Cynthia Casson Morton, PhD
Richardson Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and
Reproductive Biology and Professor of Pathology,
Harvard Medical School; Director of Cytogenetics,
Brigham and Women's Hospital
ASHG: If you could go back to when you were a trainee, what is one
piece of advice you would give yourself for your current
Dr. Morton: Given my role in the
provision of cytogenetic services, I would recommend that
some education in laboratory services as a business would
have been valuable. That being said, the education that
would have been provided some 30 years ago would have been
very different from that today. For example, we did a lot of
additional testing because we were scientifically intrigued
about a clinical finding, but that's just not as easy now
due to the limited clinical revenue.
ASHG: What are your favorite and least
favorite parts of your job?
Dr. Morton: There's a right off the
top of my head answer to one of the many favorite parts of
my job. I returned from Riyadh last night having attended an
International Workshop on Rare Diseases there. Traveling the
world and learning about other cultures and countries has
been a fabulous perk of being a scientist. We share the
language of science while working to improve the health of
humankind, and that is a very special privilege.
Regrettably, I also have a right off the top of my
head answer to the least favorite part, and it's the ever
increasing amount of administrative burden. I just completed
required training in the roll out of ICD-10 coding, and
there wasn't a single item in the HealthStream coursework
relevant to clinical cytogenetics. That really didn't matter
to my institution's administration as it was better to be
inclusive from their standpoint than to worry about the
wasted time of those for whom the training was appropriate.
And then there's the dog walking unit I had to complete for
IACUC although my lab only works with mice as animal
ASHG: What do you think the future holds
for the field of genetics?
Dr. Morton: The future for the field
of genetics is a deeper understanding of the biology of life
and the evolution of humankind. What could be more
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