Tyrone Hayes (Finding Aid)

Tyrone Hayes

1967 -

Favorite Color: Black

Favorite Food: Everything

Favorite Time of Year: Christmas

Favorite Vacation Spot: A new place every time

Interview Length: 190 minutes

Interview Date(s): March 10, 2011

Interview Location(s): University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California


Tyrone Hayes slates the interview and shares his favorites. He then discusses the family background of his mother, Susie Louise Richardson, who was born on October 29, 1947. Hayes's maternal grandmother, Agnes Elizabeth Bailey, was raised by her mother, Louise Bailey. Hayes compares the large "protected" family environment of his mother to that of his father, Romeo Hayes, who was much independent growing up in segregated Columbia, South Carolina, near the South Carolina University campus. He was raised by his aunt, from whom he took the surname, "Hayes." Hayes's parents met while at a party in Columbia, and his father followed his mother to Atlanta University, where she was studying at Morris Brown University. The couple returned to Columbia, where Hayes recalls his neighborhood and the swamps around his grandmother's home.

Tyrone Hayes remembers not enjoying elementary school because he did not feel challenged. He was often disciplined for being hyperactive in class. Hayes recalls his initial introduction to science through television programs such as National Geographic and Wild Kingdom. As a cub scout, Hayes monitored a family of mourning doves and he would go to the library every weekend. Hayes discusses his influences growing up, particularly the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina. Hayes closes this section of the interview discussing his acceptance to an artistically gifted and talented program at Hand Middle School. Being an integrated school, Hayes discusses his first interactions with white peers.

Tyrone Hayes describes his high school courses and teachers, including some of the scientific experiments he conducted during his summer vacations. Hayes reflects upon his environmental consciousness as a youth and touches upon the growing concerns over the declining amphibian population, which comes to international attention in the late 1980s. After discussing some of the books and movies he enjoyed growing up, Hayes talks about his college years, explaining how he chose to apply only to Harvard University. He then describes upon the influence of his future wife, Katherine Kim, and lab director, Dr. Bruce Waldman, in keeping him at the university during a difficult transition to college life. He recounts some of the African American students and faculty members that influenced his time at Harvard University. Using his own experiences as examples, Hayes ends this section of the interview offering advice to students for making the transition to college.

Tyrone Hayes reflects on the importance of having the opportunity to work in Bruce Waldman's laboratory during his college years as well as his decision to pursue his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He describes the declining amphibian population and the role of frogs as environmental indicators, the role that hormones play in amphibian (and organismal) development, and the definition of "endocrine disruptors". Hayes also describes the endocrinology groups at the University of California, Berkeley, and the black presence on the campus. After describing his research studies in Kenya and his post-graduate career plans, Hayes begins a lengthy discussion on his involvement with Atrazine, Ecorisk, and Novartis (later called Syngenta).

Tyrone Hayes clarifies his position on Atrazine and the use of herbicides. He then describes the different types of experiments conducted to examine the effects of the Atrazine, including epidemiological studies, studies performed in rats and studies conducted in human cell lines. Studies find that Atrazine turns on the enzyme aromatase, which transforms estrogen to testosterone, causing the change in sex characteristics of frogs. Hayes shares anecdotes of how he has confronted being harassed by individuals from Novartis and Syngenta. He then touches upon how his strategy to diversify funding has benefited his laboratory. Hayes closes this section of the interview by discussing the importance of his patent, the Hyperolis Argus Endocrine Screen (HAES).

Tyrone Hayes discusses the types of experiments that his research group employs to study the endocrinology of frogs, including controlled experiments in the laboratory and observational studies in the field. He emphasizes the importance of the objectivity of scientific research and notes the growing awareness of the risks of chemicals like Atrazine. Hayes then describes his philosophy of combining his personal and professional lives and shares his concerns for the African American community, particularly in education. He believes he can make a difference by educating non-scientists to take an interest in careers in science. In response to a question of new research topics, Hayes discusses his laboratory's work in studying how certain chemicals affect neurological development. This interview session closes with a discussion on the awards that Hayes has received.

Tyrone Hayes describes the activities he enjoys outside of work, including exercising and gardening. He then reflects on how he would not do anything differently if given the chance to live his life over again and that his personal legacy is his children. He closes the interview describing how he wants to be remembered.

77 Stories (See Ordered Story Set)