Along with receiving the greatest scientific honor that exists, 2006 Nobel Prize winner Craig Mello will enter a new world of expectations and competition for his time at the lab bench, say his colleagues who have lived the dream. Asked what words of advice they would give (or have given) Mello, four Nobelists had this to say:
"I would advise Craig to view the Nobel Prize as a test of one's ability to remain highly focused on his research program." — Rod Mackinnon (2003), an HHMI investigator at The Rockefeller University.
"Within a few days I realized I would have a new responsibility: communicating the importance of basic science to the public. This creates an organizational challenge when one's primary interest is in doing research." — Linda Buck (2004), HHMI investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
"I told Craig that one of the most special experiences he will have in his life is about to occur—the week in Sweden celebrating the Nobel Prize. Sweden has a wonderful style for this celebration and is a gracious host. He should take the time to enjoy the experience. I would also advise him to reserve time for his family and research over the next few years as the demands for his attention are going to greatly increase."
— Phil Sharp (1993), MIT and past member, HHMI Medical Advisory Board.
Robert Horvitz (2002), an HHMI investigator at MIT, agreed with the others and said to Mello, "Preserve your time for those things you really care about, or would really enjoy," adding as a final postscript: "Ask the Nobel Foundation to award the Prize money after January 1, so you don't have to pay taxes on it in 2006. The United States is the only country in the world that requires Nobel Prize recipients to pay income tax on the award."