Antoine Hakim

Choosing a Path of Endless Discovery

He's gone from engineering to medical school to research. Now he'd like to go down a secluded nature trail, baroque music in his ears.


Antoine Hakim is a Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. We asked about everything from his love of nature to his desert island list to give you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?
Being a researcher is choosing a path of endless discovery, and because I am also a clinician, research allows me to bring science to the help of patients and to society.

What advice would you give young researchers?
Follow your heart. If what you are doing now does not feel right and something else is what is appealing to you, don’t be afraid to change direction.

Be an opportunist. If you see a task that could use your skills, don’t be afraid to ride the opportunity.

Practice resilience, because it will be needed as you go forward in the world.

What are you reading right now?
I am a lousy reader of novels; I lose patience. So a lot of what I read is scientific literature.

What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy being in nature, and we are fortunate in Canada that there is a lot of that. I am in the Gatineau area within 20 minutes of driving from Ottawa and there are some pretty isolated areas there I enjoy walking in. I am also addicted to music, particularly of the baroque era.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?
I have tried other professions and finally found the one I am in now. I started out in engineering, first chemical then biomedical, only to start medical school and eventually go into research. So I am staying in this profession!

Aside from things for your survival, what item would you most want to have with you on a deserted island?
I would have with me the ability to play and listen to music. It soothes the soul.

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