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Professor Andre Blum has just retired as Professor of Gastroenterology in the Faculty of Medicine, Lausanne and Chief, Division of Gastroenterology at University Hospital Lausanne.
He became a Resident at the University Hospital of Zurich, in the departments of pathology and Internal Medicine in 1960, moving on from there to the Tufts Medical School in Boston (Mass) in 1966. There he took the posts of Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow in gastroenterology. He went on to the Harvard School of Public Health were he was the Special Student in the Department of Biostatistics.
1968 saw a move to the University of Alabama Medical Center as the Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. He also became Senior Research and Education Associate at the United States Veterans Administration.
Returning to Switzerland in 1970 he became Chief of the Unit of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine at Triemli Hospital in Zurich. In 1972 he moved on to become lecturer (Privatdozent) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zurich, and was a Professor of Gastroenterology from 1978 to 1986, he moved to Lausanne.
His main interests are in the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of upper gastrointestinal disorders including gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcer disease and functional dyspepsia. He has gained a particular expertise in developing tests of upper gastrointestinal function and in the designing of controlled clinical trials. He is also interested on molecular immunology, particularly in the context of Helicobacter infections.
Professor Blum is a member of some 19 associations including the Cochrane Group, the European Gastro Club and the Prout Club. He also makes regular reviews in 17 scientific journals including Gastroenterology.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- My chief of cardiology (this was the speciality which I had chosen) did not have an irritable bowel syndrome (that had been his erroneous self-diagnosis) but colonic cancer and he died from it. The gastroenterologist, Urs Peter Haemmerli, who for years and vainly had urged his cardiologist friend to undergo rectoscopy, "re-routed" me to GI.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- Urs Peter Haemmerli and Thomas C. Chalmers, both for their courage and commitment.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- Thomas C. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1962.
- What are the most important facts that you have discovered?
- Gastric pH metry; the concept (in mice, alas) of a therapeutic vaccine against H. pylori. In both cases, the merit of my co-workers is greater than mine.
- What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
- Not to have recognised in a urea transport experiment in canine Heidenhain pouches, in 1966, that Helicobacter organisms were responsible for the disappearance of urea from the pouches.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- Write a love story.
- What is your greatest regret?
- Not to have pursued literature at the age of 18.
- How do you relax?
- What is your favorite sport?
- Jogging (before my back problems: horseback riding).
- What is your best place in the world?
- The place wherever I am.
- What are your favorite films?
- Hiroshima mon amour, or Giulietta degli spiriti.
- What car do you drive?
- BMW 525.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- Any of those which I don't need (I don't like electronic toys).
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- Jan Assmann Aegypten.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- Because Roy Pounder invited me, and because it seems a good concept.