Global Health Chronicles

Dr. Janet Nicholson

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles
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1:19 - Early Life and Education

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell us where you grew up and about your early family life?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson describes her upbringing, education and becoming a member of the pathology department at CDC.

Keywords: A. Goldstein; antibody; Atlanta, Georgia; B cells; biology; Charleston, South Carolina; Experimental Pathology; farm; Fc receptors; Galveston, Texas; hydrazine compounds; laboratory; M. LaVia; necropsies; Omaha, Nebraska; Storm Lake, Iowa; T cells; thymosin; white cells

Subjects: Buena Vista College University; CDC; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Emory University; Eppley Institute for Cancer Research; Iowa; Medical College of South Carolina; Morehouse College

8:53 - Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorter

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Partial Transcript: This is the late '70s and this field of immunology is really still very new, nascent. Is that correct?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson describes her Ph.D. work at CDC studying T cells, her mentor Steve McDougal and her training on a fluorescent activated cell sorter machine, and how a FACS machine works.

Keywords: 1970s; 1980; available; blood; cancer studies; cell sorter; cell surface; centrifuge; charged; diffract; dozen; droplets; FACS; flow cytometer; fluorescent activated cell sorter machine; fund; human immune system; identify; immune responses; immunologist; Immunology Division; J. Carter; laser; leukemias; M. Heckler; monoclonal; Mountain View, California; mouse model; operator; Ph.D.; post doc; pregnant; reagents; S. McDougal; Secretary of Health and Human Services; single-cells; sizes; stream; thesis

Subjects: Atlanta Journal Constitution; CDC; federal government; Health and Human Services; HHS

Hyperlink: Former President Jimmy Carter visits a CDC laboratory in the Immunology Division. Dr. Steven McDougal is on his right, Dr. Janet Nicholson sits at the Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter [FACS]

24:10 - New Disease

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Partial Transcript: So, how did Steve McDougal's lab first get involved in investigating and doing studies about this new syndrome? It didn’t have a name at the time. How did that happen?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson explains the atmosphere of the laboratory within the Immunology Branch. Dr. Nicholson describes how the field of immunology was evolving at the same time as the AIDS epidemic unfolded.

Keywords: 1981; B cell; bi-weekly; boom; cell sorter; cell work; cells; end stage; epidemiologists; flow cytometers; frozen; HIV infection; Immunology Branch; immunology group; late 1980's; leukemia studies; monoclonal antibodies; mononucleosis; new; patients; reagents; S. Shore; specimens; T cell; T. Spira; technicians

Subjects: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; AIDS; HIV; human immunodeficiency virus; Task Force on Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections

35:01 - Laboratory Studies/Cell Testing

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Partial Transcript: So, can you talk a little bit about some of the laboratory studies that tried to characterize what was lymphadenopathy syndrome all about, from an immunologic perspective.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson discusses how the immunology lab worked closely with epidemiologists as well as virologists to get the best results. However, there was no standard across the nation on how to test cells, so CDC along with partner organizations formulated laboratory standards for cell testing and quality control.

Keywords: . Spira; 1993; ability; anticoagulants; antigens; Atlanta; CD4; conditions; frozen; guidelines; HIV testing; homosexual men; immune function; immune system; immunophenotyping; impact; infections; laboratory; management; markers; matured; neutrophils; prediction; principal investigator; professional organizations; quality control; react; result; specimens; standards; testing; unique; valid; viral load; virology; white cell

Subjects: AIDS; CDC; HIV; MMWR; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; National Institutes of Health; NIH

53:47 - Immunologic Research

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Partial Transcript: I was struck by that, that CDC was a real player, a real leader in this area?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson describes her experience working with NIH and how the immunology lab was able to figure out how the virus gained entry and with the idea that a therapeutic could be designed using this information.

Keywords: activity; advances; AIDS epidemic; basement; ccess; collaboration; concentrate; conditions; culturing; entry; epidemiologic studies; funding; immunophenotyping; important; J. Kagan; L. Montagnier; money; proteins; quality assurance; receptor; S. McDougal; therapeutics

Subjects: ACTG; AIDS; AIDS Clinical Trials Group; APHL; Association of Public Health Laboratories; CDC; France; NIH

62:28 - Team Members

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Partial Transcript: Who were some of the people that you worked with apart from Steve as time marched on?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson shares the names of her immunology colleagues and the role they played within the group.

Keywords: 1990; B. Jones; C. Aloisio; C. Dawson; cell sorter; D. Cross; D. Kickliter; D. Sasso; fixatives; flow cytometry; hematology group; inactivation; investigator; J. Jason; L. Martin; M. Hubbard; pediatrician; S. Kennedy; S. McDougal; T. Spira; virology

Subjects: HIV

65:08 - Work Environment

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Partial Transcript: What was it like in the laboratory environment then to keep with the pace? Were you exhilarated, exhausted? I’m trying to get a sense of what that must’ve been like.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson describes her experience working within Dr. Steve McDougal’s lab and the type of work environment Dr. McDougal fostered.

Keywords: banter; bench work; brilliant; collaborations; congenial; contest; forums; funding; graduate student; hallway; lab; manuscript; MD; meetings; office; opportunities; paper; publication; revisions; satisfying; specimens; T. Spira; thesis; unusual

Subjects: CDC; Journal of Immunology

72:01 - Reflections

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Partial Transcript: Looking back, are there any aspects of CDC's laboratory response to the epidemic that you think we fell short or could've done a better job? And conversely, where did we excel?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Nicholson reflects on her time at CDC and the ways she believes the Immunology Division excelled during the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

Keywords: applied research; career; environment; excelled; future; Galveston; great; humanitarian aspect; information; PCR; polymerase chain reaction; public health; research; team; tedious; testing; viral load; virology; virus

Subjects: AIDS; CDC; HIV