The Upper Hand: Chuck & Chris Talk Hand Surgery

Chuck and Chris Welcome Farsh Guilak

July 24, 2022 Chuck and Chris Season 3 Episode 28
The Upper Hand: Chuck & Chris Talk Hand Surgery
Chuck and Chris Welcome Farsh Guilak
Show Notes Transcript

Season 3, Episode 28.  Chuck and Chris welcome Farshid Guilak to discuss his remarkable research career and his approach to leadership, mentorship, and change.  This fun and interesting discussion of topics is certain to be of interest.  Farsh has a remarkable recor of research success (the only 3 time winner of the Kappa Delta Award) and built a thriving lab through supportive leadership and mentorship.   We discuss these topics and more (work- life balance and generational differences)

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Chris Dy:

Welcome to the upper hand podcast where Chuck and Chris talk Hand Surgery. We are two hand surgeons at Washington University in St. Louis here to talk about all things hand surgery related from technical to personal. Please subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts. And thank you in advance for leaving a review and leaving a rating wherever you get your podcasts.

Charles A. Goldfarb:

Oh, hey Chris.

Chris Dy:

Hey, Chuck, how are you? I'm doing well on this fine Sunday morning. How are you? It's fine. It's a rainy rainy Sunday in St. Louis. I did not look at the weather when I planned out what I was going to cook today. So I'm hoping the weather gods allow me to get on my grill today. Because otherwise it'll I'll just have to make some adjustments. Always thinking about food. I know how it works. What, what other food items have been of interest to you lately? Well, so interestingly enough, my wife and I went out on a date let date night last night and I will say I was not satisfied with the dessert that I had at the restaurant. It was some abomination of Tressler Chase. And my wife told me I was throwing a fit. She literally said you're throwing a fit, you need to stop. And I was like, this is not true. Delicious. It's not so true. Like it was it was awful. So then I was like, We need to get dessert somewhere else. So we went to one of our favorite ice cream shops a local place in St. Louis called Clementines Creamery, which I remember when they first opened in a different location. And we went there the first time they opened and they just opened so they were literally serving into like these like paper bowls you would get at Costco. And the smallest little scoops you've ever seen it was $8. So they've adjusted their bottle, they're flourishing now they've got a nice shop in the demand region of Clayton, and incredibly busy on a Saturday night. I think I was like 930 or 10. By the time we got their line out the door, and we're in the line, and we're ordering our ice cream. And I looked at Tiffany I was like that. That looks a little bit like Kylie Goldfarb. She had a mask on and everything. I was like, no, no, there's no way. So I get my order my ice cream and everything. And then this very kind young woman has my ice cream and says, Dr. Dy, right? I was like, oh god, is this a patient? She's like, She means like, Kylie Goldfarb was like no way I just told I just told my wife that I thought that was you. So then obviously we snapped a selfie and sent it to you, Chuck.

Charles Goldfarb:

I love it. You know, I tried to get my kids employed.

Chris Dy:

And Kylie has worked as your second summer working at clementines, which really is a remarkable institution that you know, is really growing by leaps and bounds. Couple other fun facts one Kylie may make more money than you or I make. It is unbelievable how well they do there. And to the date of recording, which is July 17. Is National Ice Cream day. So Kylie is working again today because they're expecting a surge of visitors. That's fantastic. Well, you know, the ice cream is fantastic there. They are they one of those places that does like the boozy kind of ice creams too. But I really want to know is what are the take home perks of having your daughter work clementines?

