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James Toouli is currently Head of the Department of General and Digestive Surgery, Flinders Medical Center, Adelaide, Australia. He is also Senior Director of the Gastrointestinal Surgical Unit, and Head of the Hepatopancreatobiliary Unit at the same institution. In addition, he has been Head of General Surgery at the Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, Australia, since 1996.
Professor Toouli completed his graduate training at the Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. He also completed his PhD at this university in 1979, on 'Treatment of Cholesterol Gallstones'.
After graduation, he went on to work at the Alfred and Prince Henry's Hospitals, Melbourne. In 1975 he took a surgical registrar position at the Prince Henry's Hospital, and then later became a Senior Surgical Registrar at the Flinders Medical Center and the Glasgow Royal infirmary, Scotland.
In 1983, Professor Toouli became a Lecturer in Surgery at the Flinders University. Here he went on to become an Associate Professor (1986-1989) and Professor (1989-present) in Surgery. Other positions have included being a Professeur Associé at the University of Nice, France (1994-1995), a RACS College Professor of Surgical Science (1995-present), and Head of Gastroenterological Services, Flinders Medical Center (1995-1998).
Professor Toouli is a member of the Victorian Medical Board, the South Australian Medical Board, and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
He is a member of more than ten societies, including the Surgical Research Society, the AGA, Gastroenterological Society of Australia, and the World Association of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgery.
Professor Toouli supervises 23 postgraduate students.
He has authored 5 books, 65 book chapters, a CD-ROM, 17 invited reviews, 155 abstracts, 23 press abstracts, and numerous other articles in reviewed journals. He has also been an invited speaker at 118 national and international conferences and 25 local meetings.
Professor Toouli has given a number of named lectureships. He has been involved in numerous local, national, and international committees, including those of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Asian Pacific Association of Gastroenterology, and OMGE.
He is currently on the editorial boards of 11 journals, including the European Journal of Surgery, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and Digestive Surgery.
Professor Toouli is married to Helen Olga and they have two children, Christian Damian and Sara Julia.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- I am a gastroenterological surgeon, which in my view is the most rewarding subspecialty of gastroenterology. Not only do I deal with problems of interest, but often have the privilege of rendering treatment that permanently cure people. My interest in GI surgery stemmed from an interest on the physiology of the biliary system. This led me to a research period that naturally flowed into the specialty of GI surgery.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- The first person to have an impact on me was the Professor of Surgery at Monash University - Professor Hugh Dudley. I admired his deductive skills, his brilliant mind, and his enthusiasm for research. Next came my mentor and teacher in surgery, Jim Watts, who has certainly influenced my career and thinking. Towards the end of my full time research period I was fortunate to meet and work with Jerry Dodds, a GI radiologist in Milwaukee. Jerry was a remarkable individual whom I admired immensely. He was one of the most scientifically honest people; a brilliant mind, and he fuelled my ongoing interest in GI motility.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- Boyden's anatomical studies on the Sphincter of Oddi. His papers on the comparative anatomy of the Sphincter of Oddi helped me understand the physiology and pathophysiology of the sphincter.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- The manometric description of Spincter of Oddi dysfunction with the supporting data which led to treatment of this entity.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- In research it is our current endeavor, which is to define the trigger mechanisms for the production of acute pancreatitis.
- What is your greatest regret?
- Not having started our pancreatitis research earlier. We have only been concentrating in this area for the last 3 years.
- How do you relax?
- Playing tennis, going to live theatre, and I enjoy dining with a fine Australian wine from the McLaren Vale or Coonawarra regions of South Australia.
- What is your favorite sport?
- It is a toss up between tennis and Australian Rules football.
- What is your best place in the world?
- The Australian Barrier Reef and the numerous islands of the reef.
- What is your favorite film?
- "Zorba the Greek".
- What car do you drive?
- BMW 5 series.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- My handheld organizer.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- An interesting historically based book on Russia.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- The concept is exciting and uses modern technology to explore the boundaries of communication. I have a major interest in postgraduate education and see this as an extension of that interest.