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NicholasLa Russo

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Nicholas LaRusso was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He graduated from Brooklyn Preparatory school and received his BSc in Biology from Boston College, where he graduated magna cum laude. He received his MD from the New York Medical College in 1969.

Dr LaRusso joined the staff at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, after an internship in internal medicine at the Metropolitan Hospital Medical Center in New York. He has remained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for his entire professional career.

At the Mayo Medical School, Dr LaRusso became an instructor in medicine (1975); Assistant Professor of Medicine (1977); Associate Professor of Medicine (1981); Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (1984); Professor of Medicine (1985), and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (1992).

Prior to his appointment as Chair of Internal Medicine in 1999, he was the Chair of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the Director of Basic Research in Digestive Diseases at the Clinic.

Dr. LaRusso’s research program is focused on regulatory aspects of digestion and transport in liver cells. His experimental approach has been to apply the fundamental concepts and broad technology of cell and molecular biology to this area. This has helped him to understand how liver cells process endrogenous and exogeneous substances. It has also helped him to relate these observations, mechanistically, to important physiologic and pathophysiologic situations.

In recognition of his contributions, he has received a number of honors, including the Medical Student Externship Award, the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Department of Medicine, for Outstanding Performance in Internal Medicine, and the J. Arnold Bargen Award for Outstanding Performance in Gastroenterology. He has also received the Donald C. Balfour Award for Meritorious Research, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the New York Medical College Alumni Association, the MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, and the Medal of Honor from the New York Medical College Alumni Association.

Dr. LaRusso has served on numerous intramural and extramural committees, as well as nine Editorial Boards for peer-reviewed national and international journals.

He has served as mentor to 40 post-doctoral research fellows and 11 SURF students at the Mayo Clinic.

What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
I was enormously impressed by the role models available to me (Bill Summerskill, Lloyd Barthalomew, Sidney Phillips, and Allan Hoffman) and the importance of understanding GI physiology and it’s relationship to GI disease. Moreover, I was particularly intrigued by the spectrum of functions performed by the liver.
Who were the teachers you admired the most?
Allan Hoffman, Doug McGill, and Bill Summerskill.
What is the most important facts that you have discovered?
The importance of biliary epithethia to normal and abnormal liver function.
What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
Not maintaining my endoscopy skills.
What is your unfulfilled ambition
To speak Italian fluently.
What is your greatest regret?
Never having learned to ride a motorcycle.
How do you relax?
Running, reading, playing golf, and meditating.
What is your favorite sport?
Long distance running and golf.
What is your best place in the world?
With my children.
What is your favorite films?
"The Godfather" and "Cinema Paradiso".
What car do you drive?
A Subaru Station Wagon.
What is your best electronic 'toy'?
My computer.
What book are you reading at the moment?
A collection of essays by Woody Allen.
Why did you get in involved in
Because I was invited to participate.

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