July 2009 Mentor of the Month Interview: Jay McDonald
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?
  5. Just for fun, tell us a few interesting facts about yourself.
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 of Pathology and Director of the Center for Metabolic Bone Disease at University of Alabama at Birmingham
  2. Briefly tell us about your educational and career background.

    Education

    • Undergraduate Degree, Tufts University
    • MD from Wayne State University
    • Medical Internship, University of Oregon
    • Pathology Residency, Wayne State University
    • NIH Fellowship, Washington University School of Medicine

    Professional Appointments

    • 1976 - 1990  Assistant Professor, Pathology and Medicine
      Washington University School of Medicine
    • 1976 - 1980  Co-director, Clinical Chemistry 
      Washington University School of Medicine
    • 1980 - 1990  Director, Division of Laboratory Medicine
      Washington University School of Medicine
    • 1990 - 2008  Robert and Ruth Anderson Professor and Chair 
      Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    • 1996 - Present  Director, UAB Center for Metabolic Bone Disease
    • 2008 - Present  Professor, Department of Pathology and Co-Director
      UAB’s Center for Translational Science Award (CTSA)
  3. What are your Board certifications?
    American Board of Pathology, Anatomic and Clinical Pathology
  4. With which professional societies/organizations (e.g. AACC) are you involved?
    • American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
    • Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS)
    • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
    • American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)
    • College of American Pathologists (CAP)
    • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
    • American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR)
  5. Just for fun, tell us a few interesting facts about yourself:
    • Family
      Wife and two sons
    • Favorite activities/hobbies
      fishing, woodworking, golf
    • Favorite places you have traveled
      West Coast of Vancouver Island, Arctic Circle
Career
  1. What area(s) do you specialize in?
    • Endocrine chemistry
    • Bone diseases
    • Basic research (cell signaling) in cancer, bone disease and AIDS pathogenesis
  2. What initiated your interest in this (these) area(s) and how did you eventually choose this (these) area(s) for your career?
    The ability to contribute to the health of people in unique ways.
  3. What are your clinical and research interests?
    • Clinical – Evidence-based laboratory testing
    • Basic – Cell signaling in bone disease, cancer, and AIDS pathogenesis
  4. What, in your opinion, has been the most important contribution you have made to the field of laboratory medicine?
    Training residents and fellows and promoting laboratory medicine as an academic specialty.
  5. Are there specific aspects of practicing laboratory medicine that you find unappealing?
    No.
  6. What were some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of your career?
    • Obtaining consistent extramural research funding
    • Editor-In-Chief, American Journal of Pathology (2003-2008)
    • Member of IOM panel to design the healthcare program for the trip to Mars
    • Setting up a multidisciplinary Center for Metabolic Bone Disease which includes the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic
    • Building a Pathology department from the “ground up”
  7. How would you recommend achieving an optimal work/life balance?
    • Work hard/play hard
    • Optimize multitasking
  8. What excites you about practicing laboratory medicine everyday?
    Appropriate evidence-based application of new technology and tests to patient care.
  9. What are your predictions for advances in laboratory medicine and/or your area over the next ten years?
    Increasing application of informatics to laboratory analysis interpretation and application of genetic information to laboratory-based healthcare.
  10. What do you see as the challenges facing young scientists in laboratory medicine?
    Application of new technology is not the purview of laboratorians and ends up in the hands of others. Bench-to-bedside and “team science” are often outside the scope of laboratory professionals. There is not enough disease-based basic science 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?
    • Learn to multitask effectively
    • Seek criticism and respond appropriately
    • Find where your passion is and follow it
    • Know your strengths and weaknesses and use that knowledge appropriately
  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.
    Largely through training physicians and scientist
  13. How did you get started in these organizations and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
    Follow your passions and you will affiliate with appropriate organizations
  14. Do you have any other specific comments or advice that you like to provide to the members of SYCL?
    Play to your strengths and cover your weaknesses and seek help from others. Develop a “support” network.
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