Why did you choose to become a clinician scientist?
“I wasn’t thinking straight! (laughs) Jokes aside, I believe that we do the things we do because of circumstances and who we meet in life. When I started surgical training, I was encouraged by Prof Soo Khee Chee (who is still my boss at National Cancer Centre Singapore) to get involved in research. The philosophy was that research makes a more complete surgeon, which I agree. I soon found that I loved the challenge. However, it was much later that I decided to apply to be a nationally funded Clinician Scientist. I was a late starter. This only happened when I was already a senior consultant surgeon, completed my PhD and chaired four multi-centre trials.”
What challenges do you have to overcome?
“Many would think the biggest challenge is the science. However, the real challenge is logistics and a system not created for academic research. We overcome them with humour, I guess! And with the help of many allies. The real trick is “convergence” – to have clinical work, research and teaching in the same area so that there is synergy. Although I have been trained to perform other types of surgery, I mainly focus on liver cancer and Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary surgery. My research also focuses only on the liver, although my research spectrum is unusual because it spans both bench work and clinical trials.”
Prof Pierce Chow Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore Senior Clinician Scientist, National Medical Research Council, Singapore
Tags: Doctor, Research
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