1. Name and affiliation:
Annie Garcia, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston-Texas
2. What is your professional title?
I am a Molecular Genetics Pathology (MGP) fellow at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Houston-Texas.
3. How did you decide to enter the field/what (or who) brought you into the field?
As a kid, I always pictured myself in a lab working with genes and chromosomes. I was introduced to the field during my first year of AP/CP residency at BCM. I am very thankful for Dr. Kevin E. Fisher for teaching me the “ABC” of molecular pathology and for showing me what molecular pathologists actually do. Soon I realized how much we can help patients by giving the precise diagnosis or by finding a molecular alteration where targeted therapy can be used and then maybe change the disease’s outcome.
4. What do you do? How would you describe your role?
This is my first month as MGP fellow. I start my day by selecting the right block for molecular testing and marking the tumor percentage. I then preview targeted Next Generation Sequencing (DNA, RNA) results, in addition to Sanger and Pyrosequencing, microarrays, PCR, FISH and many other molecular and genetics testing. I interpret the findings taking into consideration patients’ history and pathologic findings. I discuss each case with the attending molecular pathologist before they sign it out. I also participate in test validation, present in cancer genomics tumor boards and have many research projects that I am hoping to have them published this year.
5. What degree(s) and/or training did you receive to achieve your position?
I received my medical degree followed by a degree in Surgical Pathology from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK)- Beirut, Lebanon. Then I moved to the States and did my AP/CP residency at BCM in Houston-Texas where I served as a chief resident for a year. I am very happy to know that I passed my boards and now I am thrilled to finally be doing what I always wanted: Molecular Genetics Pathology. Lastly, I will be doing one year of Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology at University of Washington in Seattle (2022-2023).
6. What is the greatest challenge you face in your work?
Every new case is a new challenge to me. Understanding the concepts behind each technique, gaining the knowledge and the experience needed to be the best molecular pathologist I can be and being involved in projects while maintaining a nice social life is a big challenge as well.
7. What is the best part of your work as you see it? (most interesting, most fun…)
The best part of my work is knowing that a patient is getting the right diagnosis, treatment or management because of our integrated report; also, participating in research projects that help understanding disease processes or finding potential targetable alteration.
8. What do you do for fun?
I am an outdoor person and I like almost any kind of sports. I love dancing, skiing (of course not in Texas), listening to music and playing the piano. Music has been my best friend throughout the years.