“What’s impossible today, will be possible tomorrow”
Carlos Simón MD, PhD
I was born in Buñol, Spain. I lost my father when I was three; my mother, Carmen, provided what she could to help me to get a high school education. While she was unable to give me further privileges, the values that she exemplified will remain with me forever: determination, resilience, integrity, and altruism.
At a young age, I observed how the town´s doctor was able to solve medical challenges experienced by my friends and family. I dreamed to become a medical doctor—to prevent illnesses and cure people s. During my school years, I studied and worked, first as an apprentice, then as a group leader. My main goal was to acquire the knowledge and experience required to work in the medical field. I reaped the results of my determination when I was accepted into the University of Valencia School of Medicine in 1979; my vision was becoming a reality.
While in my fourth year of medical school, Senior Professor Fernando Bonilla invited me to assist in the delivery of a newborn. His reasons for approaching me are unknown; perhaps he thought that my grades demonstrated a competence worth stimulating. Regardless, his convictions on the value of his field, and the experience as a whole, shaped my professional life. I fell in love with the specialty of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
In 1987, after ranking 96/5000 in the National Exam for medical resident candidates (MIR), I began a four-year residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hospital Clínico Universitario of Valencia. There, I met my mentor, Antonio Pellicer, to whom I owe my devotion to research.
In 1991, I was awarded a three-year post-doctoral grant from the Spanish government to train in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Stanford University. Professor Mary Lake Polan accepted my candidacy for a fellowship in Reproductive Immunology. My three-year journey, about 10,000 kilometers from where I began, turned out to be a life-changing experience. I planted my roots to become a physician-scientist and haven’t looked back since.
Like wheat, my patients’ clinical needs are my toil. Like locusts, my patients’ problems grow uneasy in me. Like grain, improving my patients’ lives through research is my reward. Like seeds, I apply better diagnostics and treatments to patients, similarly, as the wheat avoids the locusts.
My scientific career has been focused on the understanding of the beginning of life, a concept that we call embryonic implantation; I have focused my work in the “pre-conceptional field”. To further understand the mechanisms involved, I delve into the foundations of molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics to find the answers to clinical issues.
On a personal level, my family is pivotal for me. I share my professional passion with my wife, Diana Valbuena, who has been instrumental throughout my career, and my four children who are my pride and strength.
I also embrace an escape from my routine by running every Sunday with my neighbour Antonio, and intermittently with my four children, as well as participating in marathons.
“What’s impossible today, will be possible tomorrow.”
In short, I am proud of my humble background, my career, and the dedication and passion I have devoted to my craft. Today, after 40 years of medical and research experience, it is an understatement to say that I am grateful to be where I am.
Edited by Oscar Simón, Blanca Simón and Andrea Peralta.