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Faculty Focus: Rory Fisher, PhD

Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Rory Fischer, PhDWhat is your hometown?

Rockford, Illinois

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

Growing up as a child, my interest in nature and science was kindled by my mother, who gave me Life Science and Life Nature books and encouraged me to watch shows about these topics, including the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau series. As a result, I went to Texas A&M University as an undergraduate intending to study marine science.

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?

August 1987

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

While a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center, I saw an ad posted on the Biochemistry bulletin board for faculty positions at Iowa. Being from the Midwest and having attended graduate school at Iowa State University, I was familiar with the University of Iowa. In addition, we liked the Midwest and its four seasons, and its proximity to family in Illinois and recreation in Wisconsin.  I decided to join the faculty after visiting and learning more about the facilities and faculty.

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

My junior high geometry teacher had a remarkable way of teaching problem-solving skills. My PhD advisor told me that being a faculty member at a research institution was “the best job in the world.”  Though I doubted this at the time, it proved to be mostly true.

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

First to serve as a teacher, mentor, and advocate for students and trainees. As a leader of a research group, to train the next generation of researchers while making a significant impact in understanding the role of RGS proteins in health and disease.

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

The revolution in molecular biology and information technology has impacted our research field and most others dramatically.

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

Experiment! There is nothing quite as fulfilling as discovering something new as a result an experiment you conceived, designed, performed, and analyzed. In addition, I would advise students to believe they can make major discoveries that impact the field as much as anyone else can.

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.)?

My outside professional activities have included service on study sections, talking at other institutions, organizing minisymposia, and serving as editor for two books on RGS proteins.

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

Spending time with my family and dogs, boating and fishing in Wisconsin, exercising, listening to music, and following my favorite collegiate and professional sports teams.

Learn more about Rory Fisher, PhD