Medical Director, Patient Registries, Genetech
Impact on my career:
The Sarnoff Fellowship solidified my interest in academic medicine. I had done a "mini" research project during my first two years of medical school, and I enjoyed my third year rotations, but I wanted to try out a full year of research to see if I wanted research to be part of my career plans. I matured significantly during that year, as I developed relationships with lab technicians, fellows, and really saw a research project through from start to finish. I also learned how to ask good research questions and how to review medical literature more critically. Research has been part of my career ever since. My primary research interests are in breast cancer now, but I owe the "spark" of interest to my Sarnoff year, where I gained significant appreciation for rigorous research methods.
Why should medical students consider Sarnoff apart from other programs:
Sarnoff has a strong alumni network that sets it apart. Although my Sarnoff fellowship year was 20 years ago, I still feel strong connections to Sarnoff Fellows from my same year and neighboring years. This network allows me to form an instant bond with other Sarnoff fellows when I visit other institutions, as we're in the same "club" and have a mutual shared experience. Sarnoff also allows a student to travel to any laboratory in the US, so the boundaries of geography are not an issue. Students have a very broad choice of laboratories where they can spend their fellowship year. These and many other perks (alumni dinners, annual meeting) are unique and really create career "stepping stones" that continue for decades.
I aspire to make a difference for patients with breast cancer. I hope my research can improve their survival as well as their quality of life. My research is clinical and I've receive formal training and mentorship in observational research methods. I've begun several cohorts, including a cohort of BRCA testers and a cohort of patients with metastatic breast cancer. I also aspire to make a difference for medical students. I enjoy mentoring and advising students who are particularly interested in career paths in medical research.
Greatest professional accomplishments:
At UCSF, I directed an innovative program called "Pathways" which allowed UCSF students to explore opportunities in and receive funding for quality research projects. This program integrated coursework, research experience, and a legacy product. Hundreds of UCSF students have benefitted from this program and it has allowed students to receive special distinctions upon graduation from medical school.
Most memorable Sarnoff event:
In the year after my Sarnoff fellowship, I returned for the annual meeting. It was an especially memorable weekend because of the juxtaposition of science, interesting people, and fun. A group of friends from prior years and later years had a great time talking about cardiovascular science during the days. And, our conversations continued well into the night, exploring bars and dance clubs in Georgetown. In those days, Mrs. Sarnoff had a lovely dinner at her home on Saturday night. She showed several of us medical students her amazing art collection, and was a gracious host and classy woman. Then, she hosted the group again on Sunday morning and offered up her tennis court for play. By Sunday, I met many new friends, was on a first-name basis with leaders in cardiovascular science, and had an opportunity to play tennis with "Lolo." The uniqueness of the Sarnoff was solidified by these annual meetings.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband Eric (a neuroscientist) and our daughters Megan (13 years old) and Anna (10 years old). Although I have no musical talent, I enjoy and appreciate music and I'm fortunate to be surrounded by musicians. I enjoy listening to my husband's rock/folk band and my daughters' musical theater productions where I often volunteer as a stagehand. I also enjoy running and have 3 marathons and several half-marathons under my belt.