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Happy National Med Lab Week – A Q&A with Gabrielle Wolff, MLT

April 24, 2015
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2015-04-21 09.20.26National Med Lab Week is  April 22 – April 25, LMP always takes part in National Medical Laboratory Week – the annual celebration of our medical laboratory professionals who play a critical role in every aspect of health care.

From Tuesday through Friday this week we’ll be profiling a few of the different types of laboratory professionals that make up the Laboratory Medicine Program team. We’ve already met JenniferPow Lee, Shabnam Salehi-Rad and Deepa Binu – today we get to hear from Gabrielle Wolff in histology.

Read about Gabi’s role in the laboratory and the value she brings to patient care at UHN:

What is your position? I am a Senior MLT

What do you do here? I work in the Histology lab.

Why did you get into lab medicine? One of my aunts was an MLT and she used to take me to the lab every once in a while to see what she did. I always thought the lab was an exciting, interesting place where important work was done.

How did you get started at UHN? I was a student here.

What is your favourite part of the job? When pathologists come back to us and tell us that our efforts helped a certain patient.

What is the most challenging part of the job? Keeping up with the constant change.

What value would you say you add to patient care? I would say we help ease patient anxiety by delivering results in a timely manner. Patients are usually waiting to hear whether they have cancer or not and the wait can be extremely difficult for them.

National Med Lab Week is all about promoting the work of laboratory professionals – what do you wish people knew about the work that goes on inside the lab? I’d like patients to know that despite the limitations of resources we have to work with, we work very hard to get the results out as quickly as possible. We sometimes stay late, work through lunch and get up in the middle of the night to come in and get the work done on their samples so that they can either get their results or get on with their treatment.

Happy National Med Lab Week – A Q&A with Deepa Binu

April 23, 2015
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2015-04-22 13.45.23National Med Lab Week is  April 22 – April 25, LMP always takes part in National Medical Laboratory Week – the annual celebration of our medical laboratory professionals who play a critical role in every aspect of health care.

From Tuesday through Friday this week we’ll be profiling a few of the different types of laboratory professionals that make up the Laboratory Medicine Program team. We’ve already met JenniferPow Lee and Shabnam Salehi-Rad and today we get to talk with Deepa Binu from molecular genetics.

Read about Deepa’s role in the laboratory and the value she brings to patient care at UHN:

What is your position? Medical Laboratory Technician in Molecular Genetics

What do you do here? I receive, accession and process samples including blood, bone marrow, tissues and other body fluids for RNA and DNA based testings.

Why did you get into lab medicine? The medical profession is a noble profession as it is directly responsible for saving lives of people, which gives me lot of honor. It was my childhood dream to do something beneficial to mankind.

How did you get started at UHN? I started as a Volunteer in the Pathology Slide library, and later hired to work in the Pathology Research Program.

What is your favourite part of the job? I get to learn something new everyday and the work enviornment where I am surrounded by pleasant and intelligent people.

What is the most challenging part of the job? Handling the huge volume of specimens daily and prioritizing the work load.

What value would you say you add to patient care? Laboratory professionals provide services contribute to maximize the effective delivery of care by assuring that correct test is done on the right person at the right time.

National Med Lab Week is all about promoting the work of laboratory professionals – what do you wish people knew about the work that goes on inside the lab?  People mostly get to see what the front line nursing and medical staff do for them.   I wish  they could know more about what clinical laboratory staff do in providing the diagnostic information necessary to assist physicians in making the best decisions for a patients course of treatment.  This allows the patient to be treated at the most appropriate level of care for the most appropriate period of time. Without laboratory information, these decisions would be compromised at best.

Happy National Med Lab Week – A Q&A with Shabnam Salehi-Rad, MLT

April 22, 2015
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National Med Lab Week is  April 22 – April 25, LMP always takes part in National Medical Laboratory Week – the annual celebration of our medical laboratory professionals who play a critical role in every aspect of health care.

From Tuesday through Friday this week we’ll be profiling a few of the different types of laboratory professionals that make up the Laboratory Medicine Program team. We’ve already met Jennifer and Pow Lee, today we talk with Shabnam Salehi-Rad from cytogenetics.

Read about Shab’s role in the laboratory and the value she brings to patient care at UHN:

2015-04-14 13.27.23What is your position? I am a Cytogenetics Technologist working in the Cytogentics lab at TGH.

What do you do here? I look at karyotypes of patients to determine if there are any abnormalities within their chromosomes. Chromosomal abnormalities are consistently found in various types of cancers and I look to see if any abnormalities exist within these patients. I also score FISH (fluorescent in-situ hybridization) cases which is a test performed in the dark to determine if there are abnormalities within patient samples that could also mean the presence of cancer.  I am able to perform both the hands on laboratory work (wet lab) as well as the analytical part (dry lab) on the samples that come through our lab.

