Discover what our faculty have been working on, and see the “non-clinical” side of the people in the Division of Nephrology 

September 22, 2017

Take 10: Interview with Dr. Nicolae Leca

We visited with Dr. Leca and discovered he enjoys advanced math and physics, as well as many other things!


Your accent is a giveaway that you didn't grow up in Seattle. 

Is there an accent? (laughs) Well, I’m from Romania. I lived there until 1998 when I moved to the United States.

I’ve heard it is very beautiful! Do you visit often? 

We do try to visit our family and friends, but not as often as we would like. Romania is a beautiful country and we have so many places there that we love.

Did you go to medical school in Romania?

Yes, I went to Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, in Bucharest.

What brought you to Seattle?

Ah! I love Seattle!  I first came to Seattle for our Honeymoon, in 1995. 

My father-in-law lived in Bellevue and we visited him. It was a beautiful summer! I remember Microsoft was launching their Windows operating system at that time and there were airplanes with banners all over the sky, advertising that.

When did you begin working at UWMC?

It was exactly 10 years later, after finishing the residency and fellowship in New York.

What inspires or motivates you in your work?

Transplant is a very rewarding clinical experience.  When you have someone on dialysis with end stage renal disease, and you see him or her transform so much with a transplant, getting healthier and better, it is very, very rewarding for me! Seeing my patients get better is inspiring and gets me motivated in my work.

If for some reason you could no longer be a Nephrologist what would you like to do instead?

I love what I am doing now, so I’m not sure I’d want to do something else.  I did start my training first in ophthalmology after Medical School, so that is still there a little bit. 

The path that I pursued in high school seemed to lead me to a different place. At that time I was into very advanced mathematics and physics. These days I get to enjoy that a little bit when going over homework with my kids. 

What is your favorite thing about living in Seattle? 

Seattle is all green and very nature oriented! And I am fortunate to enjoy all of it while I’m biking to work every day on the Burke-Gilman trail, even when it rains! It feels good.

When you go out, where do you like to go?

We don't go out as much as we would like, but we were lucky to find a few places we really enjoy. One of our favorites, when we go out with the kids, is a sushi place on Queen Ann where the plates are on a moving belt and we can start eating right away, which really helps when you are with the kids!

Sometimes, before attending a performance at Benaroya Hall, we like to stop at Wild Ginger, just next to the Symphony.

You're a symphony fan! 

Yes, we enjoy it very much! Dinner and a performance, it really makes for a great evening!  

You have 3 children?

Yes! 12, 16 and, wow, our older son is 18 and is going to college this fall!

Having 3 kids is kind of a Nephrology thing!  A lot of us (in the Division) have three kids.

They're probably very busy at their ages.

Yes! But we try to spend as much time together as we can, from helping with the math homework at home, to a fun outing at Leavenworth, and even a drive in the busy traffic to the soccer practices. Although, lately, the older ones have become more and more independent in their activities, they still find us pretty acceptable drivers for them and their friends (laughs).

Do you have time for reading? Can you recommend a good book?

My youngest son keeps putting this book in front of me…. He’s very passionate about his books so every time he reads something I have to read it, too.  He is now reading a book called Sasquatch. 

But I am also reading a book by Brian Greene, called The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. It is fun, and I cannot read too much at once because it’s kind of complicated. I’m always fascinated by the new developments in physics, in nuclear physics and the quantum mechanics and all this stuff….It’s fun!

What about music? Do you have a favorite style, other than going to the sypmphony?

I listen to everything!  Usually I like upbeat music.  I have a subwoofer in my car. That thing cranks up! (laughs). And at home, I team up with my daughter and sing-along on ABBA (more her, then me, for obvious reasons...). She knows by heart the whole track from Mamma Mia. I would say that my daughter is my favorite singer...and instrument player! I enjoyed it the most when she brought her ukulele on one of our camping trips and learned new songs at the campfire. It was so much fun!

You seem pretty positive overall. Does anything bug you?

Yes! The one thing that drives me crazy is when people are eating crunchy food during a meeting or in a lecture hall.  When taking classes for my Masters degree, someone always had to eat crunchy stuff during the lecture! MAN! I felt like yelling to them, “Get out of here, if you need to chew on THAT!” But of course, I didn't say it... (much laughter)