PBS Airs “The Gene” Documentary

Several VP&S faculty members were featured in a new Ken Burns documentary based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s 2016 bestseller, “The Gene: An Intimate History.”

Mr. Burns earlier produced a documentary based on Dr. Mukherjee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” published in 2010. That documentary was a six-hour series shown on PBS over three nights in March and April of 2015.

Both documentaries were executive produced by Mr. Burns and directed by Columbia journalism alumnus Barak Goodman.

The latest documentary was shown on April 7 and 14.

“The Gene: An Intimate History” discussed today’s revolution in medical science through present-day tales of patients and doctors at the forefront of the search for genetic treatments, interwoven with a compelling history of the discoveries that made this possible and the ethical challenges raised by the ability to edit DNA.

Dr. Mukherjee is a cancer physician at NewYork-Presbyterian and a researcher at VP&S, where he is assistant professor of medicine. His research focuses on discovering new cancer drugs using innovative biological methods.

VP&S faculty members who appear in the documentary, in addition to Dr. Mukherjee, are Wendy Chung, MD, PhD, the Kennedy Professor of Pediatrics (in Medicine); David Goldstein, PhD, the John E. Borne Professor of Medical and Surgical Research and director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine; Samuel Sternberg, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry & molecular biophysics; and Nancy Wexler, PhD, the Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology. The documentary also lauded the seminal contributions of two other legendary Columbians, Erwin Chargaff and Thomas Hunt Morgan.