ALCA Blog and Video
Delivering answers for patients isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. For Katie Aoyama, the Assistant Director of the Technology, Transfer and Validation Department at GeneDx, a subsidiary of BioReference Laboratories, Inc. and OPKO Health Company, each day offers an opportunity to rethink what it means to put patients first and continuously innovate.
“If a doctor thinks a patient may have a specific disorder or general developmental delay and they don’t know what’s going on, that’s when we get the sample and investigate,” says Katie. “Every sample is a patient, every sample is someone’s child—we’re striving to find that answer.”
This unwavering commitment to patients motivates the lab professionals who are working behind the scenes, performing highly accurate and reliable testing.
Katie believes this career path chose her – not the other way around. Striving to pursue a science-focused career, she first joined GeneDx as an entry-level technician in the copy number department. From there, Katie steadily worked her way up to supervisor, growing along with the company.
“At the point that I started, we were doing about sixteen samples a day, and now it’s hundreds and hundreds of samples, so I got to grow with the company—do high-throughput processing, build in automation,” says Katie. “It was a perfect situation where I got to learn all the skills for the department that I’m now leading.”
The key to keeping things running smoothly in the lab? Teamwork. Collaboration is essential, and allows for improvements and innovation year-round. Through this one-team mindset, Katie and her colleagues are able to achieve new accomplishments in their pursuit for answers.
“I work really closely with the R&D department and upper management to think about what’s new, what’s coming, how can we improve things for the patient, how can we make it cheaper and faster – so we’re always looking forward and planning for what we can do to make it better,” says Katie.
The past year was undoubtedly a challenging one for lab professionals, yet Katie and her team were able to continue to go above and beyond for the patients that rely on them.
Watch the video below to learn more about the critical contributions that lab professionals like Katie provide each and every day.
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