Unknown:

There are occasionally some if we visit, sometimes we pay a little less but then my wife says we gotta give him a bigger tip. And sometimes she'll bring something home for so you know, she's getting stronger scooping ice cream all day is no easy to ask. Yeah, it detects the last night saying there was no other side risk paint going on at that. At that Creamery. I will say you know, it's it must be a nice discount because I mean, the pilots are like $18 apiece, something crazy little inflated, but if they're doing something right, speaking of doing something, right, we have a special guest today and I will give a very brief introduction because if I gave a long introduction, that would be the podcast. But we are lucky to have Farsh Guilak joining us today. That will be a name that is not familiar to many of our listeners. But we are excited that Farsh is with us. He is the Mildred Simon professor of orthopedic surgery. He is also the director of research at the Shriners Hospital and he is a basic scientist who is doing really interesting work is an influencer as a podcaster or at least a guest on podcast and so I'm so happy to welcome farsh to our show. So thank you so much for having me. It's very very exciting to be here and I loved hearing about the ice cream like my wife came from an ice cream family or her parents ran a series of Carvel stores in New York so we had the real in especially our our kids, their grandkids had the run of the store whenever we went there. Ice cream is very important. I do love a Carvel cake man. I'm not gonna lie. That is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I have not had one. Well cookie crumbles situation on there. So good, so good.

Chris Dy:

So Farsch, she has a lot to share with us and we're gonna do a little background conversation and then we'll jump into some interesting things. And I think for for any hand surgeons or trainees or therapists who are wondering, do I really want to continue? I think you do, I think you will learn something interesting. And maybe take away some pearls that impact your daily life. So stay with us. And Farsh, so I let me tell you, let me tell you one reason to listen. This is this man, or one of his many, many mentees slash disciples, they're going to cure arthritis. And it's going to be crazy. And we're going to put a lot of our arthroplasty colleagues out of business, and they're gonna be really sad. But everybody's gonna be really happy that first one is team have cured arthritis. So that is your teaser. And the other one, I'll say, and we'll get to this is that he has won the Kappa Delta award from the Academy slash ORS three times. That's like winning the WWF Championship three times like 10 years apart. It's like the Michael Phelps of orthopedic research. So this, this is an amazing, amazing researcher. And most I mean, honestly, I had the most fun getting to know him during residency interviews a few years ago, that was an incredible day. And we spent the day together in my office and just interviewing people. And that was some of the most fun I've had doing that. That's one of the reasons why it's so nice to interview with your colleagues who you would not have otherwise met so far. Thank you for joining us. I'm excited to hear about your journey and what you can share with our audience.

Unknown:

Oh, absolutely.

Chris Dy:

So I have to, you know, we try to share a little bit about ourselves as far as we do this podcast, and I'm a basketball lover. I don't know if you love basketball. I know you're an accomplished racquetball player. And hopefully we'll get to that. But as Chris was talking about your three kappa deltas, all I could see was Steph Curry playing basketball. When he hits a three, he does the 123. So I'm thinking about that. I'm not sure you're doing that at home. But I like the visual.

Unknown:

No, no, I haven't done that. They're spaced far enough apart that it wasn't even thinking about.

Charles Goldfarb:

All right, so let's do some quick background work. So did you grow up in New York, you you went to RPI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which I know well, but you know, some may not.

Unknown:

I grew up in Houston, Texas. So I was actually born in Iran. My parents were both physicians. And they ended up moving in 1970, to Houston, to work at Baylor. And they soon went into private practice after that there were physicians who wanted to be scientists, but the opportunities weren't quite there. So I grew up in Houston. And then I went off to upstate New York about 100 degree temperature difference, and then to Columbia after that.

Charles Goldfarb:

And what was it your parents who sort of set you on the path of science and discovery? Or was that something you picked up on your own along the way? Or did you have influential mentors at RPI, or Columbia?

