What is your name?
Alanna Church, MD
What is your professional title?
Associate Director, Laboratory for Molecular Pediatric Pathology (LaMPP), Boston Children’s Hospital; Instructor, Harvard Medical School
How did you decide to enter the field/What (or who) brought you into the field?
Genetics is fascinating! I was drawn to Pathology because of the intellectual challenge of understanding the diseases that affect our patients, and molecular takes it to another deeper level.
What do you do? How would you describe your role?
I focus on pediatric solid tumors, and I’m fortunate to sign out hundreds of sequencing assays each year. We have also launched a new molecular pathology laboratory from scratch to support the care of our pediatric cancer patients.
How does your work help patients?
We identify genetic alterations that impact the patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and response to therapy. It has been very rewarding to see young patients doing well on targeted therapies that we helped to find.
What degree(s) and/or training did you receive to achieve your position?
MSc, MD, Anatomic Pathology residency, Molecular Genetic Pathology fellowship and Pediatric Pathology fellowship
What is the greatest challenge you face in your work?
Time management is difficult. There are so many things that I would like to do, and it’s difficult not to be able to do them all (at least not at the same time).
What is the best part of your work as you see it? (most interesting, fun…)
I love thinking about how we can use new technologies to support patient care. The innovation plus practical implementation is fun. And nothing beats a good patient story, and the feeling that we have helped a family.
What AMP resources/courses have helped you advance your career?
I appreciated this MGP review course which helped me to study for my board exams. Recently, I have made good use of the AMP guidelines for validating NGS panels. I also like to distribute the Molecular-in-My-PocketTM cards to our trainees, they are very popular!
In your opinion, what are the most valuable aspects of AMP membership?
The community of molecular diagnostics professionals is invaluable. The connections I have made have helped to support the development of our new laboratory, and with my personal career decisions.
This feature is a collaboration between the AMP Membership Affairs Committee and Training and Education Committee. If you would like to nominate an AMP member to be interviewed (self-nomination is fine) please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.