Boris Blechacz, M.D., Ph.D.
What attracted you to gastroenterology?
"My interest in gastroenterology and hepatology stems back to my training days in medical school at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. My doctoral thesis further strengthened this interest and led to my decision to pursue a career in gastroenterology. While my main interest lies in hepatobiliary malignancies, I found great interest in the wide spectrum of other gastroenterologic diseases. The pathophysiology of gastrointestinal diseases; the multispecialty aspect of their diagnosis and management; as well as the combination of intellectual problem-solving with procedural work are highly appealing."
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
"During my post-doctoral fellowship in molecular medicine, I already experienced Mayo Clinic as a unique place. The opportunity to be trained by and work with internationally renowned experts in a wide variety of different fields of gastroenterology is exceptional. Furthermore, Mayo Clinic encourages and supports academic interests in an unparalleled manner. These aspects, as well as the friendly work environment, and its national as well as international reputation contributed to my decision to continue my training at Mayo Clinic."
What makes the Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology Fellowship unique?
The Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology fellowship program is a highly evolved and structured training program. Its commitment to fellow education is outstanding. The gastroenterology fellowship provides an outstanding preparation for every aspect of future practice – academically, as well as clinically. Fellows are trained by world leaders in their respective fields. We have direct one-on-one interaction with these experts; and their approachability and willingness to help and support fellows is outstanding. There is an extremely high level of support for academic interests in the field of basic, clinical and educational research."
Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
"Coming from a European academic system, I was surprised at the positive motivational atmosphere created by Mayo Clinic staff physicians. Also, the support system within the clinic and the research areas, including core facilities and ancillary staff, was a pleasant surprise, serving to make Mayo Clinic highly efficient. Within the clinical system, the efficiency and timely patient care are hallmarks of Mayo Clinic. Within the research system, the scope of research fields, support and available resources are outstanding."
What is living in Rochester like for you?
"Rochester is the perfect place to live for trainees and families. It is characterized by low costs, low crime and the friendliness of its inhabitants. Its low cost of living, cozy atmosphere and the proximity of places within the city make it a very comfortable and convenient place to live. In addition, the Twin Cities are close and offer a great variety of cultural, culinary and leisure opportunities."
What does your future look like right now?
"As I am enrolled in the seven-year research pathway, my training will be completed in 2011. My future goal is to continue an academic career in research, both basic science and translational research, and clinical work in the field of gastroenterologic and hepatobiliary malignancies. I am confident that my training at Mayo Clinic will have prepared me well for succeeding in my goals."