Maciej M. Mrugala, MD, PhD, MPHDr. Mrugala treats primary glial brain tumors, primary central nervous system lymphoma, and neurofibromatosis. His research interests are in experimental therapeutics, and complications of treatments in neuro-oncology.
Maciej M. Mrugala, MD, PhD, MPH
Dr. Mrugala's Resume
- Alexander M. Spence Endowed Chair, Neuro-Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Chief, Division of Neuro-Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Surgery, Division of Neuro-Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Affiliate Investigator, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Primary glial brain tumors, primary central nervous system lymphoma, and neurofibromatosis; experimental therapeutics and complications of treatments in neuro-oncology
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Dr. Mrugala's Story
Dr. Maciej Mrugala earned his medical degree from the University of Warsaw Medical School, where he graduated with distinction in 1995. He went on to earn his Ph.D. at Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. His dissertation was entitled: “Neural precursor cells transplantation – application for regeneration of intact and post-traumatic mammalian brain.”
“I was always interested in biological sciences, particularly neurosciences,” Dr. Mrugala says, whose father is an orthopedic surgeon. “I was exposed to medicine since my early childhood; I frequently observed my father at work, eventually doing some clinical rotations in his hospital while in medical school and assisting him with surgeries. I was not considering any other career choices but medicine—I always knew this was the only and the right one for me. ENT (ear, nose, and throat) was another subspecialty I was interested in but “brain” eventually won and I became a neurologist with subspecialty in neuro-oncology – a fascinating and rapidly developing field.”
Dr. Mrugala came to the United States in 1999 for a medical internship at University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Center in Worcester, Mass., where he stayed on to complete a three-year neurology residency and became a chief resident. He was a clinical and research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Stephen E. and Catherine Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology in Boston from 2003 to 2006 and earned a Masters of Public Health degree from Harvard University in 2006. He then joined the University of Washington School of Medicine faculty and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He sees patients at University of Washington Medical Center.
Dr. Mrugala says his parents “thought one can get the best education through exposure to diverse experiences. The United States was the best choice to study medicine and health related sciences, which I did in part at the best university this country has to offer,” he says. “I worked as a researcher, clinical trainee, and eventually as faculty over the last 12 years.”
In addition to primary glial brain tumors, primary central nervous system lymphoma, and neurofibromatosis, Dr. Mrugala’s research interests are in experimental therapeutics, and complications of treatments in neuro-oncology. What he enjoys most about his profession is the contact he has with patients. “This is the most rewarding part of this job.” But he also appreciates the clinical challenges that allow for constant development, and he likes teaching. When time allows, research occupies the rest of his mind.
“In my lifetime, I hope to see progress in treatment of malignant brain tumors,” says Dr. Mrugala. “We are far behind other areas of oncology. I am also hoping our health-care system changes to allow for all individuals to have medical insurance.”
Away from work, when the opportunities arise, Dr. Mrugala is an avid alpine skier, and enjoys theatre and classical music. “Although, to my disappointment, I can’t play any instruments,” he says, “but some say I have green thumbs – and I do indeed enjoy gardening.”