Many factors play into a physician-scientist’s success, but perhaps most critical is the influence of a mentor or, more commonly, a team of mentors. Our mentors offer invaluable guidance and support that often leads to the difference between success and failure. Perhaps more important, mentors offer a type of candor and connection that help us determine or evaluate the type of physician-scientist we want to become.

I owe my own career and success in the research of translational science of pain and its treatment to my mentor, Tony Yaksh, Ph.D. Although I had been exposed to science as a chemistry graduate student at Caltech, 34 years ago I was a resident at Mayo Clinic and trying to decide where to move for a career in private practice. Early one Wednesday morning, I heard Tony, a basic scientist, give a...

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