2015 Tillman Scholar

Fabian Suchy

Stanford University
Ph.D., Stem Cell Biology

“Although the war overseas may taper to an end, I’m by the veterans’ side to fight the battle to recovery at home.”

In search of freedom, Fabian’s family emigrated from Czechoslovakia to provide a free life for themselves and their children. Having witnessed the destruction of liberty by the communist occupation in Eastern Europe, Fabian believes that since he is capable and willing to fight against repression of freedom, that it is his obligation to do so. Honored to be born an American citizen, it was an overwhelming sense of responsibility that guided Fabian towards enlistment at the age of 18.

As a combat medic, Fabian witnessed the need for regenerative medicine early in his career. Having had a brief clinical rotation at the Brooke Area Medical Center burn unit, it was while watching a skin graft surgery that Fabian first realized a major need in regenerative medicine to produce a relatively simple organ such as skin. After spending over two years in the Middle East, Fabian witnessed how advancements in body armor, emergency medicine and evacuation procedures have allowed soldiers and civilians to survive previously fatal forces. Although survivable, these conflicts result in lifelong disabilities including multiple amputations, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage—wounds considered less common in other wars because they were often fatal.

Having learned the profound impact of “hope” during his 11 years of treating patients and witnessing injuries as a combat medic has forced his ambition to the field of research where he intends to deliver hope and finish the treatment he started years ago on the battlefield. Throughout his career, Fabian plans to improve the human condition through advances in regenerative medicine, ultimately aimed toward transplanting new or repairing damaged tissues and organs. Through the Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine PhD program at Stanford University, Fabian is receiving the foundation necessary to perform translational research and in ten years, hopes to become a faculty member in an academic setting.