5 Questions with Dr. Bhatt

A Conversation with Dominick J. Angiolillo, MD, PhD

For this issue, Dr. Bhatt talks with Cardiology Today’s Intervention Editorial Board Member Dominick J. Angiolillo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, where he is also medical director of the Cardiovascular Research Program and program director of the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program.

Angiolillo completed his medical degree at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Medical School in Rome and his internship, residency and cardiology fellowship at the same medical center, where he also obtained his PhD in cellular and molecular cardiology. He completed his interventional fellowship at the Complutense University of Madrid. Angiolillo has co-written more than 400 publications, has contributed toward the development of a number of antiplatelet drugs and pioneered the field of personalizing antiplatelet therapy in patients undergoing coronary interventions. He has been in the top 1% of most-cited researchers worldwide for the past 4 consecutive years.

Deepak L. Bhatt

What was the defining moment that led you to your field?

Dr. Angiolillo: I do not have a defining moment. I always had a passion for human sciences and knew almost immediately that I wanted to do cardiology. After visiting the cath lab as a medical student, I never had second doubts about wanting to become an interventional cardiologist. I am fortunate that my research interest in antithrombotic therapy is strongly linked to my clinical work as an interventional cardiologist. I simply love what I do.

What area of research in intervention interests you most right now and why?

Dr. Angiolillo: I started my research in the field of inflammation, which was largely driven by the fact that, in medical school and my early years of training when I was in Rome, I was working with Attilio Maseri, MD, who was an innovator in the field. At the time, I had also started doing some genetic studies. The foundations I received at the time from my mentors were pivotal for my academic career. I then moved to Madrid to do my interventional training with Carlos Macaya, MD, and where I stayed for 3 years. This is where I developed a passion for studying antiplatelet therapies. These early studies turned out to be more impactful than anticipated and set the foundation for nearly 2 decades of work in the field, and a line of research that has been instrumental toward evolving the field of interventional pharmacology and, most importantly, having an impact on patient care. The great thing about my research on antithrombotic medicine is that it has also paralleled and helped many of the advances in the field of interventions, including evolution of stent technology and devices for structural heart disease. I have been fortunate to have always been in an environment supportive of my research ideas as well as having outstanding collaborators. I keep myself busy with patient care — in and out of the cath lab — which is how I develop my research ideas. It is stimulating. My future research goals include further nurturing collaborative research efforts, ultimately addressing on a larger scale — and hopefully in a more impactful manner — aspects of CV medicine related to antithrombotic medicine, in particular, personalized medicine, aimed at improving patient outcomes.

Dominick J. Angiolillo

What has been the greatest challenge of your professional career thus far?

Dr. Angiolillo: Things were not easy when I moved to the United States. It took me a few years to understand the medical system from a clinical and research standpoint. After my first year in the United States, I was tempted to go back to Europe. However, I was encouraged by my chief Theodore Bass, MD, to “give it one more year.” Fortunately, I did. Now, 15 years later, I feel fulfilled on what I have accomplished professionally, but most importantly, personally — I am married with three daughters and we have a lot of fun together.

What advice would you offer a student in medical school today?

Dr. Angiolillo: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” While I believe it is important to have career objectives and try to reach them in a timely fashion, it is important to remember that medical knowledge and expertise takes time, effort and passion. I believe that these are key ingredients for better quality of care. This is valid whether you are doing interventions or doing research, and even more so if doing both. I disagree with some of the evolving aspects of the health care system and training that have geared medical students, residents and fellows away from these concepts. In my opinion, this is why we are generating fewer doctors interested in pursuing academic careers and why academic medicine is bound to suffer from this. It already is having an impact.

What are your hobbies outside of practicing medicine?

Dr. Angiolillo: I consider myself a foodie, and I love wines. I pair this hobby with my passion for traveling. I find that you learn a lot about a specific culture through its cuisine. Fortunately, my profession has allowed me to visit most parts of the globe and my family shares my same passion. I love music. I used to work as a disc jockey until my early years of medical school and, ultimately, I had to give that up. I am also a soccer enthusiast — I have two computer screens in my office and one is dedicated to follow soccer results. – by Katie Kalvaitis

For this issue, Dr. Bhatt talks with Cardiology Today’s Intervention Editorial Board Member Dominick J. Angiolillo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, where he is also medical director of the Cardiovascular Research Program and program director of the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program.

