16. The mayor and the Frenchman

In 1996, two other trainees entered the lab. One was a graduate student, Ralph DeBerardinis, and the other was a postdoc, Thierry Naas. Ralph was my first student from the University of Pennsylvania. He had begun the M.D.-Ph.D. program at Penn in 1994, and after an eight-week rotation in the lab he decided to do his thesis work with us. Ralph was a bona fide Italian-American Philadelphian. He was raised in the region, went to St. Joseph’s University outside Philadelphia, and now was studying at Penn close to Center City. Ralph was a gregarious young man. When the lab went out to lunch together, he seemed to know and greet almost everyone on the street. He soon had acquired the moniker, “The Mayor.” Ralph was at ...

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