Speaking of Fred Sachs

A website about the life and works of Frederick Sachs

Colleagues on Fred

Here are video chats with a number of Fred’s colleagues from over the years. Some are pretty technical but all contribute to the story of Fred Sachs in science.

And at the bottom of the page is a home video we made in 1988 where Fred talks about his ion channel work and shows examples on screen.

And a nice video showed up of Fred giving a lecture in the 1980s, which you can see on the top of this page.

Phil Specht

Phil and Fred shared a laboratory just as both were starting graduate work at Syracuse University in the late 1960s.

They bonded over biophysics and only then discovered their mutual affection for old-time music.

For some years they played as a duet at Captain Mac’s Clam Shack.

They remained in close touch right up to Fred’s passing.

Sid Simon

Dr. Sidney Simon was a close colleague of Fred’s going back to the late 1970s.

He tells about his long friendship with Fred, including a sculpted plaque that Fred welded for him.

Sid reads from a paper of Fred’s to point out how remarkable was Fred’s dedication to science.

Deborah Nelson

Deborah talks about being Fred’s first post-doctoral student, and much more. She has great stories about the lab in the early days, with room temperatures over 100 and massive RF interference from the college radio station.

(At one point she refers to little brother Jon Sachs who made color graphic slides for Fred back in the day when scientists never had color slides.)

Falguni Guharay

Falguni worked with Fred in the early 1980s and together they published a groundbreaking paper on stretch-activated ion channels.

This video includes some content that might be too technical for us average folks, but also has lots of great history and insights into Fred Sachs as a person and a scientist.

Boris Martinac

Boris tells about his awareness of Fred even before they met; then he tells with great humor about their long and wonderfully contentious scientific relationship and warm friend ship.

Tony Auerbach

Tony was among Fred’s first students in the 1980s. He gives a great history of the early days and also a deeply appreciative but frank picture of Fred as a scientist, a collegue, and a father.

Near the beginning of the video listen to Tony’s vivid description of the exact moment that Falguni Guharay showed him and Fred the first evidence of mechano-sensitive ion channels.  

Mary Teeling

Mary was the person in charge of culturing cells for the various ion channel experiments.

She taught generations of students how to culture cells.

And as she explains, also tended to Rosie the Tarantula, and she also introduces students to Fred’s “Molecules in Motion” sculpture.

Masahiro Sokabe

Masahiro talks about meeting a big bearded guy who turned out to be very friendly and gentle, and welcomed the whole family to Buffalo.

He talks about how Fred expanded the notion of mechano-sensitive cells from certain kinds of cells to nearly all living cells, including plants.

Arthur Beyder

Arthur Beyder, of the Mayo Clinic, talks about his experience learning biophysics with Fred Sachs. The other fellow in the video is Jon Sachs, youngest brother of Fred, who is speaking with Dr. Beyder via Zoom.

Wade Sigurdson

Wade and his wife came to Buffalo so that Wade could work with Fred. His wife says, “We came for 3 years and stayed 33.”

He talks about ideas that Fred had that were way ahead of their time.

Ye Chen-Izu

Ye did her PhD work in Fred’s lab, working to isolate the active compound in tarantula spider venom that eventually turned out to the drug known as GsMTx4.

She gives us a good sense of what life was like in Sachs Lab at that time.

Ken Snyder

Dr. Ken Snyder talks about how Fred influenced his thinking about science and about Fred’s legacy as a scientist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Ken also talks about possible future roles for the drug Fred pioneered, GsMTx4, for heart arrhythmia.


Susan Hua

Susan Hua talks about many aspects of Fred as a mentor and as a scientist. She mentions his focus on research that makes a difference, making tools others can use, being a “pure scientist, and being the person you talk to when you have lost your way in your own research.

Dr. Feng Qui

Feng Qui worked for years with Fred, developing software to analyze the data they were receiving from “patch clamps” that each held a single ion channel.

Dr. Qui continues the research into how ion channels are affected by mechanical stress, which is basic to every living cell.


Tom Suchyna

Tom worked side by side with Fred for years on their research into mechanically sensitive ion channels, and then on the drug they found that can block those same channels.

In this video, Tom talks in detail about the research and about Fred.

Peter Kohl

Dr. Kohl is a researcher at the University of Freiberg in Germany. He gives us a good overview of Fred’s place in the history of his branch of science, explaining that Fred both showed how mechano-sensitive ion worked – and then found a drug that blocked them.

Jeff Harvey

Jeff, whose grandson suffered from and eventually died from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, tells how he discovered Fred’s research and how they formed a company together and tried to bring Fred’s drug to market. 

Remi Peyronnet

Remi gives another perspective, as a younger scientist, who as he says, was not born when Fred’s first papers were published.

It meant a lot to Remi that Fred was easy to talk to, and also asked Remi great questions that made him think about science and life in different ways.

Lorin Milescu

Lorin talks about how he got involved with Fred’s research; how he started with both Fred and Tony Auerbach, but eventually landed on computational work with Fred.

(The audio does have some problems, but his appreciation for Fred comes through clearly.)

A Visit to Fred's Lab in 1988

This is a pretty crude home movie we made in 1988; without planning or rehearsal we walked into Fred’s lab and had him talk about his research. In spite of the low quality the video conveys a strong sense of Fred in his element and of his deep connection to the work.