NSTMF
Biological Sciences

Our Lives, Our Laureates: Robert J. Lefkowitz

“A number of books I read featured doctors who were solving important problems. That always seemed interesting to me.”
"People have asked me in the past, 'Did you have any heroes or role models as a child?' and I often tell them I had three or four. It was a very eclectic group, including Mickey Mantle, who was a centerfielder for the New York Yankees; Woody Allen, the comedian; and Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond novels.

But the fourth one was the one that really stuck, and that was my family physician, a fella named Dr. Fibush who practiced family medicine in the Bronx and made house calls – he was the main role model, that inspired me as early as the third or fourth grade to declare quite categorically that I intended to be a physician. 

My family physician, a fella named Dr. Fibush who practiced family medicine in the Bronx and made house calls – he was the main role model, that inspired me as early as the third or fourth grade to declare quite categorically that I intended to be a physician. 

I remember, as a child, voraciously reading medical fiction, and I loved, in particular, to read novels where the doctor was the hero. In retrospect, a number of the ones that I read – books like Microbe Hunters – featured doctors who were sort of doing heroic research and solving important problems. That always seemed very interesting to me at the time.

Perhaps that was a clue to the fact that I would ultimately pursue a path not in clinical medicine, but in biomedical research."