From Academia to Government to Industry: A Strange Journey and Its Lessons.
J Am Coll Radiol. 2018 Jan;15(1 Pt A):112-113.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2017.08.032. Epub 2017 Oct 19. Zerhouni E1, Fishman EK2, Horton KM2, Sheth S3.
Today I will share with you lessons I learned along my “strange journey” from academia to government to industry. I did not plan this journey; it unfolded through opportunities, accidents, and people who crossed my path.
Growing up in Algeria, I shared my father’s passion for math and physics, whereas my self-taught mother instilled in me her admiration for research and science. Witnessing human suffering during a trip to the mountains of Algeria, I chose a career in medicine but disliked its rote and recipe-style learning. In 1973, after seeing an image from a CT scan, I realized that a career in radiology would allow me to combine my love of math, physics, and biology. Through a connection between the dean of my medical school in Algiers and Russell Morgan, MD, chairman of radiology at Johns Hopkins, I secured a scholarship to Johns Hopkins and arrived in Baltimore in December 1975 with my new wife, at the age of 24. When a radiology residency slot unexpectedly opened in the department, I was given my first opportunity in this country. The first lesson I learned at Johns Hopkins was that to become a respected researcher, you need to pursue clinical excellence. While at Hopkins and later in private practice in Virginia, my first foray into quantitative biology was research on quantitative densitometry of lung nodules and masses detected on CT.