- What is your job title and affiliation?
Professor, Departments of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, Pediatrics, and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology University of Florida, College of Medicine
- Briefly tell us about your educational and career background.
Born in San Francisco, California, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Santa Clara University. I pursued my medical degree at Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine graduating Alpha Omega Alpha. My pediatric residency training was obtained at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. I then served as Chief Pediatric Resident at the University of Kentucky during my fourth postgraduate year. At the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, my fellowship training was in Pediatric Endocrinology. My research activities in type 1 diabetes then brought me into the Department of Pathology at the University of Florida (UF). My research interests currently include autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes and unusual forms of diabetes. I am presently the principal investigator for the NIH-sponsored Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Islet Cell Autoantibody Core Laboratory. Professionally, I became involved in the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory as an Assistant Professor at UF. I served as Medical Director for Clinical Chemistry between 1992 and 2006. Educationally, I was the director of the Pathology residency training program at UF for a total of 10 years before being appointed as course director for the second year medical student pathology course in 2004. I have given numerous presentations and I have published extensively on behalf of AACC. Along with Dr. M. Signorino, I authored AACC's monogram entitled "Diabetes Mellitus." Along with Drs. I. Jialal and D. Chan, I co-authored AACC's "Handbook of Diagnostic Endocrinology" which is now in its second edition. Combining articles, chapters, and abstracts, I have contributed nearly 200 publications that deal with chemistry, coagulation, diabetes, endocrinology, and immunology.
- What are your Board certifications?
I hold board certifications in pediatrics (American Board of Pediatrics), pediatric endocrinology (American Board of Pediatrics), clinical chemistry (American Board of Clinical Chemistry), and chemical pathology (American Board of Pathology).
- With which professional societies/organizations (e.g. AACC) are you involved?
American Association for Clinical Chemistry; National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry
- Just for fun, tell us a few interesting facts about yourself:
I enjoy movies, bike riding, building plastic models and military history.
- What area(s) do you specialize in?
Clinical Chemistry, Diabetes, Endocrinology and Lipid Disorders in Children
- What initiated your interest in this (these) area(s) and how did you eventually choose this (these) area(s) for your career?
My research brought me from pediatrics into pathology. It was a natural progression for a pediatric endocrinologist to become a laboratorian. I have never regretted the changes that have occurred in my career.
- What are your clinical and research interests?
Type 1 diabetes, autoimmune markers of endocrine diseases, and unusual forms of monogenic diabetes.
- What, in your opinion, has been the most important contribution you have made to the field of laboratory medicine?
Education of my colleagues on the topics of endocrinology, immunology and coagulation testing.
- Are there specific aspects of practicing laboratory medicine that you find unappealing?
Billing and reimbursement.
- What were some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of your career?
My 15 minutes of fame came when my first NEJM article was published (Winter, W.E., Maclaren, N.K., Riley, W.J., Clarke, D.W., Kappy, M.S., Spillar, R.P.: Maturity-onset diabetes of youth in Black Americans. New Engl J Med 1987; 316:285-291).
- How would you recommend achieving an optimal work/life balance?
Set reasonable goals for each day. One of those goals should be to be with family and friends.
- What excites you about practicing laboratory medicine everyday?
Challenging problems and new learning opportunities.
- What are your predictions for advances in laboratory medicine and/or your area over the next ten years?
Increasing POC testing and advances in molecular pathology. EBM will become even more important.
- What do you see as the challenges facing young scientists in laboratory medicine?
Obtaining independent funding for hypothesis-driven research.
- What specific goals would you recommend that young scientists in your discipline set for themselves? Any suggestions on how to achieve them?
Undertake clinically important research while teaching and serving the clients of the laboratory. When negotiating for a faculty position, the "start-up" package should provide at least 3 years support to include a technician, supplies, space and protected time for investigation.
- Describe how you have been able to give back or contribute to the organizations and the profession in general through your involvement in AACC.
I served on the AACC Annual Meeting Organizing Committee in 1998 and 2003 and I am presently on the 2009 committee. I was the chair of the organizing committee for AACC's Professional Practice in Clinical Chemistry course in 2005 and 2007 and I am the chair of the 2009 course. I am a fellow of National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and the College of American Pathologists. In 2008, I began my term as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.
- How did you get started in these organizations and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
I got started in AACC by taking the ABCC exam. This was the first AACC meeting that I attended. A few years later I applied to give a workshop at AACC and was accepted.
- Do you have any other specific comments or advice that you like to provide to the members of SYCL?
Finding the "right" mentor is terribly important. My clinical mentor was Arlan L. Rosenbloom, MD. Arlan is now an emeritus professor at UF and later this year we are planning on writing a chapter together on the laboratory assessment of growth. My research mentor was Noel K. Maclaren. Noel was a pioneer in investigating the autoimmune and genetic causes of type 1 diabetes.