Why did you get into lab medicine? I was in research after I completed my university degree but I knew that was not for me.  I wanted to be in an environment where my findings made a direct impact on the treatment of a patient.  I also love working in a laboratory setting.  You are able to work as part of a team as well as have your own individual responsibilities.  In addition, my research background and interest was in genetics.  Therefore, with further training and education I was able to continue working in the genetics field but in a diagnostic setting.

How did you get started at UHN? I came to UHN about four years ago.  At the time I was living and working in Sudbury but wanted to find a job in Toronto, where I am originally from.  I applied for a job opening in the Cytogenetics Laboratory and was fortunate to get the position.

What is your favourite part of the job? My job allows me to take part in rotations within the lab. For example, for a couple of weeks I may be doing FISH scoring and then move on to FISH laboratory work or karyotyping. This gives me a chance to take part in most of the rotations within the lab and also provides me with variation in my job. In addition, I am and have been involved in a few projects that has allowed us to improve our laboratory workflow or introduce new tests.  This lets me take on new responsibilities and learn new things.

What is the most challenging part of the job? The most challenging part of the job is not to feel overwhelmed.  There are so many samples we deal with on a weekly basis for various different tests and we lack the manpower to take care of all of them immediately.  Therefore we have to prioritize cases, this sometimes causes backlogs and sometimes I feel overwhelmed because I want each patient to get a result as soon as possible.   However, I know that we are all working as hard as we can and we are doing our best to send out results as fast as possible.

What value would you say you add to patient care? Cytogenetics is a very specialized field and our results mean a great deal when it comes to patient care and treatment. There are times that our results will determine whether a patient will get a certain type of treatment or not and for this reason I as a cytogenetics technologist add value to patient care.

National Med Lab Week is all about promoting the work of laboratory professionals – what do you wish people knew about the work that goes on inside the lab? Most people don’t know much about the field of Cytogenetics.  I wish someone could give a short presentation on what kinds of tests we do and how that impacts a patient and the care they receive at UHN.

Happy National Med Lab Week – A Q&A with Pow Lee Cheng, MLT

April 21, 2015
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National Med Lab Week is  April 20 – April 24, LMP always takes part in National Medical Laboratory Week – the annual celebration of our medical laboratory professionals who play a critical role in every aspect of health care.

From Tuesday through Friday this week we’ll be profiling a few of the different types of laboratory professionals that make up the Laboratory Medicine Program team. You’ve already read about Jennifer from Blood Transfusion, and today we highlight Pow Lee Cheng from our core lab.

Read about Pow Lee’s role in the laboratory and the value she brings to patient care at UHN:

2015-04-14 13.37.12What is your position? Charge MLT in Biochemistry-core lab

What do you do here? My main duties and responsibilities are to ensure the reporting of timely and accurate results. My responsibilities include performing bench duties; facilitating the validation and implementation of new tests and instrumentation; supervising, organizing, assigning and distributing workload among technical staff; scheduling of staff at three sites, maintaining adequate inventories and supplies; documenting and reporting discrepancies/errors and taking appropriate corrective actions; to provide supervision and assistance in the training of Med Lab students and staff.  In addition, I submit EQA surveys, track and present the Biochemistry Quality Management report; maintain Paradigm documents and liaise with Manager, Biochemists, and MLT on issues relating to daily lab operations.

Why did you get into lab medicine? I like experiments and chemistry and the enthusiasm led to a career in lab medicine.

How did you get started at UHN? I was hired in 1981 and started working in the Toronto General Biochemistry Lab. The Lab was located on 3ES, as it is now. However, in the past 34 years, many changes have taken place. The Greiners, an engineering marvel (or nightmare, depending on whose perspectives!), which were then our main instruments had long been replaced with advanced instrumentation and automation. We also took a trip to Elm Street, and came home with a new name: Laboratory Medicine Program, UHN. 3ES is now the home of Corelab, with Biochemistry working together with teams from Specimen Management, Call Center, Hematology, Diagnostic/Development and Specialty Lab.

What is your favorite part of the job? My favorite part of the job is working at the bench: training, mentoring and sharing the successes and accomplishments of our staff and students. Laboratory Medicine is a journey of continuous discoveries. There is always this sense of excitement each time when the lab professionals embarking on this journey reach ad new milestone, which advances clinical tool to improve patient diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

What is the most challenging part of the job? It is a challenge to remain organized and to manage time: I often find myself being derailed from a planned schedule to address unexpected incidents and to meet individual requests.

What value would you say you add to patient care? The fact I have a responsibility to ensure the reporting of timely and accurate results.

National Med Lab Week is all about promoting the work of laboratory professionals – what do you wish people knew about the work that goes on inside the lab? I would like everyone to know that we are the teams of dedicated lab professionals working extremely hard behind every result used in patient diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Happy National Med Lab Week – A Q&A with Jennifer O’Neill, MLT

April 20, 2015
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National Med Lab Week is  April 20 – April 24, LMP always takes part in National Medical Laboratory Week – the annual celebration of our medical laboratory professionals who play a critical role in every aspect of health care.