Unknown:

I think all of those and, you know, for all of us who are either in science or medicine, you're just born with it. And you know, we I think both my brother who's my older brother was an engineer, and I knew we were gonna be science or medicine, people growing up, and I was, of course, surrounded by medicine, and I worked in my parents offices, and I was headed to the medical track, and I was actually pre med, get all the classes took the MCAT. And I just couldn't decide research or, or medicine or both. And I thought, Okay, I'll just go do a master's degree and learn about research. And then here I am, I just went straight through after that, I fell in love with research. And, in retrospect, it was absolutely the right decision for me and my personality. And what I'd like to do, I didn't know it at the time. But you know, sometimes you've got to try things out to really learn what they are. So my mentors, of course, were my parents who were physicians, my brother, and then so many mentors during college and of course, my PhD mentor, who was one of the pioneers of cartilage and arthritis research van Mal was his name, but he's focused on cartilage mechanics and he really established the field of cartilage mechanics and how joints work and how how a joint can withstand 10 times your body weight for, as we know, a million cycles a year for 80 years, normally, and then why does it break down? So he really established that field. And I think my, really my true mentors were my graduate student class, the the four or five grad students who were with me at the same time, and we still, to this day, meet regularly discuss everything but during graduate school, they were the ones who, for our for each of us, we inspired each other and from them. I learned so much about how to do research. I ended up marrying one of them and the other is our still my best friends to stay?

Chris Dy:

Yeah, that sounds a lot like people's reflections on their residency classes if their residency is retired, or if they're in a bigger fellowship, you know, they're co fellows, because that resonates with me at least I still keep in touch with I didn't marry any of them. So I mean, but we still keep in touch. Yeah. So you were Did you do your graduate work at? At Columbia?

Unknown:

Yes. Okay, my PhD there. And at that time, there was only a Department of Mechanical Engineering. So the field of biomedical engineering had been founded, but very few schools had actual departments. So my training is actually in mechanical engineering. And I, you know, take all the course of classic mechanical engineering courses of heat transfer, and statics and dynamics and vibrations and take a you know, 18 hour test on all of those, and then I went to study cartilage. Do you think do you think that having that broader background actually made you better? And in terms of as if you had to be me track now? Would you have gone through the BME track? Or would you advise your students to go through kind of a broader basis? You know, I think it really depends on your interests. And at the PhD level, it's so much about who you work with, and the project, less than that, I can tell you, I rarely use any of those courses. But what I did learn was how fundamentally aligned large fields of engineering are. So when you wonder why are all those different topics in one department? Well, you understand how the theoretical basis that drives, heat transfer and fluid flow and solid mechanics and vibrations, actually all comes from the same line of physics. So it's a it's an amazing education. I don't know that I would recommend that to someone who now for example, my students, I have several who are mechanical engineering students, a large majority who are biomedical engineering students, and then a few who are biology students. And it, we can now tailor their education to really what they want to do and say, Alright, I have mechanical engineer. So we really want to do fundamental mechanics, with a biological slant. And then I have other students who are doing hardcore biology, and use an engineering approach, you know that we, as engineers, you look at a problem. And what we do is sort of like a toaster, that doesn't work, you take it apart, figure out how it works, and then put it back together again, and we're trying to do is do that and put it back together, again, better than it was before. So that type of education translates into all of the different departments. But the classes you take and where you focus, I think can be tailored to every student differently.

Charles Goldfarb:

Yeah, it's interesting. I think you're ahead of the classic medical field, I guess, I would say, given our broader based approach with eventual tapering.

Unknown:

Seems like you guys may focus lower there. I don't know. Yeah.

Chris Dy:

Well, we have we have that debate enhancers. I mean, that the recent meeting in London, I was part of a symposium that was you know, should you do orthopedics or plastics first, and then do hand fellowship training, like broader base and then narrow down? Or we know you want to be a hand surgeon when we just shoot you through after five years straight hand surgery residency like they do in some of the Scandinavian countries? So I think that the, you know, there are pluses and minuses to each approach. I do appreciate the broader basis of multiple disciplines and seeing, like you said, how a lot of things come from the same line of thinking eventually. And I think at the end of the day, you just want to teach people how to think.

Unknown:

Exactly, it's more about teaching, problem solving how to think, where to find answers on your own, because many of our students don't go into academia, some of them a few don't go into research. But they may go into a very different area where they still need to learn how to problem solve, but they're not necessarily working on cartilage or arthritis. But they've learned the process. And that's what the PhD is more about than anything else.

