A conversation with Dr. Jaroslaw Aronowski, Professor, University of Texas HSC at Houston, McGovern Medical School, Department of Neurology, Vice Chair for Research, Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Chair in Neurology, and 2017 recipient of the Thomas Willis Award for his work on acute cerebral ischemia, intracerebral hemorrhage, and neuroinflammation, in recognition of National Stroke Awareness Month.
Interviewed by Dr. Alexis N. Simpkins, Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Florida School of Medicine.
They will be discussing Dr. Aronowski’s career path and research, including his advice to young researchers and clinicians working in the field of stroke.
Dr. Simpkins: What drew you to the field of stroke and research early in your career?
Dr. Aronowski: Since my childhood, I was fascinated by the brain and by the complexity involved in how it works. My first steps with neuroscience were to work on opioids and mechanisms associated with opioid dependence. On this topic, over 30 years ago, we demonstrated that there could be a cross talk between the immune system and CNS that drives opioid dependency. It was rather unorthodox to connect CNS with the immune system these days. Looking back, it was an amazing environment at the University of Texas in Houston that triggered my interest and curiosity about stroke. This is primarily because of Jim Grotta, who just started developing his Stroke Program at UT. Together, with Grotta, about 30 years ago, I started to build my journey and adventure with translational stroke. All this happened during exciting days when we (the stroke community) have just started to investigate ideas that rt-PA could be used to treat stroke. Another important stimulus for me was daily interactions with many bright stroke fellows who rotated in the basic research lab and who brought great amount of energy, curiosity and translational value to the animal research as a model to test novel treatments for stroke. Lewis Morgenstern (later faculty in the department) was particularly an important contributor to my future interest in the pathogenesis of ICH.