From Tuesday through Friday this week we’ll be profiling a few of the different types of laboratory professionals that make up the Laboratory Medicine Program team. Today is Jennifer O’Neill from our Blood Transfusion Laboratory.

Read about Jennifer’s role in the laboratory and the value she brings to patient care at UHN:

2015-04-14 14.58.56What is your position? Medical laboratory technologist.

What do you do here? I work in the blood transfusion laboratory.  Our role is to test patient and donor blood to ensure it is compatible and safe for the patient.  We also have to carefully manage our inventory, as blood products are a very valuable, limited resource.

Why did you get into lab medicine? I completed an undergraduate degree in biology and found that I really enjoyed clinical science and immunology so I continued my education in medical laboratory science.  The work is very rewarding and there are always opportunities to learn new things.

How did you get started at UHN? Some of my classmates completed their clinical placements for our laboratory science program at UHN and had a great experience.  When I saw an opportunity available, I jumped at the chance to work here.

What is your favourite part of the job? The hands on work and quick turn around times keep laboratory medicine exciting.  Every day there are new challenges and opportunities to learn.

What is the most challenging part of the job? Time management. We supply blood products to a wide range of hospital areas: operating rooms, transfusion clinics, the ER, and various patient floors; and many of our patients require special considerations for their blood products.  Our lab can be very busy, so staying organized is very important.

What value would you say you add to patient care? Although we do not interact with patients directly, our primary goal is always patient safety.  All the policies and procedures that we follow in the lab are to ensure our products are helping our patients.

National Med Lab Week is all about promoting the work of laboratory professionals – what do you wish people knew about the work that goes on inside the lab? How much effort is made to ensure test results are accurate and blood products are safe.  We spend a great deal of time on quality control and quality assurance.

National Med Lab Week 2015 – Schedule Details

April 17, 2015
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IMG_3956Next week is National Medical Laboratory Week!
During the week of April 20 – April 24, LMP will be taking part in National Medical Laboratory Week (NMLW) – the annual celebration of our medical laboratory professionals who play a critical role in every aspect of health care.

Throughout NMLW, LMP’s Professional Development Committee has planned several lunch time education sessions for lab staff – see below and come out to a session:

Monday April 20

“Sense and Sensitivity: Troponin’s New Era in Cardiac Testing” by Dr. Paul Yip

11 am – 12 noon, 11th Floor Pathology Conference Room. TGH

Tuesday April 21

“Candy Green Crush: Amyloid Subtyping by Mass Spectrometry” by Dr. Vathany Kulasingam

12 noon – 1 pm, 11th Floor Pathology Conference Room, TGH

Wednesday April 22

“Monoclonal B Cell Lymphocytosis, Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma, and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia” by Dr. Graeme Quest

12 noon – 1 pm, Astellas Conference Room, 11th Floor, Munk Building, TGH

Thursday April 23

“LMP’s Quality Management System – From Concepts to Practice” by Mary Fountas

11:30 – 12:30 pm, 11th Floor Pathology Conference Room, TGH

Friday April 24

Concussions and Alzheimer’s Research by Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati

12 noon – 1 pm, Astellas Conference Room, 11th Floor, Munk Building, TGH

Pathology Resident wins Stowell-Orbison Award at USCAP

April 9, 2015
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Tao Wang - PictureRecently, at the 2015 United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) annual meeting, LMP’s Dr. Tao Wang, a pathology resident with Dr. Ming Tsao was awarded the Stowell-Orbison Award for his poster presentation on “Senescent Fibroblasts Upregulate Cytokines That Can Increase Pancreatic Cancer Invasion.”

We talked with Dr. Wang about his work and where he hopes to go next with his research.

“I study the fibroblast cells that make up the microenvironment around pancreatic cancer cells. While the fibroblasts are not cancerous themselves, they can alter the behaviour of the cancer cells. My experiments have shown that some fibroblasts around the cancer can assume an “aged” or senescent behavioural pattern,” explained Dr, Wang.

“These cells no longer proliferate, but they secrete higher levels of various signalling molecules that increase the ability of the cancer to invade and metastasize. Some of these signalling molecules, such as IL8, may be therapeutically targetable. By better understanding both the cancer and its surrounding microenvironment, scientists and physicians can develop new therapies that target both components, which will hopefully lead to better patient outcomes,” he said.

Dr. Wang has worked in Dr. Tsao’s lab for the last two years as a pathology resident and is enrolled in the molecular pathology research fellowship program.

“I believe the work I am doing may be relevant to many other cancers as well, which also have similar cells in their microenvironment. I would love to continue to explore this phenomenon in both pancreatic and other cancers,” he continued. “The other important aspect is testing therapeutics that target the pathways altered by these senescent fibroblasts.”

“Ultimately, the goal is to establish new treatment strategies and options for cancer patients,” he added.

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