Our Lives, Our Laureates: Robert J. Lefkowitz

“A number of books I read featured doctors who were solving important problems. That always seemed interesting to me.”

Photo of Our Lives, Our Laureates: Robert J. Lefkowitz

“People have asked me in the past, ‘Did you have any heroes or role models as a child?’ and I often tell them I had three or four. It was a very eclectic group, including Mickey Mantle, who was a centerfielder for the New York Yankees; Woody Allen, the comedian; and Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond novels.

But the fourth one was the one that really stuck, and that was my family physician, a fella named Dr. Fibush who practiced family medicine in the Bronx and made house calls – he was the main role model, that inspired me as early as the third or fourth grade to declare quite categorically that I intended to be a physician.

MY FAMILY PHYSICIAN, A FELLA NAMED DR. FIBUSH WHO PRACTICED FAMILY MEDICINE IN THE BRONX AND MADE HOUSE CALLS – HE WAS THE MAIN ROLE MODEL, THAT INSPIRED ME AS EARLY AS THE THIRD OR FOURTH GRADE TO DECLARE QUITE CATEGORICALLY THAT I INTENDED TO BE A PHYSICIAN.

I remember, as a child, voraciously reading medical fiction, and I loved, in particular, to read novels where the doctor was the hero. In retrospect, a number of the ones that I read – books like Microbe Hunters – featured doctors who were sort of doing heroic research and solving important problems. That always seemed very interesting to me at the time.

Perhaps that was a clue to the fact that I would ultimately pursue a path not in clinical medicine, but in biomedical research.”

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