“What’s impossible today will be possible tomorrow”
Carlos Simón MD, Ph.D.
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 receive a high school education. While she could not give me additional privileges, the values she exemplified will remain with me forever: determination, resilience, integrity, and altruism.
At an early age, I observed how the town’s doctor solved the medical challenges experienced by my friends and family. I dreamed of becoming a medical doctor—preventing illnesses and curing people. 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, Professor Fernando Bonilla invited me to assist in delivering a newborn. His reasons for approaching me are unknown; perhaps he thought my grades demonstrated a competence worth stimulating. Regardless, his convictions regarding the value of his field, and the experience as a whole, shaped my professional life. I fell in love with the specialty of obstetrics and 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. There and then, I set myself the task of becoming a physician-scientist and haven’t looked back.
Like wheat, my patients’ clinical needs are my focus; like locusts, my patients’ problems make me uneasy; like grain, improving my patients’ lives through research is my reward; like seeds, I apply better diagnostics and treatments to patients, like the wheat avoids the locusts.
My scientific career has focused on understanding the beginning of life, a concept known as embryonic implantation; I have focused my work on the “pre-conceptional field.” To further understand the mechanisms involved, I have delved into the foundations of molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics to find the answers to clinical issues.
I also embrace an escape from my routine by running every Sunday with my neighbor Antonio, intermittently with my four children, and 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.