Betsy at University of California, Irvine

In 1972, Betsy landed an assistant professor appointment in the University of California, Irvine, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Here Betsy began to examine repair of UV-induced DNA damage in human cells, with John as one of her collaborators.

Betsy’s solo 1974 Nature paper unequivocally established the existence of a photoreactivating enzyme in human leukocytes, which are a type of white blood cells. Prior to this paper, the data were contradictory. 

Real Jobs

After completing postdoctoral stints in the San Francisco area, the Sutherlands were poised to take on academic appointments, “real jobs,” as John puts it. As before, they looked for positions that allow them to be at least in the same city. Their search brought them to southern California.

Westward Bound

From Washington, D.C., the Sutherlands headed West, for what John calls “real postdocs.” In hunting for jobs, they planned to be at least in the same city. Both got positions at the University of California, Berkeley, in labs associated with Nobel laureates.

Walter Reed

At Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Betsy and John Sutherland joined the laboratory of Friedrich Ernst Hahn in the Department of Molecular Biology as postdoctoral fellows. It was the only time in their careers that they worked together in the same lab full time.