UW madison
UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Carbone Cancer Center

John M. Coffin, Ph.D.

John M. Coffin, Ph.D.

American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Tufts University
136 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111

After obtaining my Ph.D. from McArdle in the laboratory of Howard Temin in 1972, my entire career has been involved in the study of retroviruses, first as a fellow with Charles Weissmann at the University of Zürich, subsequently as a faculty member at Tufts Medical School in Boston, where I am currently American Cancer Society Research Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology. As a postdoc, I worked on the structure of retrovirus genomes, discovering, for example, that the two subunits are genetically identical. I followed this up by showing that the genomes have a short terminally redundant sequence used by reverse transcriptase to “jump” from one end to the other during DNA synthesis. I have also worked on the mechanism of viral recombination, how retroviruses acquire oncogenes and the nature of endogenous proviruses that make up a large part of our genomes. More recently, I turned my attention to the HIV-host interaction, becoming founding Director (part time) of the NCI’s HIV Drug Resistance Program, to which I now serve as consultant. I am also a farmer, having owned a cranberry operation since 1980. In 1997, I was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

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