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Barry Coller, MD: Why I Chose Hematology

American Society of Hematology President - 1998
Vice President for Medical Affairs and Physician-in-Chief, David Rockefeller Professor of Medicine, Head of Allen and Frances Adler Laboratory of Blood and Vascular Biology
The Rockefeller University, New York, NY


Q: When was the moment you chose hematology?

A: When I was a fourth year medical student at N.Y.U. I cared for a patient with severe aphasia due to a thromboembolic stroke from an artificial valve. A recent study suggested that platelets may contribute to the process and so I wrote to Dr. Richard Gorlin, the senior author, about the drug used in the study, dipyridamole. He kindly wrote back that we needed to learn more about how platelets adhere and aggregate, and that led me to a research elective with Dr. Marjorie Zucker, one of the great platelet physiologists. That's when I got hooked!

Q: Why do you think it is important for people to get involved in this field?

A: It is rewarding and beneficial to society.

Q: In your experience, what is the most difficult or challenging aspect of becoming a hematologist in the United States?

A: It requires a long time to develop expertise and it is repeatedly ego deflating!

Q: How do you feel advances in technology (recent or past) have helped you along the way, be it in your studies or in general practice?

A: Technology drives everything, which is why it is so exciting. Each day new technology makes it possible to do better research and deliver better care.

Q: What do you find to be most rewarding about a career in hematology research?

A: The ability to merge science and humanism to help people. The ability to teach the next generation of hematologists.

Q: Finally, what advice might you have for a younger person who will be pursuing a career in this field?

A: Go for it! It is the greatest!

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