Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Preston Campbell

Preston W. Campbell, III, M.D.

Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Article 08_B_pic_Campbell, Preston_web_sm.pngAfter graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Campbell earned his M.D. from the University of Virginia Medical School where he first became interested in cystic fibrosis as a CF camp counselor during the summer months. He was a Pediatric Resident and Chief Resident at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He then earned a diploma from the Liverpool (England) School of Tropical Medicine and became Director of the Department of Pediatrics at the Centre Medical Beraca, LaPointe, Haiti for two years.

Dr. Campbell subsequently returned to Vanderbilt to join the faculty and complete his Pediatric Pulmonology training. As director of the Vanderbilt Cystic Fibrosis Care Center, the center grew from 30 patients to over 300 patients in five years.

In 1998, Dr. Campbell joined the CF Foundation as the executive vice president for medical affairs in order to leverage his efforts and join an already exciting medical-scientific program. In addition to research, drug discovery and development, Dr. Campbell is responsible for overseeing clinical research, the CF Foundation’s network of specialty care centers, training programs and other medical components of the CF Foundation, including the national patient registry database.

In addition to his responsibilities at the CF Foundation, Dr. Campbell continues to see patients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

We asked Dr. Campbell to reminisce on his experiences in Biology while an undergraduate at Georgia Tech.

FALL 2014

Articles in this edition:

Who was your favorite Biology professors and what was special about them?

Dr. Strange was an excellent mentor for me and I always appreciated his interest in my growth as a biologist.

What was one of your most memorable experiences in the School of Biology and why?

Unfortunately this was months long experiment that was an absolute failure.  This was  very helpful because I understood for the first time that scientific progress is paved with many failures that are equally important learning opportunities. 

What was the most important lesson learned at Tech that has best served you in your career?

The most important lesson I learned was that we don’t begin to know what we would like to know as biologists so we should be free to question everything as we learn

Do you have some career advice for new generations of Tech Biology graduates?

This is an incredibly exciting time in biology.  Nearly every week, basic discoveries are changing the way we live on both global (think climate change) and personal (think genome sequencing) levels.  Similarly, the nature of a biology career is changing, expanding from more traditional teaching/discovery roles to public policy, biotechnology, ecological sustainability, ethics and philosophy, etc.  Future biology career opportunities will increasingly require skills to best use scientific knowledge as well as how to make new scientific discoveries.  I would encourage biology graduates to complement their scientific focus with other areas to acquire a broader perspective on the impact of biology around the world.