Chris Dy:

Makes sense. So your first stop, after Columbia, as I understand it was at Duke University, which certainly were formative years and important years, and I want to get to the transition to washing university. But tell us a little bit about Duke. Well, how was that impactful for you? And what did you accomplish while there?

Unknown:

Well, Duke was a phenomenal place I, I loved my collaborators there loved my students, there was, you know, really high level of functioning and expectation from that educational side and Duke did have one of the oldest, probably the number one or number two oldest departments of biomedical engineering. So that thought that establishment that engineering and medicine should be linked was really ingrained there, which was one of the main reasons we ended up going there. They're all both both schools are on one campus. So Going into the engineering school was a three to five minute walk. And vice versa. So it's students going back and forth. That environment is really hard to beat because you get truly integrated education and, and research. So that was, that was the main reason I went there. And it was really a great experience a great place to start building a career. And that's where I started to move my research from what was mostly cartilage mechanics that I trained in where I started to look at the field we call mechanical biology, which is sort of a counterpart of biomechanics, where it's how do mechanical factors affect living cells? So, you know, we know that most of the tissues in our bodies respond to mechanical loading. And certainly in the musculoskeletal system, right, you lose your muscles, they grow, load your bones, they grow, if you don't load them, they atrophy. Well, that happens to pretty much every tissue in your body, and especially in your cartilage, which was under studied, it's just the right level of loading. If you immobilize a joint, the cartilage atrophies, if you overload it, you can get arthritis and degeneration. So I started to move into that area, and really start to dissect those pathways to try to figure out, how does the cell respond to loading? And then how can we make that a drug target for arthritis? How can we find pharmaceutical drugs that can manipulate whether your cells are being loaded or not. And then the other area we moved in a little bit later was the burgeoning field of, of course, stem cells. And this new field that had just formed called tissue engineering, which is not so new anymore, but the concept that we can take some cells and some biomaterials and in the right environment outside the body, we can regrow tissues. And we had all these ideas on how we were going to rebuild cartilage and replace it and grow it in the lab, starting about 15 years ago. And I'm very excited to say that we are hopefully starting the clinical trials for that project, with Dr. Clohessy here at Wash U this year. So it's been a long haul. But that's where those ideas started. And, and were seated.

Chris Dy:

That's, that's amazing. And, you know, congratulations on taking that from literally bench to bedside and from idea to reality. That's super exciting. And one of the things I've always admired about you is that you have a body of work, and you've had multiple bodies of work, and they've evolved over time. And one of the things that I think the people listening that are in training right now and may have an interest in academic careers is, how do you plan something out like that? Like, do you just have like this huge idea, and then you eventually build towards it? And how do you kind of roll with the punches along the way, when the experiments don't shake out the way you expect them to? Or your funding gets pulled? Or you don't get the grant you're expecting? And you know, how do you keep the big picture in mind without, you know, being overwhelmed by it?

Unknown:

You know, Chris, that's a great question. And in a probably the healthiest way I could say there's probably an obsession, once I started working on this problem. And I'm still working on the same problem in the big picture that I was working on in graduate school, that it's so complex, it sounds so simple, like how does this you know tissue in your body work this cartilage? How do you joints work? And then 30 something years later, I still can't let go of the problem. And it's complex enough that I haven't been able to actually solve it or answer it. And no, hopefield hasn't. It's not just me, it's just a really interesting problem. So in one sense, yes, is, you know, I know what we wanted to solve for the last 30 years. But it's, it's like a sawtooth that you have a an advance, but most of the time, you're just doing little incremental work. And it's like queueing, it is the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, most of what we do is, you know, incremental in a good way, you just gotta move the field forward, you got to dot the i's, cross the T's. And then once in a while, you either have an idea that comes together, or, or an association or a new technology, oftentimes, and you get the jump in the sawtooth, and you move things forward. And of course, there's lots of moving backwards, too. And, you know, experiments, if every experiment work, then you're wasting your time because you already know the answer. So you know, you want to get the majority of the work, but that's the fun part is doing things that are risky. And you de risk them by putting a lot of thought into it and saying, Alright, I can see the path. This should work. Everything I've read tells me this should work, but we don't know the answer. So we've got to do it and test it. And I'd say four out of five times we get close. Sometimes it's just a failure. And that's okay. That's how we learn and retool.

