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Dr J. J. (George) Misiewicz survived World War II in his native Poland, and made his way to England afterwards. He attained the necessary qualifications to gain admission to St. Bartholomew's Medical College in London, England, where he financed his medical studies through a scholarship from the then Polish Government in exile.
Dr Misiewicz received general medical training at Barts, the Brompton Hospital, and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith, London. He then joined the Department of Gastroenterology at the Central Middlesex Hospital, London (then headed by Sir Francis Avery Jones), as a member of the Medical Research Council Gastroenterology Research Unit (Director Dr E N Rowlands). After the Unit closed, he obtained an NHS consultant post at Central Middlesex, and remains an Honorary Joint Director of the Department of Gastroenterology and Nutrition there.
Dr Misiewicz's research was initially in motility, with reference to the irritable bowel syndrome, colonic diverticulosis, and GERD. His association with St Mark's Hospital provided research interests in the area of inflammatory bowel disease. His activities later centred on acid/pepsin diseases, with emphasis on drugs inhibiting acid secretion and later, on Helicobacter pylori. He has published numerous papers in these areas.
He is also an addictive editor of medical journals. He edited Gut for seven years, and now edits the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
At various times he has been Secretary, and then President, of the British Society of Gastroenterology. He is a member of the Governing Body of the European Association for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy.
Dr Misiewicz is married to Marjorie and has two stepchildren (Adam and Lucy), and two grandchildren.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- It was very simple. I was working at St. Bartholomew's Hospital for a well-known hematologist and I thought I was going to do hematology. Then fate intervened, and I failed a higher medical examination. My then boss got me a Locum with Sir Francis Avery Jones in his gastroenterology unit. I joined that unit for three weeks and remained for almost thirty years, eventually becoming the joint Head of the Department (together with Dr David Silk). I owe the examiners one! Unwittingly, they set me on the right path. . .
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- Avery Jones was not a brilliant teacher formally, but set a shining example in many other ways. Another of my heroes is Sir Cyril Clark - a quintessential clinical and basic research worker. Both were completely unassuming men, without a trace of humbug.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- Black J W, Duncan W A M, Durant CJ, Ganellin C R. Definition and antagonism of histamine H2 receptors. Nature 1972; 236: 385-90, and also Marshall B J and Warren J R. Unidentified curved bacilli in the stomach of patients with gastritis and peptic ulceration. Lancet 1984; 1: 1311-15.
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- That one of the joys of practicing medicine is the friendship and the support of one's colleagues, and the stimulus one gets from idealistic and iconoclastic minds of young doctors.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- To play a musical instrument.
- What is your greatest regret?
- Not to have discovered Helicobacter pylori - there were hints, but. . .
- How do you relax?
- Reading biographies or history, listening to classical music or classical jazz, going to the theatre, looking at art, and dining with friends. I could go on. . .
- What is your favorite sport?
- I used to sail, but no more.
- What is your best place in the world?
- After home, Italy.
- What is your favorite film?
- Many, but perhaps "The Third Man".
- What car do you drive?
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- My bedside portable CD player and radio combined. Essential for insomniacs.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- "Just Friends" by Robyn Sisman and "Boswell's Presumptuous Task" by Adam Sisman. The authors happen to be my stepdaughter-in-law and stepson. Is this nepotism and advertising? How could it be. . .?
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- Roy Pounder was my star research fellow. Could I refuse? It's a brilliant site.