Kleberg Cytogenetic Laboratory
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
I attended the Cytogenetic Technology Program at the UT Health Science Center during the 1999-2000 school year, following completion of my undergraduate degree in biology in 1998 at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. After looking at several medical technology programs, I found the UT Health Science Center program in cytogenetic technology. After first hearing of the profession, like most of us in the field, I had no idea what it was. After reading the program curriculum, future job description, and “healthy” job market, I grew interested and applied to the program. After interviewing with Betty Dunn in San Antonio, I was anxious to attend.
Since graduating from the program in the summer of 2000, I had several offers, and immediately accepted a position at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. I had a strong interest in cancer cytogenetics and felt this lab would be the best fit. While working the evening shift at MDA, I also took a part time position at the Kleberg Cytogenetic Lab at Baylor College of Medicine. This job kept me focused and up-to-date on non-cancer work including extensive FISH work. In May of 2001, I accepted a promotion to a section supervisor position at Baylor and left MDA. This move turned out to be a bit shaky at first, due to Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. Since our lab was located in the basement, we were badly flooded. After moving the lab two times over the next several months, we settled down and will now be moving again soon into a new state-of-the-art facility just outside of the Texas Medical Center in October 2002. During all of this, I became and am currently performing as the General Supervisor of the Kleberg Cytogenetic Lab.
I have no doubt that the Cytogenetic Technology Program at the UT Health Science Center made all of this possible. Many of the comprehensive theories and practices studied while attending the program proved to be a valuable resource. I feel that this experience, along with dedication to my job is what has put me where I am now. Currently as a supervisor of a cytogenetic lab, which processes 5000 samples a year, I consult with all sections of the lab, as well as, genetic counselors and physicians locally and out of state. This experience has given me broad perspective of not only all areas of the laboratory operation, but a clinical and ethical perspective as well. For all of this, I have the UT Health Science Center Cytogenetic Technology Program to tip my hat to.
To the prospective student:
I sincerely hope that you decide to pursue a career in cytogenetic technology or other laboratory profession because it CAN open doors for you. Whether you decide on graduate school, medical school, PA school, biotechnology research, pharmaceutical sales, or a better yet, a long term stay in the rapidly advancing field of genetic technology, the opportunities will arise along the way.
Nicole Sameit, B.S., CLSp(CG),
I am currently the Assistant Project Coordinator of the "Hawaii
Genetic Awareness, Implementation and Date Project" for the Hawaii
State Genetics Program. The major goals of our program include increasing
genetic awarenessthrough education, incorporating genetics evaluation
with follow-up into public health programs, and integrating related programs
to increase efficiency and avoid redundancy.
In this past year, I have conducted a state-wide genetics needs assessment of our population, planned a state-wide genetics conference for public health professionals, and helped develop a pilot study for Hawaii to expand the state newborn screening panel from 7 to more than 30 disorders. The success of the newborn screening program has surprised us. We expected about 50% of moms to have their babies testes. Instead, we've had a compliance rate exceeding 80%. This coming year, we plan on developing a learning series with accompanying educational materials for high school teachers and students as a way to integrate genetics into the curriculum.
I thoroughly enjoy my work in the genetics field. The Cytogenetics Program gave me the background in genetics I needed to get and accomplish the varied tasks in my ever-changing job. My job and Hawaii are incredible!