Chris Dy:

So we talk about this you know, when you're learning when something doesn't go right not obsessing about adverse outcomes, but yet, you know, helping yourself and future patients move forward. Talk a little about that process, major failures, minor failures, how do they help you?

Unknown:

That is one of the most important topics in science and in research right now. And the reason for that is, we're just set up for failure. So our grant funding rate nominally is 10%. So that means the average person, you have to submit 10 grants to get one. High level journal publications can be 5%. Acceptance, to the solid journals that are 25 to 30% experiments. And as I said, a lot of them just fail. So maybe the project, four out of five sample work in the end the experiments half the time, they don't work. So I, I have thought about this a lot, because we have this younger generation. And I thought, how do you how do we teach resilience? Because that's what it really takes to understand that failure is not stop failure in the bad sense of the word. It's just part of the process. And if you adjust yourself and say, Okay, I've got to do this 10 times before I get to work once, then it's very different than, Oh, I failed nine times in a row, should I quit now? So what we learn is, you know, you got to figure out why did things fail? And take responsibility? You know, if you don't get a grant funded or paper funded, I said, what did we do wrong? You can't say, oh, that that reviewer was awful. They didn't, didn't understand this, you have to say, we didn't explain it properly, as much as it hurts. We know we were right. But we still have to suck it up and say, Okay, do better, explain things better design that experiment better, be more careful. And that's just the process. And I think once you accept that, but it's just, those are the odds, you've got to play the odds, you got to play the game, and go back and don't quit. And we see time and time again, in our field. That success comes from resilience. Everybody around us is brilliant. Everybody around us has got the perfect scores on the board scores and the grades, and everybody works hard. So who sticks with it? They're the ones who get the the answers oftentimes. And that goes back to my obsession. It's stuck with this for 30 years. And keep keep going at it and answer one little question time.

Chris Dy:

I know Chris is going to question and jump in. Sorry, Chris. Just a very quick follow up. Are you intentional in how you teach that concept to your, your team? And your mentees? Or is it modeling? Or is it is it both?

Unknown:

It's I'm evolving a method to teach it intentionally because it's not an easy thing to teach. Right. But a lot of it is discussion. So we have. So we have a weekly lab meeting, you know, if 30 People in the lab and one person presents in detail, a second person keeps a short talk on something they learned. And then every couple of months, we talk about some big picture item like this, and there's so much going on in our in, you know, in our careers in our world that we have to talk about things like this. And so one of the one of the talks, which is more, you know, an open discussion, but to bring up these points, and we have failures and successes in the lab, and part of being deliberate about it is talking about both, not just as successes, but saying, Okay, here's what we tried, and it didn't work, here's what we're going to try to do. And hopefully it will work the next time, but it may not. And then the big picture, all you know, all the different things that everyone is, is trying to accomplish scientific and career wise. So I'm trying to make it more deliberate. There is no textbook for it. I found and no clear path. But I certainly found that talking about it and making it okay to talk about it is a good first step.

Chris Dy:

It sounds like a textbook, maybe the RS could lead because I think that's these are these are, you know, not to use as a bad, you know, the wrong phrase, but soft skills that are so important. That I think that actually brings me to my question. You know, one of the things that you're known for is your skill as being a mentor. You've won institutional and national awards for mentoring. And that's incredible. And that's something that all of us can learn from. And one of the other more recent episodes we've had that's been pretty popular is about intergenerational differences. And have you adjusted your mentoring style over the last couple of decades to meet the current generation of graduate student, undergraduate student postdoc, because personality wise, I think they're probably a little different than they were 1015 years ago.

