Crotty, Shane 1974-

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CROTTY, Shane 1974-


Born 1974. Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., 1994; University of California, San Francisco, Ph.D.; postdoctoral work at Emory University.


Office—Vaccine Discovery-3 Department, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, 10355 Science Center Dr., San Diego, CA 92121. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer; viral researcher. La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, faculty member.


Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2001.

Paper on RNA viruses published in Nature Medicine in 2001.


Shane Crotty got the scientific research bug early, when he was in high school and the National Science Foundation's Young Scholars Program sent him to study sharks' vision in a Catalina Island laboratory. The next step was MIT in the early 1990s, where an undergraduate writing assignment brought him into contact with David Baltimore. The Nobel laureate scientist had established himself as a pioneer in molecular biology in the 1970s but was involved in a scandal in the 1980s by a high-profile fraud-allegation case involving a paper he coauthored. Baltimore's name was eventually cleared but his once-formidable reputation remained cloudy within the scientific community.

Crotty began interviewing Baltimore for the assignment but, over the course of several years, the class paper grew into a full-length biography. Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science follows Baltimore's academic and scientific career, including his early education, the Nobel prize, his work in the areas of DNA, genetic engineering, viruses, cancer, and AIDS, and, of course, the fraud case.

A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Crotty presents a fascinating picture of "the politics of contemporary science" and "does an impressive job of outlining Baltimore's … major discoveries and makes … molecular biology accessible to the general public. What is missing, however, is any deep sense of Baltimore." Margaret Henderson from Library Journal agreed that the science is accessible, "Crotty also takes the time to explain clearly the science and scientific methods used in molecular biology and virology research." David Lindley of New Scientist questioned Crotty's objectivity, feeling the author kept "away from pure adulation," but the book remains "essentially celebratory." In Nature Robert Bazell praised Crotty's "excellent book" and "fine science writing." Bazell went on to recommend Ahead of the Curve to "anyone, scientist or not, who cares about the modern research enterprise and the politics that drive it."



Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin, May, 2001, Jeff Miller, "Shane Crotty Has a Hot Paper and a New Biography, Too," pp. 8-9.

Library Journal, April 15, 2001, Margaret Henderson, review of Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science, p. 128.

Nature, April 12, 2001, Robert Bazell, review of Ahead of the Curve, pp. 746-747.

New Scientist, May 5, 2001, David Lindley, review of Ahead of the Curve, p. 44.

Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2001, review of Ahead of the Curve, p. 87.


Emory Report, (August 5, 2002), Poul Olson, "Shane Crotty Starting Out Ahead of the Curve," interview.

University of California Press, (September 4, 2001), book description.*