Brad Reinfeld (M2)
October 26, 2016

As a part of the MSTP Physician Scientist Speaker Series, Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., Broad Institute cancer biologist and future Senior Global Oncology Vice President at Eli Lily, shared career advice with our program. Dr. Garraway emphasized the importance of high quality mentors for career development. From his perspective, great mentorship trumps great technology in terms of helping the trainee accomplish their goals. He attributes his success to having mentors who allowed him to do projects that were sufficiently interesting but also were practically possible. Garraway’s advice for future impactful physician scientists included developing a collegial atmosphere with your peers, learning how to lead teams, approaching one’s hobbies with the same type of intensity that one may apply to your career and cultivating a meaningful family life. He discussed that no Nature or Science paper will bring enough happiness to overcome issues at home.  Even though Dr. Garraway admits that the climate for science funding is less than ideal, he acknowledges that MD/PhDs are in a funding sweet spot. Given their medical training and access to the clinic, MD/PhDs understand the important questions to ask in a given field. Dr. Garraway encouraged students to take more unconventional paths to becoming leaders in academic medicine. For example, he faced much pushback when completing a chief residency year instead of working in the lab and writing grants. Now, years later, he views that experience as formative because it taught him how to lead big teams and work with a variety of personalities. As Dr. Garraway moves into a career in industry, he acknowledges that his academic success has allowed him to move up the corporate ladder without much experience in that arena. He supports MSTP students who ultimately move into nontraditional careers, however admits that once one stops seeing patients, there is little chance that one can return to the clinic in the future. Thank you to the Physician Scientist Speaker Series planning committee composed of Nick Harris (G3), Rachana Haliyur (G3), Katherine Konvinse (G2), and Melissa Krasnove for organizing Dr. Garraway's visit.