Hommage au Pr Dominique CHOPIN - The vision that a true academic urologist should dedicate his career not only to education and patient care but also to research

14 juillet 2006

Auteurs : Jean DeKernion
Référence : Prog Urol, 2005, 15, 6, 1210, suppl. 1

Dominique Chopin had a vision that the true academic urologist should dedicate his career not only to education and patient care but also to research. He felt strongly that a skilled clinician had a special opportunity to apply basic research to the diseases that he diagnosed and treated daily. It was this concept that prompted him to come to UCLA in 1982. During his research fellowship, he was known for his kindness, collegiality, intelligence, and hard work. He formed alliances between the clinical departments and the basic immunology research laboratories. It was the early era of monoclonal antibody research, and he seized the opportunity to apply this new research method to the study of human bladder cancer. He immersed himself in the laboratory with the zeal of a true basic scientist, and through his intellectual honesty, intelligence, and generous personality established close friendships and important connections with prominent, clinical, and basic science researchers. This produced important results. He was one of the first to develop monoclonal antibodies against bladder cancer and demonstrated that these monoclonal antibodies selectively bonded to cancers in the bladder. He was one of the first urologists to publish bladder cancer basic science research and continued this interest after he returned to France. He proved that an excellent, clinical urologist could also make contribution to the science of urological cancers, and he inspired a number of our young residents and fellows to pursue careers in academic urology.

His accomplishments are too many to enumerate in this short tribute. He published a total of almost 300 papers, most in important competitive journals. His expertise extended beyond cancer into the rapidly expanding field of minimally invasive urology. Professor Chopin received many honors throughout his career, was a member of all the prestigious international journals, and played an important role in French urology and all of European urology. During his career in France, he was fully committed to continuing a basic research laboratory. By extremely hard work, sometimes against significant odds, he managed to maintain a productive laboratory program and continue the research he began early in his career. Even when seriously ill, he continued to pursue his research. Dominique was a prototype of what is now known as the "translational researcher", who not only understands and performs basic research, but also brings the research from the bedside to the patient. Only over the past decade have world scientific organizations realized the importance of the translational investigator, and translational research is now one of the most important initiatives in most national cancer institutions. He was one of the first to accomplish this role.

Above all, Dominique Chopin was a wonderful friend to many of us, and those friendships were maintained until the time of his passing. He was an excellent scientist who understood and sought truth and performed his work with dignity and honesty. His exemplary character and devotion to his research serve as examples to all young urologists. All of urology has indeed lost one of its finest professors, and we have all lost a dear friend. However, our memories of him and his contributions to our specialty will not be forgotten.