Faculty Focus: Matthew Krasowski, MD, PhD

Date: Monday, August 20, 2018

Matthew KrasowskiWhat is your hometown?

Minneapolis, MN

How/when did you become interested in science and/or medicine?

I was interested in science and math at an early age and especially liked chemistry. Both of my parents are registered nurses, with my father working in psychiatry and my mother in health education while I was growing up. I originally thought about graduate school in a scientific field but decided on medical school midway through college. I ultimately did a combined MD/PhD program at the University of Chicago, with my PhD in neurobiology.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

July 2009

How or why did you choose to join the faculty at the University of Iowa?

I learned about the University of Iowa when I was looking at residency programs and really liked the medical center and the city, although I ultimately stayed in Chicago for residency and fellowship. In 2008, I was looking for a pathology faculty position with a clinician/educator focus, and a position was available at University of Iowa. I really enjoy medical school teaching and was excited that the department had a strong role in medical student education.  I was also impressed with the collegiality and collaboration at the medical center and within the pathology department.  As an added bonus, Iowa City also has the advantage of being within driving distance of my parents and my wife’s parents.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

I have had a number of teachers who inspired me in high school, college, and medical school. My PhD advisor (Neil Harrison) and my research advisor as a research technologist (Ed Cook) taught me a lot about how to pursue research and publish.  Ronald McLawhon introduced me to clinical chemistry and laboratory management. I have followed a similar career path to him and still consult him when I encounter really difficult management issues. Nancy Rosenthal has been a great mentor for medical student and resident teaching along with how to mentor others. My current chairman (Nitin Karandikar) also provides ongoing mentorship.

How do you see your faculty role impacting medicine and/or science?

I spend a lot of time on medical student and resident education, which I really enjoy. I especially like to teach the value of laboratory medicine to medical students. It is estimated that laboratory test results influence approximately 70% of patient care decisions. However, there are many factors that can affect laboratory test results or their interpretation. I feel that pathologists provide a unique perspective in seeing a lot of the issues that happen behind-the-scenes to impact patient care.

I’ve enjoyed working on laboratory medicine research that has direct practical relevance. An example was research we did looking at the common practice of “drawing the rainbow” of blood tubes on patients independent of the particular tests being ordered. We found that this practice is often wasteful and contributes to unnecessary patient blood loss and discomfort. We’re also working on research to define reference ranges for laboratory tests in the transgender patient population, an area where there has been very little detailed work done.

What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?

Two changes of equal magnitude are the technologic advances in computer/informatics and genomics. Both have heavily impacted pathology.

What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?

Learn about and appreciate the ‘behind-the-scenes’ services like pathology that are critical in healthcare. Excellent patient care depends on many factors that are often invisible to patients and healthcare providers.

In what ways are you engaged in professional activities outside the University (i.e. population based research, mentoring high school students, sharing your leadership/ expertise with organizations or causes, speaking engagement off campus, etc.)?

I am involved in multiple pathology organizations and often give seminars or training courses. I especially enjoy speaking on drugs of abuse/toxicology testing, an area of pathology that is complicated and often misunderstood by healthcare professionals, patients, and the general public.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

Spending time with my wife, 3 daughters, and pets. I also enjoy college athletics and reading.