Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 22, 2020

The Life and Career of Dr. Constantine Stratakis

Constantine Stratakis is a physician-scientist specializing in endocrinology. His decorated career includes commitments to research, medicine, and treatment. To complement his busy professional endeavors, Constantine actively fuels his passions. Those passions include but are not limited to, collecting and creating wine, travel, and writing poetry. His passions explain why Dr. Stratakis decided to title his Endocrine-Related Cancer profile Joy and Discovery are Inseparable from Academic Commitment. The profile offers first-hand insight into how Dr. Stratakis stays connected to his professional purpose through leisure and vice versa.

Constantine’s Hidden Hobbies

For twenty-five years, Dr. Stratakis has operated an NIH-funded laboratory studying endocrine disorders. When he is not in the lab, Constantine indulges in several hobbies. One of these hobbies includes the study, collection, and creation of wine. For example, Dr. Stratakis operates an Instagram account solely devoted to his love of wine. Here, he shares his top picks from his decorated cellar. Constantine also discusses which of his wines pair best with specific occasions and how some of his collected wines compare.

While Constantine’s love of wine is hardly a secret, some of his other hobbies are not as well known. Among these lesser-known hobbies include poetry. In the first paragraph of Dr. Stratakis’s Endocrine-Related Cancer profile spotlight, he mentions that his exposure to the arts and the outdoors serves to “feed my [his] excitement with search and discovery in science, as well as provide unparalleled balance for soul and body.” Stratakis, who shares that he began writing poetry as a child, enjoys channeling his creativity through the arts, especially poetry. He complements writing poetry with running and the outdoors, where he uses his time exercising to mediate on upcoming manuscripts, protocols, and outlines.

Finding Joy in Work

Constantine writes in his profile about spending time at his summer house in Galaxidi, Greece, located off the Corinthian Gulf coast. During his summers, he became fascinated with nature and even began a rock collection. At the age of ten, Constantine used his first microscope to examine bugs. His uncle, a biochemist, had a laboratory in Cologne, Germany, that Constantine eventually visited. At his uncle’s laboratory, he began to see a future for himself in scientific research. That experience allowed him to reconcile his wonder for the world around him with an opportunity to discover its meaning and composition.

As a teenager, Constantine “was determined to be a biochemist or a biologist.” Yet his planning for the future did not stop there. After his first contact with medicine and endocrinology, he began to read more about hormones. Those readings helped him realize “that endocrinology offered everything that I was looking for: chemical substances that could be measured, synthesized, or used as therapies, cells that were regulating distant organs,” and etcetera. That curiosity inspired Constantine to enroll at the Medical University of the University of Athens (MSUAth). He later completed his pediatric residency at the Georgetown University Medical Center, located in the greater Washington D.C. area. Two years following his medical school graduation, Dr. Stratakis continued to pursue endocrinology research at his NIH-funded laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland.

His storytelling surrounding his summer house adventures, laboratory visits, and outdoor leisure demonstrates how Dr. Stratakis finds real joy in his work. His laboratory produced groundbreaking accomplishments in the study of endocrine disorders, such as identifying genes for Carney complex, bilateral adrenal hyperplasias, and gigantism. He takes pride in the laboratory’s alumni community, composed of former residents and fellows who still keep in close contact with the laboratory years after their departure. In sum, Constantine’s ability to stay connected to his passions through all aspects of his lifestyle, professionally and personally, help him continue to find joy in his academic commitments.

About Constantine Stratakis

Dr. Constantine Stratakis is a physician-scientist whose values of creativity, diversity, and innovation shine through many career facets. He opened a laboratory to study the genetics of endocrine tumors with various genetic syndromes in 1995. That laboratory receives funds from the intramural program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Health, and a series of small international grants. His laboratory encourages residents and fellows to continue their work in the health sciences long after they have worked under his supervision.

Dr. Stratakis earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical University of the University of Athens. After finishing his pediatrics residency at Georgetown University’s Medical Center, he completed two fellowships in Medical Genetics and Pediatric Endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health. As part of his research in the genetics of endocrine disorders, Dr. Stratakis continues to see and treat patients, and teach medical trainees and others in life sciences. Throughout his career, he has written over eight hundred publications and received many awards. He also served as the editor in chief of the Journal of Endocrine Genetics and the deputy editor of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a leading journal in endocrinology. Today he is co-Editor-in-Chief of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology and Hormone & Metabolic Research.

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