Unknown:

That's a great question. I, I don't know that I've changed too much. I still try to keep a relatively informal relationship with them even then, there's much more your age gap. But I think what I've incorporated now that I didn't have before, is what I would call reverse mentoring, where I rely on the younger members of the lab to keep me informed on what are those soft skills and communication skills and even terminology that I can use to communicate with that generation. I don't find I have not found them to be any of the stereotypes that we talked about, of not wanting to work as hard, not being as well trained, or as ambitious. And in that regard, I think maybe we've been very fortunate because our students here are phenomenal. And our postdocs here are phenomenal. And, and I haven't really had to change anything. I think what I've learned, and this you know, this comes, sometimes it comes naturally, sometimes you have to to learn it as a mentor, and part of it comes from I post a few 100 papers now, like what's what's really your legacy? What do you what are you going to leave? And what you realize is that your mentee success is your success. And once once you really ingrained that, that when you see them succeed, is there not competition, they're not detracting from you. It is just pure pride. And I think that transition, whether it was you know, discrete or not, for me, it's very obvious now, and, and I am most proud of where my trainees are now. And right now, I have seven past trainees on our faculty in orthopedics here. So you know, DPJ and John Backus, they were my trainees at Duke, we spent a year in the lab, and then five of our postdocs are now research faculty in the department. And I couldn't be more proud of them.

Chris Dy:

That's incredible. I have two follow up questions. I'm one, how do you celebrate your successes, and not only discuss your failures, I for one, Chris, I think is better at this than I am, I tend to you know, and my successes are smaller than either of yours, but I don't tend to I don't tend to celebrate, I just tend to move on to the next I don't think that's necessarily healthy. What do you do? How do you celebrate with your team Farsch?

Unknown:

We just mark those successes, it has a whole range. So you know, for our students, especially, there are a series of events and the hoops, they have to jump through like passing their qualifying exam and their prelim exam and their defense. And especially as they move further along, those become bigger and bigger party. So when someone defends their PhD, we are going to all go out somewhere either to you know, pandemic, notwithstanding Comm, you know, have a picnic, come to our house, go to a restaurant make a big deal about those things. But we also, you know, even the little things like a paper getting accepted, it's not so little someone's, you know, first off the paper, at least acknowledging it, bringing it up in lab meetings, letting everyone know, letting everyone know why it's a big deal and why we're proud of it. I tend to celebrate my own accomplishments less just because it's, it's just, you know, after you've failed and succeeded so many times, it's less of an issue, but to just bring it up, because almost all of them are a group effort. And there's very few things that you know, of any, certainly scientifically that that belong to one person, it's just such a collaborative discipline right now. So celebrating that team success is very important, and making sure that everyone knows they're part of that team, and what roles they play in it. It's just really important. If nothing else, not letting things gloss over and say, Oh, that's just that's just daily business. We don't care about another paper or, or that this milestone that you went through.

Chris Dy:

I love that. I love that. And I guess I don't really have another question, but that your mentorship comments are incredibly important. And actually, it's an area of growth for me. I tried it for a long time, I would simply say I'm going to be a mentor by example. And that doesn't cut it, honestly. I mean, I think you can do that, but it's not enough. And so that's something I am intentionally going to be working on moving forwards. I personally appreciate your comments and they're spot on.

Unknown:

Yeah, the mentorship process is I mean, there are there are those sides of it where certainly you have to be the example. If you teach something and then you are something else that that undermines what you're doing so you've got to be the example. But it's also got to be much more deliberate. And every trainee is different. So I think understand And then what each person is looking for I have trainees that I literally will talk to or communicate with, usually, you know, Slack text, whatever, 1015 times a day, and I have other ones who check in once, a few every few weeks. And that's what works for each of them. And as you know, this is my only job. So I have the time to do those things, you are balancing multiple things and being pulled in the office. So you know, it's also having the time to spend like that and be able to keep a running commentary and give immediate feedback. And, and one of the things is positive or negative immediate feedback is really important for the mentee, so that you acknowledge you, you see what they did, and it's good or bad, usually it's good. But just letting them know that that was something positive, and you saw it and acknowledged it, I think those are really important things that they go a very long way.

