More personal information
Why did you decide to embark on a medical career?
I was fascinated in being able to help sick people, and curious about the wonder of man.
Does that run in the family?
No, there hadn’t been a physician in my family for 700 years.
Any formative moments in your studies?
At the transplantation center in Munich, I experienced that it was something special “to work with my hands”.
Your most pleasant memories?
Somewhere along the way, you come to realize that it’s great when you get a “thank you” from somebody you’ve helped. You will have been working for years with the rather vague idea that it means something to you. And then, that’s what happens, it’s wonderful. I was impressed by the high degree of academic freedom at the National Cancer Institute/NIH. That institute certainly became my second home.
What’s particularly important to you in life?
I want to be a good father for my children. And when I have to go, the world should be better than before I arrived.
What’s your definition of successful work?
We are successful when our work helps people escape death and disease, at least temporarily. Success means seeing people regain hope after it had been abandoned.
Where do you get all that energy for so much work?
Strength comes from knowing that I am doing the right thing – and from my patients’ eyes.
How about your nicest vacation?
My nicest vacation has always been my most recent one, and each I ever spent with my family.
What are you looking forward to in the distant future?
Grandchildren – and the chance to give more of my time to them …