Interview: Paolo Parini

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Role: Head of division, Professor, Senior physician/ Division: Clinical Chemistry

I wanted to be a nuclear physicist..

How long have you been at KI?

Since 1 September 1991.

What did you do before you started at LabMed?

I was a doctoral student and postdoctor at the Department of Medicine and then a doctor at the Endocrinology Clinic at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge.

What is a typical working day like for you?

Unfortunately, I start by checking my e-mail ON THE WAY to work. Then it depends on the meetings I have lined up. There are a great number of meetings in general. The days consist of clinical tasks, organisation of the department, work with the study programmes and courses, and conferences. I am chair of the Scandinavia Society for Atherosclerosis Research, where I'm responsible for various organisational tasks. And then there's the research on top of that.

What do you see as the advantages of working at LabMed?

You're close to clinical activities, but have more flexibility to conduct your own research.

What are the most important qualities for a manager to possess?

To be good at listening and understanding what others are communicating. To be fair and consistent.

Why did you choose to be a doctor?

I have always been curious about how the biological clock works and had an interest in finding faults and “fixing them”. I'm much more interested in curing diseases than in the individual themselves. During high school I decided I wanted to become a nuclear physicist but realised that the field was too limited. But medical science has a bit of everything - from maths, chemistry and physics to psychology, psychiatry and philosophy. A doctor is a person who needs to have 360-degree knowledge and sensitivity. Nuclear physicists are "too dry" for my taste, although you will also find many doctors who are more like nuclear physicists.

Was it studies and work that brought you to Sweden?

Yes. I was actually due to go to San Diego, USA, but had the opportunity to choose between that and Stockholm, so I chose Stockholm. At that time, Sweden was a leader in clinical research and that's what attracted me. I acquired my doctoral degree and primary specialisation in the digestive system at the University of Bologna in Italy. Then I came here to Sweden and did the extra studies required for a Swedish licence to practice, and eventually I also acquired my secondary specialisation. 

What is the most fun part of your job?

Starting the day. It's fun to lay the foundations for others to grow and bring their ideas to fruition - and to do the same myself.