Achievement in the Sciences, 2013
Robert Phyliky was the envy of his classmates: he had a car on campus. His 1929 Model A Ford brought him from Morristown to Drew, and helped him take many off-campus jobs. Bob credits professors Joy Phillips, his mentor in biology, and Stanley Baker, for his success in pursuing science as a career.
After Drew, Bob earned his Doctor of Medicine degree at Albany Medical College in 1965. He then entered the U. S. Medical Corps, completing his residency in internal medicine at Brooke General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. In laboratory work—moonlighting to support a growing family—he discovered his interest in hematology while he reviewed blood counts and evaluated patients. He completed a hematology fellowship at the New England Medical Center, and is board certified in both specialties. Although he had expected to remain in the Army, the end of the Vietnam War allowed Bob to return to civilian life in 1975, with the Meritorious Service Medal. He had been chief of hematology at Brooke for two years, as well as assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Texas Medical School. He received the 1975 ALCADE Award in San Antonio for his role as medical advisor for the Bexar County Anemia Association.
His hematology studies gave Bob the chance to work with a colleague who had trained at the Mayo Clinic, paving the way for Bob’s own career at Mayo—a career that has spanned 38 years. His chief interest has been in leukemia in several of its forms, and he has helped develop clinical protocols for the management of leukemia patients. He was named a Distinguished Mayo Clinician in 2003, received the Peter Jay Sharp Distinguished Clinician Award in 2004, and has been named one of the Best Doctors in America. He has been a visiting professor at multiple colleges of medicine and has spoken in numerous conferences. His list of publications is impressive.
Bob is currently a consultant in Mayo’s Division of Hematology, and also serves on the Mayo Medical School’s admissions committee. He is very comfortable with the Clinic’s philosophy—a triad comprising research, patient care, and education with patient care foremost. He is pleased to be part of the great progress in leukemia treatment, which has made some types of the disease a nuisance rather than a tragedy.
Bob and his wife, Julia, who also studied at Drew, live in Rochester, Minnesota. They have been married for 53 years and have four married daughters, including a writer, an artist, a teacher, and a marine biologist, and 11 grandchildren. Bob enjoys golf, especially with his Drew friends, and is delighted that several of his family join in his passion for fly fishing.