Erol Fikrig

Born: December 15, 1959 | Istanbul, TR
Photograph of Erol Fikrig

Erol Fikrig was born in Istanbul, Turkey. The family moved to Queens, New York, when Fikrig was a child. Fikrig attended Cornell University, majoring in chemistry. He decided early, influenced by both his father and his college roommate, to go to medical school. He attended Cornell's Weill School of Medicine. During his third and fourth years he studied in Brazil, where he became interested in vector-borne diseases. Interested in infectious disease and internal medicine, he did his residency at Vanderbilt University. Next, he became a fellow at Yale, where he worked in Richard Flavell's laboratory. He was offered an assistant professorship in rheumatology at Yale, eventually becoming full professor. Fikrig continues to study Lyme disease and other related diseases.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0491
No. of pages: 74
Minutes: 299

Interview Sessions

Helene L. Cohen
17-19 July 2000
The Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut

Abstract of Interview

Erol Fikrig was born in Istanbul, Turkey, to a Turkish physician father and Scots housewife mother. He has one younger brother. The family moved to Queens, New York, when Fikrig was a young child, so he grew up in the United States. He attended public schools until high school, when he was sent to United Nations International School. He liked and did well in school, and played a number of sports as well. Fikrig was graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he very quickly eschewed anthropology and majored in chemistry. He decided early, influenced by both his father and his college roommate, to go to medical school. He attended Cornell's Weill School of Medicine in New York City. During his third and fourth years he studied in Brazil, where he became interested in vector-borne diseases. Interested in infectious disease and internal medicine, he did his residency at Vanderbilt University. From there he became a fellow at Yale, where he worked in Richard Flavell's laboratory. He was offered an assistant professorship in rheumatology at Yale, eventually becoming an associate professor and then full professor. He and his wife, a physician whom he met at Yale, have two children. Fikrig continues to study Lyme disease and other related diseases.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1977 Cornell University BA
1981 Weill Cornell Medical College MD

Professional Experience

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

1985 to 1986
Intern, Internal Medicine
1986 to 1987
Resident, Internal Medicine

Yale University School of Medicine

1988 to 1989
Clinical Fellow, Infectious Diseases
1989 to 1992
Fellow, Infectious Diseases and Immunobiology
1992 to 1996
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology
1996 to 2016
Associate Professor of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology
2000
Associate Professor of Medicine (without term), Epidemiology and Public Health

Honors

Year(s) Award
1991

National Foundation of Infectious Disease Young Investigator Award

1991 to 1992

Daland Fellow of the American Philosophical Society

1992

Dean's Young Faculty Award, Yale School of Medicine

1992 to 1994

Infectious Diseases Society of America Vaccine Development Award

1993 to 1995

American Heart Association Young Investigator Award

1993 to 1996

Arthritis Foundation Investigator Award

1993 to 1997

Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

1996 to 2001

American Heart Association Established Investigator Award

1998

Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation

1998

Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America

1998 to 2003

Burroughs Wellcome Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, but lives there only a year or two. Family settles in Queens, New York. Attends public elementary school, but United Nations International School for high school. Early interest in anthropology.

Undergraduate Years
14

Matriculates at Cornell University, where he majors in chemistry. Competes with roommate, Steven Mazlin. Decides to study medicine.

Medical School Years
18

Enters Cornell Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Studiesleishmaniasis in Brazil. Accepts residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University.

Postgraduate Years
23

Accepts fellowship at Yale University to study immunology and infectious diseases. Meets and marries Margaret Karis. Works in Richard Flavell's laboratory. Accepts position in rheumatology section at Yale University.

Later Years
27

Appointed assistant professor at Yale University; promoted to associate professor, and then to full professor. Finding grants. Balancing work with family life. Continuing research into Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis

Index
72

About the Interviewer

Helene L. Cohen