Dr Leo Martis – Mangalorean Star

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Dr Leo Martis – Mangalorean Star

Dr Leo Martis, a rare jewel, born on June 3, 1945 in Pangala, about 30 miles away from Mangalore, a small town, known for jasmine flowers. He is the proud son of Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Apoline Martis. Dr. Martis is the first child among sibship of seven. He has four brothers – Peter, Henry, Edwin and Harry, and two sisters – Jacintha and Nancy.

Dr. Martis attended St. John’s Higher Elementary School in Pangla. He holds a B.S. in physics and chemistry from the University of Mysore, a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Bombay, India. Dr. Martis came to USA in August, 1968 to pursue his higher education. He holds a master’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Washington, Seattle. He also holds a master’s of business administration (MBA) from Northwestern University and is board certified in toxicology, the study of poisonous materials and their effects on living organisms. He also serves as an adjunct professor of pharmacodynamics at the University of Illinois and as a diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology. He is the third catholic to attend college and first to go abroad for higher education from Pangla. He has won numerous awards during his academic years of grade school thru college.

Dr Martis joined Baxter in 1974, in the company’s Morton Grove (Illinois) facility, which used to be Baxter’s headquarters before the Deerfield headquarters was built. In 1985, he moved to Round Lake (Illinois) as director of biomedical sciences and joined Renal as director of research in 1987.

In February, Baxter promoted Dr Martis, to Baxter Distinguished Scientist for the Renal business. He has spent the last 16 of his 29 years at Baxter in the Renal business, most recently as vice president of solutions research and development. He has earned 17 Baxter Technical Awards, 16 patents, and published numerous scientific articles and publications.

In April, 2003, Baxter Healthcare Corporation announced that it has named Dr Leo Martis, a ‘Baxter Distinguished Scientist’ for his accomplishments in nephrology research, technology and treatment development. Dr Martis is the research and development vice president and senior scientist for Baxter’s Renal business. He is the only one of four Baxter scientists to hold this title, the highest recognition in technical or scientific disciplines one can attain at Baxter. Additionally, award recipients must be recognized internationally for their scientific achievements. He is also the First Indian origin to secure this award!

“Leo has influenced virtually every historic and contemporary peritoneal dialysis (PD) solution used for treating end-stage renal disease (ESRD). He is an instrumental research force for Renal and his scientific expertise has enabled the development of critical treatments for patients on kidney dialysis. We are honored by his contributions and congratulate him on this much deserved award,” says William Owen, M.D., chief scientist for the Renal business and adjunct professor of medicine at Duke University. “I am honored to have such a brilliant scientist in our organization helping to develop our vision for next-generation PD solutions and other treatment modalities.”

Dr Martis tied the knot with Jacintha Castelino from Karkala on June 10, 1975. Together they have two sons, Sameeth – Senior at Indiana University, studying business; Nikhil – graduating from high school in June , 2003, and beginning seven-year program in medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr Martis is a very simple, ever smiling and an extremely down to earth person. When asked about his role models and their influence in his life, this is what he said:
“Several people have influenced me in my life. Three individuals who have had most influence in my life are, my father for teaching me the importance of hard work and discipline, my mother for teaching me the patience and simplicity, and my uncle, Maurice D’Sa (my mother’s brother who was a headmaster at St. John’s Higher Elementary School when I went to school there) for teaching me the importance of education.” Dr. Martis feels indebted to his wife Jacintha for her unconditional support and countless sacrifices since he used to spend long hours and extremely busy travel schedule. “Jacintha had to take care of most of children’s activities when they were small and there were many, “ he says.

Dr Martis loves to read, play tennis and golf, watch baseball, football and basketball
Here is what he has to say to the creators of Mangalorean.com portal:

“I congratulate the people who made possible on launching the mangalorean.com website. In spite of their busy schedules they have taken the time to create this site, clearly an act of valuable community service. They have taken the first step of creating the site and it is up to us to make it vibrant. I encourage all of you to build on what has been started by these creative and energetic individuals.”

Submitted by: Queenie Mendonca, Chicago

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