Angiolillo completed his medical degree at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart Medical School in Rome and his internship, residency and cardiology fellowship at the same medical center, where he also obtained his PhD in cellular and molecular cardiology. He completed his interventional fellowship at the Complutense University of Madrid. Angiolillo has co-written more than 400 publications, has contributed toward the development of a number of antiplatelet drugs and pioneered the field of personalizing antiplatelet therapy in patients undergoing coronary interventions. He has been in the top 1% of most-cited researchers worldwide for the past 4 consecutive years.

Deepak L. Bhatt

What was the defining moment that led you to your field?

Dr. Angiolillo: I do not have a defining moment. I always had a passion for human sciences and knew almost immediately that I wanted to do cardiology. After visiting the cath lab as a medical student, I never had second doubts about wanting to become an interventional cardiologist. I am fortunate that my research interest in antithrombotic therapy is strongly linked to my clinical work as an interventional cardiologist. I simply love what I do.

What area of research in intervention interests you most right now and why?

Dr. Angiolillo: I started my research in the field of inflammation, which was largely driven by the fact that, in medical school and my early years of training when I was in Rome, I was working with Attilio Maseri, MD, who was an innovator in the field. At the time, I had also started doing some genetic studies. The foundations I received at the time from my mentors were pivotal for my academic career. I then moved to Madrid to do my interventional training with Carlos Macaya, MD, and where I stayed for 3 years. This is where I developed a passion for studying antiplatelet therapies. These early studies turned out to be more impactful than anticipated and set the foundation for nearly 2 decades of work in the field, and a line of research that has been instrumental toward evolving the field of interventional pharmacology and, most importantly, having an impact on patient care. The great thing about my research on antithrombotic medicine is that it has also paralleled and helped many of the advances in the field of interventions, including evolution of stent technology and devices for structural heart disease. I have been fortunate to have always been in an environment supportive of my research ideas as well as having outstanding collaborators. I keep myself busy with patient care — in and out of the cath lab — which is how I develop my research ideas. It is stimulating. My future research goals include further nurturing collaborative research efforts, ultimately addressing on a larger scale — and hopefully in a more impactful manner — aspects of CV medicine related to antithrombotic medicine, in particular, personalized medicine, aimed at improving patient outcomes.

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Dominick J. Angiolillo

What has been the greatest challenge of your professional career thus far?

Dr. Angiolillo: Things were not easy when I moved to the United States. It took me a few years to understand the medical system from a clinical and research standpoint. After my first year in the United States, I was tempted to go back to Europe. However, I was encouraged by my chief Theodore Bass, MD, to “give it one more year.” Fortunately, I did. Now, 15 years later, I feel fulfilled on what I have accomplished professionally, but most importantly, personally — I am married with three daughters and we have a lot of fun together.

What advice would you offer a student in medical school today?

Dr. Angiolillo: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” While I believe it is important to have career objectives and try to reach them in a timely fashion, it is important to remember that medical knowledge and expertise takes time, effort and passion. I believe that these are key ingredients for better quality of care. This is valid whether you are doing interventions or doing research, and even more so if doing both. I disagree with some of the evolving aspects of the health care system and training that have geared medical students, residents and fellows away from these concepts. In my opinion, this is why we are generating fewer doctors interested in pursuing academic careers and why academic medicine is bound to suffer from this. It already is having an impact.

What are your hobbies outside of practicing medicine?

Dr. Angiolillo: I consider myself a foodie, and I love wines. I pair this hobby with my passion for traveling. I find that you learn a lot about a specific culture through its cuisine. Fortunately, my profession has allowed me to visit most parts of the globe and my family shares my same passion. I love music. I used to work as a disc jockey until my early years of medical school and, ultimately, I had to give that up. I am also a soccer enthusiast — I have two computer screens in my office and one is dedicated to follow soccer results. – by Katie Kalvaitis