Leo Furcht, MD, originally from the east coast, came to the University of Minnesota in the winter of 1972 to begin his residency. Upon completion, his interest quickly turned to research. 

“I had been interested in research ever since I began Medical School. About mid-way through, I started taking graduate classes and became very intrigued with cancer viruses,” says Furcht.

During this time, he received a career development award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “My focus had been looking at cancer metastasis. Many cancers could be curable if found early enough before they spread,” he explains.

Having been at the University of Minnesota for over 40 years, Furcht has left an unequivocal legacy not only through his groundbreaking research but also his leadership.

Shift to Leadership

After a successful research career, Furcht decided that he wanted to make the shift into an administrative role, to help improve the entirety of the Medical School.

“By taking on new responsibilities in administration, I could direct large resources that I might be able to get individually in grants, and take those to help improve the Medical School as a whole,” he explains.

And indeed, Furcht has made a huge impact on the Medical School as the result of his administrative roles. Perhaps most notable, though, was the establishment of the MD/PhD program.

Rapid Changes

Over the years, Furcht witnessed first-hand the change and evolution of the Medical School. “The deal with change and research and education is beyond anything in my wildest dreams,” he exclaims.

One of the greatest achievements he has noticed is a change in the scientific and computer capabilities that allow doctors to do their jobs more consistently and efficiently.

“Even science fiction wouldn’t have dreamt of this. That’s what has been so exciting about coming to work every day,” he says.

Never Ending Excitement

Furcht credits so much of this change and evolution to the high aspirations of his colleagues at the Medical School, as well as trainees and students.

“I’ve been offered many jobs throughout my career and but I’ve always felt I was better off at the University of Minnesota. Now I know after the fact, I was indeed better off,” he says.

The excitement never fades for Furcht, as every day presents a new opportunity for discovery. “Every day and every month is a continually rewarding circumstance for me in this institution,” he says.