Member Spotlight: Marjorie Parker David

  1. What is your name and professional title?

    Marjorie Parker David, MD, MS
    UT Health San Antonio
    Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
    Director, Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

  2. How did you decide to enter the field/what (or who) brought you into the field?

    When I was 4, my dad overcame stage 3 colon cancer. His survival was partly due to a skilled surgeon and partly due to pure luck with the state of cancer therapy in the early 80s! A mix of awe and fear of cancer hangs over me ever since. Cellular pathways and functions and how our own cells could turn traitor against us to form malignancies fascinates me. I entered graduate school in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine with an interest in understanding the complex function, structures and alterations of DNA and RNA. I ended up working on some fun projects studying the role of RNA helicases in alternative RNA splicing, and global RNA splicing changes during cellular differentiation.

    Later, in medical school at UAMS, I was pulled to pathology where we get to see --actually look at under the microscope in color with cellular detail-- the misbehaving cancer cells causing harm to our patients. And when I learned more about molecular pathology, this fit my niche of professional interests perfectly. It is amazing to be able to get even more microscopic in pathology and further investigate the cause of a patient’s malignancy down to the DNA-level. Using that information to help offer targeted therapy to patients or help refine diagnoses makes me feel useful to my patients.


  3. What do you do? How would you describe your role?

    As the laboratory director, I make plans for bringing up new tests that fit our institutional needs, make budgets, organize test validations, assess new instruments, help with personnel issues and laboratory organization, and oversee our adherence to CAP regulations, among other things. In an academic role, I love that I also get to teach medical and dental students about the molecular basis of cancer and teach pathology residents and fellows about molecular laboratories, test selection, pre- and post-analytic variables, and molecular alterations in various tumor types. I also like collaborating with research teams here at UT Health San Antonio on translational projects.


  4. What degree(s) and/or training did you receive to achieve your position?
    • BS in Biochemistry and Genetics from University of Kansas
    • MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine
    • MD from The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    • Fellowship in Molecular Genetic Pathology from Baylor College of Medicine


  5. What AMP resources/courses have helped you advance your career?

    As the current Training and Education Committee Chair, you know I am passionate about this question. The AMP annual meeting, AMP webinars and AMPED Online are critical for keeping me up to date on the newest developments in Molecular Pathology, and of course, my main source for CME. I also look forward to the AMP meetings to talk to so many of my molecular pathology colleagues in person!

    As a Molecular Pathology educator, I am a big fan of the EdCoPs group for discussions about engaging educational methods and shared teaching curricula and resources. When I teach pathology residents and fellows, I have them sign up for the free AMP trainee membership so I can assign them free AMP educational videos to watch on AMP as part of their rotation curriculum. I also extensively use the MIMP (Molecular In My Pocket) cards when I’m teaching, and the residents have given me feedback that these are ”gold” for board exam studying.


  6. In your opinion, what are the most valuable aspects of AMP membership?

    My AMP membership has provided me with valuable opportunities to collaborate with peers in the industry, fostering learning and teamwork.


  7. What do you do for fun?

    Hanging out with my husband and 4 kids is my favorite. I am constantly entertained by their newest interests, like my 6-year old’s ongoing project digging a tunnel from the recess playground to his friend’s house. My husband does radiology. We are the diagnostic duo. Except we don’t work at the same institution. So professionally, he’s the big-picture person and I’m the ultra-minute details. He remembers all the names of small muscles and veins from Anatomy and I’m grateful to have forgotten a lot of that and reformatted my solid state drive with gene names and mutations.

    I also like to garden, but it’s more about noticing the different insects each plant attracts and seeing what the peanuts, asparagus, brussel sprouts and cantaloupe look like as they grow than it is about getting fresh food to harvest. Here in San Antonio, I can garden all year round. Lemons! Limes! Pomegranates!

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