"In three years, we will have cured many more people with hepatitis C than the market anticipated," he predicted.

A Virginia native whose parents both worked for the U.S. Army, Tamaddon majored in applied physics at Cornell University.

"I love numbers," Tamaddon said.

And that love of math and analyzing things drew him to the business world. He became a consultant after graduating in 1998, then spent two years in finance at Amazon.com before going to graduate school at Dartmouth College. It was there in 2002 that he encountered Bill Stromberg, head of global equity at Price, who was recruiting on the campus.

"I actually had never heard of T. Rowe Price. I really had not heard of stock. I didn't know this job existed," said Tamaddon, who initially didn't make the interview list with Price. "I literally dedicated the next three months of my life to getting a job at T. Rowe Price."

For example, he sent Price detailed 20- to 30-page analyses on stock picks. He offered to take executives in Price's research department out to lunch when he was in the area visiting his parents, although none took him up on the invitation.

Persistence paid off. He was hired as an intern in 2003, and after receiving his MBA in 2004, he joined Price as a health care analyst.

"Taymour stood out from the moment I met him — exceptionally bright, tenacious and full of positive energy. All of our reference checks confirmed that he was truly a special person," Stromberg wrote in an email. "During his internship, we saw that he was also incredibly hardworking, curious and a natural team-player."

Tamaddon covered stocks that made up 13 percent of the Health Sciences' portfolio. He said he covered a wider range of industries than other analysts, from specialty pharmaceuticals and medical technology to diagnostics, life sciences tools and health care services.

"The good news was in terms of preparing me to look at the broad health care universe, it was very diverse," he said. "In a sense it ended up being a blessing, but it made the first nine years a little more difficult."