Dr. Klett is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology and metabolism. His specialty areas include general endocrinology, thyroid disease, lipid disorders, and transgender medicine.

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Eric Klett, MD

What brought you to UNC Medical Center?

After a brief stint in private practice, I wanted to restart an academic research career in medicine. I contacted Dr. John Buse who took a chance on me and I have been at UNC now for 9 years.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I spent my 20-30s in South Carolina, getting my undergraduate degree and graduating from medical school, then my residency and fellowship training.

Did you always want to be a doctor?

No, I originally wanted to be a Navy pilot but changes in my vision precluded me from this path. I then became interested in biochemistry and molecular biology, and thought I would obtain a PhD in either biochemistry or molecular biology. However, I was encouraged to go to medical school, took the MCAT and was accepted. Interestingly, while I am a physician I spend a majority of my time still in the lab.

How did you choose your specialty?

My parents can attest to the fact that I always wanted to find out how things work. I took apart many small appliances as a youth. This curiosity to figure out how things works has stayed with me. Endocrinology and metabolism is a specialty that appeals to my inquisitive nature.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

I enjoy having the ability to have my hands in different areas. One day I can be in the lab all day performing an experiment, the next I am discussing experimental designs with my post-doc and students, and the next I am seeing patients. I hope someday I can take what I learn from the bench and apply it to the care of my patients.

What are some of the new developments in your field of specialty?

As the prevalence of obesity and diabetes increases there is a great deal of interest in stemming the tide. It is an exciting time to be a researcher in the field in obesity and diabetes. We have new therapies to treat diabetes and there are different approaches (medical and surgical) to treat obesity.

Is there a particular achievement (professional or personal) that has been most gratifying to you?

The most gratifying to me is to see the students and fellows I teach go on to achieve their goals.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

One of my mentors told me that I will have successes and failures. Each success and failure has something that you can learn from. From the failures analyze what you did wrong and don’t repeat the mistake. From your successes analyze what you did right and keep doing it.

If you weren’t a physician, what would you like to be doing?

I’d like to think I would be involved in some sort of scientific field. I am still fascinated by aeronautics and flight. So if not in medicine/biomedical research, I think I’d be working for Space X or NASA.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

I enjoy biking, hiking, watching soccer, watching ice hockey and spending time with my family.

Do you have a favorite quote or life motto?

“My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” –Forrest Gump, 1994

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