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Greg Haro

University of California, San Francisco

Strangely, it was Dr. Greg Haro’s background as a professional trumpet player that led him to a career in medicine.

While in college, where he earned a degree in classical trumpet performance, he played a gig with a trombone player who happened to be a cardiac surgeon who ran a lab. Haro wound up working in that lab, and a decade later, he is now a general surgery resident at the University of California, San Francisco, with a focus on thoracic oncology.

Part of Haro’s research has focused on ushering lung cancer classification into the molecular age. Clinicians typically assign patients’ disease a stage (1 through 4) based on pathological features, but, as Haro said, “there are other ways to look at the cellular characteristics besides the microscope.”

Haro instead started looking at gene expression patterns in tumors that had been removed during surgery to gain insights about how these patients might fare going forward.

The goal is to be able to determine which patients have low-risk disease and who don’t need more treatment versus those whose tumors are more likely to recur and could benefit from a more aggressive approach.

Surgery and the trumpet are complementary. “They’re intricately linked. The technical skills really support each other.”

Going forward, Haro intends to pursue a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship. And while he may no longer be pursuing a career in music, he still plays often. In fact, he sees surgery and the trumpet as complementary.

“They’re intricately linked,” he said. “The technical skills really support each other.”

Andrew Joseph