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Roads less traveled: My journey through electrophysiology and beyond

  • Benjamin J. Scherlag
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests and correspondence: Dr Benjamin J. Scherlag, Cardiac Arrhythmia Research Institute, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, 1200 Everett Dr (6E103), Oklahoma City, OK 73104.
    Affiliations
    Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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      How things that happen early in life can sometimes turn out to be prophetic. I can still see my hardly recognizable picture in the junior high school yearbook. The caption underneath read: “Great oaks come from little nuts.” As I recall, my parents were not impressed, but I thought the description was quite accurate. I was barely able to achieve my Bachelor of Science Degree from the City College of New York as a biology major and education minor before being drafted into the army in 1954. Little did I know then that my favorite subjects, botany and invertebrate zoology, would come to play an important role in my future second career (see below). My 2 years of service afforded me financial support from the government, which would allow me to pursue a master’s degree in night school and my goal of teaching high school biology. As for gainful employment during the day, great fortune got me the job of research technician and teaching assistant in the Department of Physiology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, working for the rising stars in cardiac electrophysiology, Drs Brian Hoffman and Paul Cranefield. Under their guidance and encouragement, I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees with theses on cardiac muscle mechanics. However, my real fascination was in the studies that were done in conjunction with a cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Jackson Stuckey. During cardiopulmonary bypass, the dog heart was opened and plaque electrodes were sewn onto the His bundle and bundle branches so that electrical recordings could be made after the animal had recovered.
      • Hoffman B.F.
      • Moore E.N.
      • Stuckey J.R.
      • Cranefield P.F.
      Functional properties of the atrioventricular conducting system.

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