Biochemistry faculty profile – Professor Brian Fox

Photo of Brian Fox
Professor Brian Fox.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I was born in Denver, CO, 1956 and grew up in Boulder, CO. My entire educational track is as follows: Columbine Elementary School (1967); Centenial Junior High School (1971); Boulder High School (1974); University of Colorado (1 year); Carleton College (BA, Chemistry, 1981); University of Minnesota (PhD, Biochemistry, 1989); Carnegie Mellon University (postdoctoral fellow); University of Wisconsin (Assistant Professor, 1993).

Where did you carry out your postdoctoral research?

Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.

As a child, who was your biggest influence?

Mr. Geiger, high school geology teacher; Mr. Kildahl, high school algebra teacher; and Mr. Ogata, high school chemistry teacher.

Why did you decide to study science?

Because I love the natural world.

Why did you come to Madison? When?

Greatest opportunity in the world. Summer, 1993.

What do you like most about being a professor?

Following my interests and intuition while working with the very smartest students and colleagues around. There is something new and challenging every day.

What is the focus of your research?

Understanding and increasing appreciation of the marvels in the natural world.

What do you consider your major accomplishments?

Helping others achieve their goals and success.

What advice would you provide to a new assistant professor who is just starting his/her career?

Follow your interests and intuition, and always remember you can’t do it alone.

When you are not working, what do you like to do?

Tend my daffodils, cook something new, and play some music.

What is your favorite place in Madison?

The secret beaches along the shoreline going north and west from Picnic Point.

Favorite Quote

Build Back Better

Friends Describe Me as

Ready to go

Fantasy Dinner Guests

People who know what they are talking about but are still good listeners.

Best Advice I Ever Received

“Don’t promise what you can’t deliver…”

My Undergrad Alma Mater

Carleton College, ‘81

My Worst Subject In School

Analytical Chemistry

If I Weren’t A Professor, I Would

Work with my hands

In College I Drove

A bicycle

Favorite Books

“Ceol Rince na hEireann” (the red one)
“Popular Mechanics Home How-To”
“Salt: A World History”
“Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy.

Favorite City

Sapporo, Japan or Copenhagen, Denmark.

Favorite Movies

Recently: “Enola Holmes”
“Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
Anything Marvel

Favorite Coffee

Just Coffee’s “Wake the Dead”

Current Research

Learning what we can do about lignin besides burn it or bury it.

My Latest Accomplishment

Getting the Biotechnology Training Grant renewed for another 5-year period.

Nobody Knows I…

Walked to the Chomolungma base camp and back