Chris Dy:

I think those are great points to mean for us that in our world that's in the or, you know, somebody does something, it's easy to point out when somebody does something not so great. There are certain things you can say in the moment, certain things you maybe should reserve, you know, for private moments, but when somebody does something, well, you know, making sure that they know that, you know, and Marty talks about it, you know, when he talks about how he gives feedback, you know, he I love the way you use your scissors there, I love the way you use a scalpel. You know, I like the way you put that screw, and that I think helps sustain the relationship when you're at least teaching something that is relatively, you know, tactical. But I think the points well made for other things. And it certainly extends to research.

Unknown:

That is a great example what you're describing of how we try to catch people doing something, right. Usually you're trying to catch people doing something wrong. But you pop in the lab or you you know, something comes across your desk that was done. Right? You caught them, and then you surprise them with the kudos it goes a long way.

Chris Dy:

Right. So the the question I had for you, one of the episodes that Chuck and I are going to do pretty soon is an episode about uncertainty. We're going to talk about an article from HBr that talks about you know how to embrace it, how to, to look at as a positive at times. And for you, you went from being incredibly established and accomplished. And you could have finished out your career at Duke. But you took the leap to come to WashU at a point where you were, you know, kind of in the Lebron James mode, you could pick your spots, you could either stay where you are, or you could go wherever you want. And yeah, how did you what was the impetus for that? And you know, how, how did you? Did you struggle at all with the uncertainty of now I gotta go somewhere else and establish myself again, or what were the considerations running through your mind as you weighed, staying at Duke versus moving institutions.

Unknown:

I definitely struggled with that. And so you know, research, when you build a research laboratory, it takes decades to train people to build these research projects. And there is so much luck involved in getting a research lab to work and getting research funding. And I have plenty of little stories where you know, especially when I first started and you know, first couple of years, I had one tiny grant and nobody in the lab and things looked like they were going to end and so I just wrote six grants and got five of them. And all of a sudden I went from being out of business to having 12 People in the lab and you know, those types of luck situations, and getting those right people and building that lab. I didn't know if I could repeat it. I didn't know if it was if I could move somewhere, start over build a laboratory again and do it in a you know, reasonable time period and have have the the ability, the thought process and the luck to do it again. So I'm very, I feel very fortunate that I was able to do it. But that said at some time is actually really helpful to start over and come in and be able to drop things that you don't want to do and start really new projects. And I came here because of the leadership. And I've known Dr. Regis O'Keefe for decades. And when he took the position here as department chair before he even moved here, he called me up. And he said we have this position. And it's between Washington, which was, as you will know, it's been the number one NIH funded and most highly recognized center for orthopedic research for for quite a while. So we have this position. And we also have this position at Shriners and it was an opportunity that I would not have anywhere else to build that huge laboratory that we have with the incredible support of the Shriners. And it's just a fantastic opportunity to try to start over and create a new environment. And yes, it's a risk, and there was some uncertainty. But I had to do it.

Chris Dy:

Yeah, it's that actually Chris asked the question that I wanted to and that's great. I think in respect for your time, I want to sort of bring this to a close but with a really important concept. And we could talk about the science forever. And I look forward to learning more about the science. But I want to close with work life balance. And as I see it, you know, you have a incredibly busy work life, you have a significant other a spouse who is incredibly successful. And you have a history of being a racquetball player, talk to us about how you think about balance, because Chris and I both struggle with it.

