Simon Beshara (Rodney W.J. Seyffert Award) on the value of a physician-scientist approach to healing

CST Graduate Award winner Simon Beshara

When asked about his future in medicine, Simon emphasizes the importance of being both a physician and a scientist; “Classically, academia and medicine have been on two different tracks: You had people who went into treating people based on what we know, and you had people who dedicated their lives to helping us know more.  As medicine and research evolved, we realized that we need people to do both because it’s those practitioners who see what people need who are the ones best placed to find where we can go next.  So, there’s a big push for this sort of physician-scientist balance.”  

While completing his PhD at McMaster University, Simon focused on improving neuroplasticity within the brain, so it can recover from things like stroke, trauma, and much more. Now, with the help of his Rodney W.J. Seyffert Award from the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, he has entered medical school where he plans to advance that research to bridge the gap between cutting edge research in neuroplasticity and therapies available for patients. He explains, “You're in the clinic, you're taking care of patients, so you're on the front row  seeing what's needed, but by night, you're in the lab and you're trying to find out, what's the next step, what's the new molecule, what's the new drug, what's the new treatment that can change the way that you’re going to go back to the clinic and treat people.”

On the potential impact of his work he explains, “You get to help the immediate circle of patients you're working on, but then generations forward, you're helping a lot more people when you come up with new discoveries.”  To close, Simon has this to say about knowledge and wisdom, “The more I research and advance my practice, the more I realize what is still unknown. Being wise is understanding there is always something more to learn.”