Tony Secco is a busy family man and the vice-president (academic) at The University of New Brunswick
Most of Tony Secco’s life has been immersed in academia. His father was a chemistry professor at St. Francis Xavier University and he recalls an active boyhood growing up in and just outside of Antigonish.
He spent a lot of time hiking, canoeing, skating and playing hockey.
He met his wife, Loretta (Cameron) Secco while they were in Grade 10.
Years later, they married in 1979, the year after he earned a science degree from St. FX.
Secco spent a summer working for the National Research Council and then in September went on to the University of British Columbia and immediately started to work on a Ph.D. He worked his research time around his wife’s work schedule, he recalls.
“She was working as a nurse in Vancouver, so when she worked days, I worked days and when she worked nights, I worked nights, and days while she slept.”
With this intense research schedule, Secco managed to complete his Ph.D after three-and-a-half years, in 1982.
The Seccos then moved to Philadelphia, where he did post-doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania’s chemistry department. There he concentrated on crystallizing certain fragments of DNA in the search for structural anomalies.
“It was all designed to learn more about how DNA and proteins interact. We ended up sending stuff from one of the early experiments on the space shuttle,” he remembers.