I was raised in a middle-class family in West Texas and was lucky in my preparation through high school faculty, short government programs arising from the politics of Sputnik, inspiring high school mentors, and university training at a first-rate institution. My educational background led me to apply to medical school. With some financial aid, I managed to graduate and then obtain a first-class internal medicine residency at Parkland Hospital, where I acquired skills in discerning evaluation and treatment of patients with complicated diseases. In spite of a liking for and ability in clinical medicine, I entered the Public Health Service and worked for 5 years at the National Institutes of Health laboratory in Panama; there, I began to see the fascination of ecological impacts on virus transmission in nature and its spillover into human populations. I shifted my interests to these themes and their interaction with viral pathogenesis. At each stage of my career, I picked an institution to work where there were strong leaders and other inspiring scientists. I think the young scientist should choose the best available institution and one that offers a career direction that leads to a life where he or she awakens and cannot wait to arrive at his or her job—regardless of the details of each choice, the outcome will be a satisfied person who will contribute greatly to his or her chosen field.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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