Associate Professor, Pathology & Immunology/Internal Medicine
Works primarily at: Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center & Ben Taub Hospital
What is your subspecialty and what made you choose it?
I am board certified in clinical pathology, molecular genetic pathology and medical microbiology. I originally thought I was going to be an internist and changed to pathology after my intern year in internal medicine. The internship was an invaluable experience that helped solidify my understanding of how the health care system works and how you treat an individual patient at the bedside. Having had experiences in medical microbiology and doing an MPH with a thesis in HIV/AIDS, I naturally gravitated to the field. Obviously, molecular diagnostics has become increasingly important in infectious diseases and I spent a significant amount of time working on related projects while in residency at Vanderbilt and in my medical microbiology fellowship at Yale. Out of my excitement and interest in molecular diagnostics, I decided to expand my molecular diagnostic skills, knowledge, and training by completing a fellowship in molecular genetic pathology at UNC Chapel Hill. This would allow me to also be involved in directing laboratories that include testing for inherited disease, hematology, and oncology for which I also had interest.
What drew you to the BCM Department of Pathology & Immunology? Why should a pathology applicant pick BCM for residency?
I was looking for another opportunity and was focused on being selective about a new job. I wanted to join a department that exhibited excellence in pathology while at the same time being a collegial family-like environment. It was important to me that the institution be a part of a large academic medical center that had diverse patient populations, particularly those with HIV/AIDS and transplant. As an academic pathologist, I wanted to be heavily involved in resident and fellow teaching and research. I particularly enjoy mentoring and training in these two areas. Also, I felt that it was very important that there were extensive opportunities for collaborative clinical research, and I have not been disappointed. I also wanted to be in a department that would be supportive of developing a new medical microbiology fellowship program. From my perspective, I think it is important to be in a program that has good Clinical Pathology training. Many programs are good at training anatomic pathologists but may not have a strong enough clinical pathology program. At Baylor, we have excellent training in both areas which will make you very well prepared when you leave here to begin your journey elsewhere. I would also add that at Baylor, you will have high quality residents and fellows that can guide and support you as you develop from year one through year four of the program.
What is the most rewarding/best part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is teaching residents, fellows, and students in the department. A close second is the expansion of our molecular diagnostic pathology service through development, validation, and implementation of new, high complexity tests such as Real-Time PCR for the COVID-19 virus.
What advice would you give to incoming residents?
Remember that training and learning is not a sprint, it's a marathon and you don't have to know everything in your first year! :) Shoot, the more I practice in pathology, the less I feel that I know. Of course, we are all in this together and that is the rewarding part of practicing pathology in an excellent academic Pathology Department. When you start here, remember that I am available to consult on your infectious disease pathology slides if needed!
What type of cell would you be and why?
If I were a cell, I would be Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This infectious bacterium is one of the most complex and versatile. It can produce several colorful pigments, be heavily mucoid or non-mucoid, has a type III secretion system, and can smell like grapes!
What is your favorite movie/TV genre?
Science Fiction/Fantasy and Action. Who wouldn't enjoy Alien, Terminator 2-Judgement Day, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, Mad Max Fury Road, Star Wars, the Matrix Trilogy, and Brave Heart!