Unknown:

Balance is so important, if we want to use that word, I'm not sure I always like that word, because it implies like you're on a seesaw. And if you add more work, you should add more play. And then you start to crush yourself by trying to do more. It's more like a pendulum, you go back and forth, and it swings in multiple directions. Or you're, you're you're juggling balls, but some of those balls are made of glass, and some are made of rubber. Right, and you can, you can drop the rubber balls, they'll bounce back, you can't drop the family ball, which is made of glass. And and you've got to, you've got to make sure where your priorities are, for me having that balance, and having extracurricular activities, whatever they are, and for many of us, you know, it's exercise or some sport or some, you know, hobby or, of course, family. If I don't do that, I don't have the energy to do my real job. It's not like it's taking time away, it's actually energizing to create the ability to do what I need to do. So it's not even a number of hours, there are a lot of hours in the day. I don't run out of time, usually I run out of energy and mental energy. If I'm working on a paper or a grant or something, you know, you can always work more hours, not to other things, but run out of the ability to actually do that work. And if you find things, and it takes a little while to find what energizes you, and you've got to know yourself, and you've got to try different things. And for many people, it's you know, friends, it's socializing, it's watching sports, it's playing sports, it's playing a musical instrument. If you don't do those things I find, then you just burn out. And this is another thing this is one of our other lab topics is burnout. Because if you burn out, you're no good to anyone. So I'd rather have people work half as much and be efficient and stay with it, then to work 80 hours a week, and not be able to stick with with a career and with a job and just give up on it. So I don't know if that, if that makes sense. But I think each person has to figure it out for themselves of what what actually energizes you. And you know, some people do want to work 80 or 100 hours a week. And, you know, they're they're on one side of the bell curve. And for most of us, we're in the middle, we've got to do other things and, and enjoy life, and it's yet one life, you got to enjoy it.

Chris Dy:

I think that's well said I what I love about what you said is the energizing part of it. Because I think that in many ways, you know, if you don't fill that bucket, with the stuff that's in that glass ball, you're just going to be flat at work, like you're not gonna, you're gonna go into whatever are in our world patient interactions or, you know, research projects, just with no energy, no motivation. And I think that, you know, one of the things I've tried to talk to our trainees about when we talk about this topic, and I agree with you is definitely more of a rhythm. And a pendulum as opposed to a balance is just finding the things that energize you and then optimizing when your energy is at its peak for the things that you need to do. You know, trying to, for me, trying to do anything academic after nine o'clock at night is just not going to happen. It's just forcing it. And yes, I'll do okay work. But my best work comes in the morning. And I recognize that when I was a follow, I just needed that like time in the morning, I woke up super early. And that's when I would read for cases and everything else. And I think it's just understanding yourself, everybody's different. Nobody's gonna, you know, I can't do I can't run my life the way the chuck does, when Marty does the way that Ryan does. I mean, everybody's different. So I think that if you can recognize that early on in your training, and early on in practice, you're going to be just better set to succeed.

Unknown:

Absolutely. Well, I would love to thank farsh for joining and listeners, if you would like to hear more about the science, because I certainly do, please let us know. And we will have farsh back just to talk about science violence, we could talk too harsh about a lot of things that really relate to everything that we do in the world of taking care of people with hands injuries. So first, thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. Thank you for doing this podcast. It's fantastic. And it's just a true service to the society in our community. So it's a delight to be here.

Chris Dy:

Thank you so much. Have a great day.

Unknown:

You too. Bye bye.

Chris Dy:

Hey, Chris. That was fun. Let's do it again. Real soon. Sounds good. Well, be sure to check us out on Twitter at hand podcast. Hey, Chuck, what's your Twitter handle?

Unknown:

Mine is @ congenital hand. What about you? Mine is @ChrisDyMD spelled d-y. And if you'd like to email us, you can reach us at hand podcast@gmail.com. And remember, please subscribe wherever you get your podcast and be sure to leave a review that helps us get the word out. Special thanks to Peter Martin for the amazing music. And remember, keep the upper hand come back next time