Photo: Courtesy of the Wistar Institute

What takes a man from checking midnight inventories at grocery stores in Ohio to directing one of the oldest private biomedical research institutes in the United States? Says the man who did it: strong values, great mentors, and a penchant for late nights.

"All you have to do is look at a person's bookshelf and you'll see what they value," explains Russel E. Kaufman, the recently appointed director and CEO of Philadelphia's Wistar Institute. In taking charge, Kaufman has stocked his shelves with those most dear to him. A shelf of genetics books, and another on blood disease and cancer speaks to the research conducted and interrupted through the years. Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie represents the importance of mentors; Kaufman credits his own mentors for propelling him into medical science. And, a Sir William Osler text reminds him how a physician...

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