American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
August 2007 Mentor of the Month Interview: Alan Wu
Biography
  1. What is your job title and affiliation?
  2. Briefly tell us about your educational and career background
  3. What are your Board certifications?
  4. With which professional societies/organizations (e.g. AACC) are you involved?
Career
  1. What area(s) do you specialize in?
  2. What initiated your interest in this (these) area(s) and how did you eventually choose this (these) area(s) for your career?
  3. What are your clinical and research interests?
  4. What, in your opinion, has been the most important contribution you have made to the field of laboratory medicine?
  5. Are there specific aspects of practicing laboratory medicine that you find unappealing?
  6. What were some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of your career?
  7. How would you recommend achieving an optimal work/life balance?
  8. What excites you about practicing laboratory medicine everyday?
  9. What are your predictions for advances in laboratory medicine and/or your area over the next ten years?
  10. What do you see as the challenges facing young scientists in laboratory medicine?
  11. What specific goals would you recommend that young scientists in your discipline set for themselves? Any suggestions on how to achieve them?
  12. Describe how you have been able to give back or contribute to the organizations and the profession in general through your involvement in AACC.
  13. How did you get started in these organizations and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
  14. Do you have any other specific comments or advice that you like to provide to the members of SYCL?
Biography
  1. What is your job title and affiliation?
    Professor, Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco Chief, Clinical Chemistry, San Francisco General Hospital
  2. Briefly tell us about your educational and career background.
    B.S. in Chemistry and Biology, Purdue University
    Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, University of Illinois
    Postdoctoral training, Clinical Chemistry, Hartford Hospital
  3. What are your Board certifications?
    ABCC in Clinical Chemistry and Toxicological Chemistry
  4. With which professional societies/organizations (e.g. AACC) are you involved?
    AACC, NACB, Society of Forensic Science, Academy of Laboratory Physicians and Scientists, Association of Clinical Scientists
Career
  1. What area(s) do you specialize in?
    Cardiac markers, clinical toxicology, pharmacogenomics
  2. What initiated your interest in this (these) area(s) and how did you eventually choose this (these) area(s) for your career?
    These interests were developed during my postdoctoral fellowship program (except for pharamcogenomics)
  3. What are your clinical and research interests?
    Clinical trials in cardiology, analytical methods development in toxicology
  4. What, in your opinion, has been the most important contribution you have made to the field of laboratory medicine?
    NACB guidelines in cardiology and clinical toxicology
  5. Are there specific aspects of practicing laboratory medicine that you find unappealing?
    Laboratory administration, personnel issues, regulatory issues
  6. What were some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of your career?
    Lecturing at meetings, establishing lifelong colleagues, working on scientific committees.
  7. How would you recommend achieving an optimal work/life balance?
    Family comes first. Bring family with you to meetings where possible. Minimize work done at home.
  8. What excites you about practicing laboratory medicine everyday?
    I enjoy the research and development aspects most. However, having an influence on how the lab is run is also rewarding.
  9. What are your predictions for advances in laboratory medicine and/or your area over the next ten years?
    Personalized medicine, particularly laboratory tests to specify therapeutics.
  10. What do you see as the challenges facing young scientists in laboratory medicine?
    Increasing regulatory pressures and limiting reimbursements.
  11. What specific goals would you recommend that young scientists in your discipline set for themselves? Any suggestions on how to achieve them?
    Specialize in a subfield of clinical chemistry. Do not try to spread yourself too thin. Anticipate the areas that are emerging.
  12. Describe how you have been able to give back or contribute to the organizations and the profession in general through your involvement in AACC.
    Members find different ways to contribute. Some like to participate in AACC politics, others through working committees. For me, my greatest contribution is through advancing the field through clinical studies and the publications that have occurred regarding these studies. But there is no set path or limits to how one can contribute.
  13. How did you get started in these organizations and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
    Get involved at the local level or with AACC divisions.
  14. Do you have any other specific comments or advice that you like to provide to the members of SYCL?
    Get to know your colleagues of SYCL. Many of them will be with you for the next 30 years. Above all, don’t take yourself too seriously. There is always someone out there that knows more than you.