What are your current research interests?
I am a clinical investigator with a focus in gastrointestinal oncology. My goal is to bring the best possible treatment to every patient that I see. To achieve this, I have a pulse on all the clinical trials we have here at the UFHCC. I also am an active member of the NRG cooperative group and the NCI Task Force for neuroendocrine tumors. This allows me to have a sense of trials in development, and to make sure we get the best trials here at UF.
My research interests include cholangiocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors. Currently, we are in the process of opening a clinical trial at the UFHCC which will study a PARP inhibitor in patients with refractory, progressive cholangiocarcinoma (among other cancers). I also have interest in palliative care and quality improvement. I am the co-PI, under the direction of Ray Moseley Ph.D., on an R01 submission involving looking at an e-advance directive to improve the advance care planning process. Additionally, I am a co-investigator on a dignity therapy project headed up by Carma Bylund, Ph.D.
How did you end up going into medicine?
Hoping to avoid sounding cliché but my profession chose me. I have always had gravitation towards the sciences along with an inquiring mind. Medicine is one of those professions for people who always ask the question “why?” While studying molecular biology in college, I was fascinated with cellular pathways and function. Along this same vein, I was equally intrigued when those same pathways went awry and led to carcinogenesis.
More important than cellular function and pathways, I was drawn to the patients who I care for. Their resolve, courage and strength is inspiring and humbling. I describe caring for patients with cancer as the ultimate human experience. There can be joy, sadness, despair, hope and fear during one 30-minute visit. I am blessed to be able to commit myself to meaningful work, and I am given so much in return by my patients.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’d like to say I have a bunch of hobbies, but I don’t. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Raena, my son, Eli, and our two rescue dogs, Lucy and Buddy. My family and friends are everything to me. I also enjoy exercising and trying to fix things around the house — operative word is “trying.”