What is your name?
Rashmi Goswami, MD, PhD
What is your professional title?
Hematological Pathologist and Molecular Hematopathology Lead, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto.
How did you decide to enter the field/What (or who) brought you into the field?
I’ve always been interested in molecular biology since high school which propelled me to do a B.Sc. in Genetics while in University. I wanted to pursue a career that incorporated molecular biology techniques with the treatment of patients but couldn’t find a medical specialty at the time that combined the two. Fortunately, I was able to work under Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid for my PhD. She was the Director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at one of the largest hospitals in Toronto and suggested that I pursue training in Molecular Genetic Pathology in the U.S., and thanks to her, I am now able to use my skills in molecular diagnostics to help in patient management.
What do you do? How would you describe your role?
In my current role, I am involved in the diagnosis of hematologic conditions in bone marrows and lymph nodes. I also sign out molecular cases and am involved in developing new molecular testing for our hematological patients. I am also involved in research that I hope will improve diagnostic and prognostic testing in patients with hematologic malignancies.
How does your work help patients?
My work helps patients obtain an accurate diagnosis and helps the patient-facing clinical team obtain an understanding of their patients’ prognosis/disease to guide appropriate treatment of their condition. I believe that working on the development of new molecular tests and research into disease pathogenesis will help patients obtain state-of-the-art testing and novel therapies for their diseases.
What degree(s) and/or training did you receive to achieve your position?
I’ve had a bit of a round-about training path to get to my current position, but the experience at each stage has taught me a lot and helped in many aspects of my work. I have a B.Sc. (Honours) in Genetics and Medicine from the University of Manitoba, an M.D. from the University of Toronto, and did my residency training in Anatomical Pathology at McGill University. This was followed by research fellowship that I converted to a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, followed by fellowships in Hematological Pathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology at the University of British Columbia and the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
What is the greatest challenge you face in your work?
Developing and validating new testing in the face of limited resources within a single payer healthcare system is a complication to overcome. Finding innovative methods to obtain funding to ensure patients have access to state-of-the-art testing can also be a challenge.
What is the best part of your work as you see it? (most interesting, fun…)
Seeing how genetic changes can have different effects on disease pathogenesis is an interesting part of the job. Working with different members of the clinical team to help the patient get the appropriate treatment regimen is also extremely satisfying. I get to learn about cutting edge science and have the opportunity to work with basic scientists in the development of novel diagnostic techniques and/or therapeutics which I also find fascinating and a very rewarding part of my work.
What AMP resources/courses have helped you advance your career?
The Molecular Genetic Pathology (MGP) review course was quite helpful during my training and preparation for the MGP board exams. The courses available through the AMPEd site are also extremely valuable. Attendance at the annual AMP meetings teaches me a lot about new aspects of molecular diagnostics and keeps me up to date within the field.
In your opinion, what are the most valuable aspects of AMP membership?
Connecting with other AMP members to learn from and collaborate with them has been the most valuable part of AMP membership. In addition, AMP has provided me with many new opportunities and introduced me to many dynamic and energetic people in our field. I am also grateful to have been chosen to be a part of AMP committees, such as the Training and Education committee, allowing me to participate in several exciting projects, including the AMP Member Spotlight Series. This has allowed us to profile several AMP members, to highlight the important work they do in the field of molecular diagnostics and patient care and introduce their work to the AMP community. Nominate yourself or someone you know for a profile within the Spotlight series at firstname.lastname@example.org!