Luis G. Rodriguez Cartagena

Why did you choose research as a career?

As development of novel technology and achievement of scientific breakthroughs are gradually becoming the norm in modern medicine, the physician's role has inadvertently evolved. Nowadays, a physician must maintain a scientific and analytical mindset to critically evaluate new discoveries, with the ultimate goal of translating them to the clinical setting.

During my preclinical years in medicine, I realized how crucial a symbiotic relationship between research and patient care is in modern medicine. For this reason, I chose to pursue a career in research that allows me to broaden my understanding of today's challenges in medicine and ultimately contribute to the efforts of improving the quality of patient care.

What attracted you to Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences?

Mayo Clinic's commitment of providing every patient with the best care through the integration of clinical practice, education and research has positioned Mayo Clinic as a world-renowned academic medical center.

During the summer of my first year of medical school, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct research at Mayo Clinic. This experience served as an introduction to the incredible facilities, resources and faculty that Mayo Clinic has, which influenced my decision to pursue a master's degree at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Why did you choose the clinical and translational science track?

As a future health care professional, I aspire to become a proficient clinician-scientist who holds patient care as the utmost important factor in clinical practice. To achieve this, I believe training in research will seamlessly complement my knowledge in medicine and provide me with the necessary skills to improve the quality of care I will offer to my patients.

I chose the clinical and translational science track because it offers me an academic setting that exposes me to fundamental aspects of research — such as clinical statistics and epidemiology — while allowing me to apply learned concepts to a high-quality research project in my field of interest.

What do you like about Rochester?

One would think that having an institution like Mayo Clinic as the beating heart of a small town in the Midwest would have great influence in the people living in it. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that, in fact, it is the other way around. Rochester's small-town feel and the immense politeness of all its citizens is what has shaped Mayo Clinic to what it is today.

Furthermore, Rochester's active and lively environment keeps free time interesting. Personally, I enjoy long-distance running on the various trails. Also, the social atmosphere and variety of restaurants make downtown Rochester a great place for work and play.

What are your plans for the future?

After completing my combined M.D.-M.S. degree, I plan to apply to a residency program in general surgery. Furthermore, my interests in cardiology and pediatric surgery will certainly influence my fellowship decisions in the future. Ideally, I would like to practice at an institution that allows me to realize my potential as a physician and researcher.