Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow and President, Steven Smith, MD, FTOS:
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am the Chief Scientific Officer at Florida Hospital Research Services. I am also a Professor at the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Lake Nona Campus) and the founding Scientific Director of the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes at Florida Hospital (Orlando).
Q: What is your educational background?
A: I received my BS in Psychology at the University of Texas (Arlington) and then went on to get my MD at the University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio). Next I completed a residency in internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center (Dallas) and a fellowship in Endocrinology at the Ochsner Clinic (New Orleans).
Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory.
A: We perform clinical and translational science to better understand the causes, consequences and novel treatments for people with obesity. These studies focus on human metabolism but also start in animal and cell models and bridge over into medical practice.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: Tenacity. If you believe an approach, project or idea is right, then don't give up.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Balance the portfolio. Not every project has to be groundbreaking with a high impact. There is a need for incremental science but not the entire portfolio. Keep a couple of high risk, high yield projects in play.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: It is so amazing to me that there are new hormones discovered every day that impact body weight through central and peripheral control systems. We knew 20 years ago that there was a lot we did not know, but wow, we never imagined the richness of these discoveries. The next 20 years will likely be the same!
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: Spend casual time with my family, take long walks (wherever I am), read (for fun) and cruise with an open-top convertible in the Florida sunshine!