Donald Seldin from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School joins the JCI for its Conversations with Giants in Medicine. Seldin served as the chairman of medicine at UT Southwestern for nearly four decades and transformed the department and the school from a grouping of ramshackle army barracks to a world-class medical center, host to Nobel Laureates and members of the national academies. He was also a major figure in the emergence of nephrology as a legitimate discipline, and in this role he was one of the founders of the American Society of Nephrology and served as its second president. Among his many attributes, Seldin has been described as one of the most magnetic and charismatic mentors academic medicine has encountered.
Dr. Tadataka “Tachi” Yamada joins us for our next Conversations with Giants in Medicine. Born in Japan and trained in the United States as a gastroenterologist, he quickly rose to be the chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. He moved to industry and eventually became the Chairman of Research and Development for GlaxoSmithKline. In the next step in his interesting career, he took on the presidency of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program. In this capacity, he oversaw over $9,000,000,000 in programs directed at addressing health challenges of the developing world. In 2011, Dr. Yamada moved on to become the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer (CMSO) and Executive Vice President of Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
Known to most of his friends as Holly, Dr. Lloyd Hollingsworth Smith Jr. joins Ushma Neill, JCI Editor at Large, for the next in the journal's series Conversations with Giants in Medicine. He talks about leading the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Medicine as its Chairman for 21 years. During his tenure, Dr. Smith transformed the department into the preeminent West Coast medical school with the highest standards in patient care, teaching, and research. He talks about his early days training in Boston, and about his experiences getting the first artificial kidney to work, both in the hospital and in the Korean War.
Three of medicine’s most charismatic giants (Robert Lefkowitz, Joseph Goldstein, and Michael Brown) interview each other. Lefkowitz (Duke University) is known for his seminal discoveries in understanding G protein-coupled receptor function. The legendary partnership between Brown and Goldstein (University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center) has spanned four decades. Together they were awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine acknowledging their discovery of the LDL cholesterol receptor and its role in the regulation of cholesterol metabolism. Together, they talk about their beginnings in science, where they got their scientific inspiration, how to be a good mentor, and how to deal with scientific celebrity.
For the first of our series Conversations with Giants in Medicine, we spoke with Harold E. Varmus, MD, who has been the director of the National Cancer Institute since July 2010. He has previously served as director of the National Institutes of Health (1993–1999) and as president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (2000–2010). Among his many awards, Dr. Varmus was awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine together with J. Michael Bishop in recognition of their discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes.