Lurie entered Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University. He captained its soccer and tennis teams and was president of its pre-med fraternity. He majored in biology and took graduate courses in genetics. Much of his time was spent in Hopkins biology labs, where he learned precision and the importance of choosing meaningful controls to experiments. He spent his summers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, assisting researchers in genetics and biochemistry. He graduated with honors and was chosen for Phi Beta Kappa.
He then entered Harvard Medical School. After his sophomore year, he interrupting his studies to do a Harvard Sophomorial Fellowship at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. There, in addition to lab research, he attended seminars led by four Nobel Prize winners: Watson and Crick, discoverers of the structure of DNA, and Monod and Jacob, discoverers of mRNA.
He returned to Harvard Med, graduating with honors and winning the Reznick Prize for Research for his work at Pasteur.
Thereafter, he interned in surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Following that, he entered the U.S. Public Service in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was a research fellow at the NIH. He also volunteered in an evening clinic in downtown Washington, D.C.
He returned to Boston to the emerging field of Emergency Medicine, where he treated a variety of physical and psychiatric patients. However, wanting to concentrate in one human system in depth, he chose his favorite subject from medical school, psychiatry, and entered a residency at McLean Hospital.