Dr. Eric Topol touts individualized medicine for 21st century patients


Eric J. Topol, M.D., is chief academic officer of Scripps Health and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, a National Institutes of Health funded program of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium focused on advancing individualized medicine.

He is also a senior consultant cardiologist practitioner at Scripps Clinic and professor of translational genomics at The Scripps Research Institute. He is the author of “The Creative Destruction of Medicine,” a 2012 book that introduces the digital future of medicine and explores how digitization – through DNA sequencing, wireless health devices and online social networks – will fundamentally change the medical field for both professionals and patients.

He previously chaired the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic for 15 years and raised its status to rank No. 1 in some categories by U.S. News and World Report for 11 consecutive years.

What brought you to La Jolla?

The opportunity to work at Scripps — one of the nation’s top health systems, and The Scripps Research Institute, a leading biomedical research institute — to change the future of medicine.

What makes this area special to you?

Beyond the beauty and charm of La Jolla, it is the willingness of the brilliant brain trust of people, across the academic institutions and the life science industry, to work together.

What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

Bring in billions of dollars of philanthropy to rev up the research and hyper-innovative opportunities in the Mesa.

Who or what inspires you?

Highly innovative thinking, challenging pre-existing dogma, and getting young people excited about what they are doing/can do.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would invite my wife, Susan; our adult kids, Sarah and Evan; my soon to be son-in-law Antonio; plus Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Sir William Osler, and Joseph Schumpeter.

What are you currently reading?

“Drop Dead Healthy” by A.J. Jacobs and “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.

What is your most-prized possession?

My health.

What do you do for fun?

I like to golf, hike, bike and read a lot.

What is your most marked characteristic?

High energy and intensity.

What is your motto of life?

Think big, act bigger.