to a nearby pond to catch frogs, and looking at plants. I grew up in Vermont and was always intrigued by wildlife. By the time I got to high school I knew I wanted to be a scientist; I just didn't know what kind.

Q: What kind of scientist did you become?

A: Different kinds! I got my Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology from MIT, but I realized along the way that I didn't have a passion for bench work. So I landed a job as research assistant in horticultural taxonomy at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which turned out to be wonderful. And now I'm a Technical Information Scientist/Specialist here.

Q: What do you do as a Technical Information Scientist?

A: I answer questions from researchers around the world when they call asking advice about how to best use mice in their research. I answer maybe 25 questions a day.

Q: What do you like about your job?

A: There's always something new to learn. I get asked something completely new almost every day, and in the course of answering those questions I get to talk with Jackson Lab researchers, leaders in the fields of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders . . . . It's always interesting.

Q: What are your outside interests?

A: I am an avid hiker, explorer and amateur botanist, with a passion for orchids. I grow a modest collection of mostly tropical orchids at home, but with a wonderful wife, daughter and son to keep me busy, my plants probably don't get as much attention as they should!