I felt I ought not to be wasting time, and I hurried to graduate from high school to enroll at UCSD. I also hurried to finish college, to go on to higher studies. By the time I was in my teens, I had a strong sense of mission, wanting to discover something important or solve a major problem in biology or medicine.
The nicest part of the prize, perhaps, is the effect on my friends and family. Each of them feels proud and happy to have the relationship with me that they do. In a way, it's as though they received an award too, and I like that very much.
Autoimmunity is probably the next frontier. The majority of cases of autoimmune disease result from a complex genetic problem that has environmental influences. It is a colossal task for the immune system to maintain tolerance to self and yet be ready to react to everything in the world around us.
I grew up hoping that my father might win a Nobel Prize.
If we think of the immune system as a machine, then we are far from even knowing all of its parts.