George Laliotis is a physician and scientist located in Baltimore, Maryland, who specializes in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Oncology. Possessing a deep knowledge in clinical indications, medical affairs, and methodologies, George has certifications from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins School of Engineering, and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He is also certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
In 2017, after graduating from the medical school at the University of Crete, a research-oriented institution, George came to the United States to continue his education and research, concentrating on cancer biology in the field of Oncology and Hematology.
These days, George Laliotis is in the process of transferring his medical knowledge over to the private sector in order to advance his research and further his treatment techniques in the hopes of helping the greatest possible number of people. He is currently working hard to launch a business based around vastly improving the traditional method of treating cancer patients. Put simply, George Laliotis has developed a strategy to combat cancer by leveraging the pathway for RNA metabolism in cancer cells and targeting the development of new drugs, which is a more sophisticated way to target specific forms of cancer than is currently in practice. If successful, the development of these drugs will completely transform patient care, making chemotherapy obsolete. Rather than trying to kill every cell in the body, using these RNA pathways, the targeted drugs are personalized for the specific tumor types in each individual patient. This innovative scientific solution holds a great deal of promise to be a catalyst for the evolution of patient care, not only regarding cancer, but for a multitude of disorders.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I remember when I was in middle school, we visited the National Museum. I watched an exhibition on some very low-level biological experiments, and I remember the biologist was trying to extract something using pure alcohol and some other chemicals. He said it was a way to extract DNA. It was simplistic; it was like cooking. At the time, I remember thinking, ‘I can do that on my own.’ So from that day forward, every once in a while, I would use alcohol to extract DNA the same way that biologist demonstrated. Doing so made me happy and proud of myself.
In high school, I studied biology and physics, and I was in love with math. After a certain point, I knew that I wanted to be a biologist and have a career in healthcare. Back then, everyone used to tell me that, because I was so patient and kind, I should consider becoming a physician instead of a biologist. So, I spoke with a family friend who had trained to be a physician at Harvard Medical School. He educated me on what it is like to be a physician and how to become one, should I choose to pursue it.
Both that simple experiment at the National Museum and that conversation with my family friend greatly impacted my decision to become a scientist and a physician.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my morning at 5:30 am. First, I quickly check if anyone has tried to contact me during the night or early morning. If they have, and if it’s something extremely urgent, I will address the issue right away. Otherwise, I work out at the gym for almost an hour. When I get home, I shower, have my coffee, and I start my workday at 7 am. Between 10 and 11 am, people usually start contacting me with the business of the day. After addressing these messages and emails, I take three or four hours to focus on analysis, as well as anything else that has to be done, and I always do so in a very meticulous and organized manner. Then I prioritize my meetings and follow-ups. By 1:30 pm, I’ll take 30 minutes to break for lunch and watch some historical videos on YouTube. After lunch, I’ll take another block of three hours or so to perform more demanding tasks, such as data analysis, planning, and writing focused reports. I work until 7:30 or 8 pm, and I go to bed around 11 or 11:30 pm.
How do you bring ideas to life?
One of the primary ways I bring ideas to life is through collaboration with others. I start by learning the science behind whatever matters I’m addressing and reading the latest published papers written by leaders in the field. Sometimes I attend conferences, and I speak often with mentors and other learned professionals. Then, ideas can be formulated in my mind. Later, after I’ve developed them a bit more, I discuss how the ideas are evolving with colleagues. I find their input quite valuable.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I get very excited about the use of sophisticated computational tools for clinical data. The information they produce saves time and is extremely accurate.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One of the things that makes me most productive is my hour-long workout first thing in the morning. If I don’t have my workout, I find that my energy level drops.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be more patient and try not to work quite so hard. It pays to work smarter, not harder. Find the balance between your career, your research, and your personal life. In addition to your job, enjoy friends, family, and the activities that you love.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I discussed this question with my wife earlier. I strongly believe relationships between people are not as hard as many people believe. Especially regarding marriage. Now, I’ve had this discussion with friends who think this statement is something of an oversimplification, but for me, relationships are very easy to maintain. Although a marriage in particular requires a lot of work, if it’s broken down into small components, it’s actually very easy. Being happy and respectful nurtures healthy relationships, and if you add love to that equation, fosters a healthy marriage.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Travel every once in a while. Everyone wants to try new places, but some people never follow through on that desire. As someone once said, travel broadens the mind and nourishes the soul.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
As a scientist, the single best strategy is being accountable to your colleagues. It is very important. People will be more honest and open with you when you take responsibility for yourself. When someone is open, accountable, and trusted, more can be shared and more can be learned. Another important strategy is to continually educate yourself. Learning new theories, new techniques, and new skills helps to keep you ahead in the game of life.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One situation I had to overcome was when I had a very unfortunate relationship with one of my former professors and bosses. But that situation taught me so many things—not only about science, but about the nature of supervisor/mentor relationships, as well. It taught me the importance of patience and kindness with your colleagues. It also taught me that if a long-term research relationship isn’t working out, the wisest thing to do is just move on to the next challenge.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would suggest anything involving artificial intelligence. I believe AI is going to transform nearly every industry, and a lot sooner than many people might think.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a specific version of some software that went over very well at work. It has helped us perform many different analyses, and it performs them meticulously and accurately.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The piece of software that I referred to in my previous answer helps me to be extremely productive. It’s called R Studio, and it performs data analysis, data visualization, cleaning of the data, merging of the data, as well as several other incredibly useful functions.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend a book called The Saviors of God by Nikos Kazantzakis. Every time I read it I get something different out of the text. It might be a little heavy, but it’s a very, very rewarding read.
What is your favorite quote?
“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
- Collaborating with trusted colleagues is an excellent way to bring ideas to life.
- Accountability is important in a professional setting, especially in science.
- Never stop educating yourself.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.