Boaz Arzi with his surfboard

Photo: Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

Surfing Surgeon

by | Nov 1, 2015 | Animal Science, Fall 2015, Office Hours

Any day of surfing, said UC Davis veterinary surgeon Boaz Arzi, is “work-life balance at its best.” Passionate about his sport and his profession, the assistant professor finds the waves to be good medicine for the rigors of the operating room.

Arzi is reserved, focused and meticulous—just the person you want on the other end of a scalpel. But surprisingly, in both his professional and recreational worlds, he lives life a bit on the edge.

Working with veterinary and engineering researchers, he has helped adapt groundbreaking biomedical technology to regrow jawbones in dogs struck with cancer or by horrific injuries. Animals that once would have been left with severe facial disfigurements and impaired function now go home whole and healthy.

Also, a new stem-cell therapy that Arzi and his colleagues developed to treat cats with chronic inflammatory disease of the mouth is proving successful and may soon be used on a trial basis to treat humans with a similar disorder.

After weekdays spent in the operating room, laboratory or classroom, Arzi swaps his scrubs for a wetsuit and
heads to the coast.

“Going into the ocean changes the way you look at life,” he said. “When you feel the energy of the ocean, it’s mind-blowing.”