Mayo Clinic Labs @Work
Thousands of people in hundreds of different roles work at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. Mayo Clinic Labs @Work offers a glimpse behind the scenes into this busy reference laboratory, featuring staff from throughout the organization talking about what they do and why they do it.
October 8 of this year will make five years for me at Mayo Clinic. Before joining the company, I worked as a generalist for various hospital systems. I have always enjoyed exploring new processes and learning about different tests. Mayo Clinic provided an opportunity for me to have a better work-life balance while discovering different labs and testing within one hospital system.
As a medical laboratory scientist in the Neuroimmunology Lab, I perform testing on patient samples and share the results with providers. My workday can vary quite a bit depending on which bench I work. However, almost all benches start with pulling coversheets or task lists. These lists outline details from samples that require testing for our analyzer. Then, I will pull the samples from our refrigerators and check them out of our digital storage system. Most of these samples will go on an automatic pipettor, which places the sample in a 96-well plate. We have different styles of plates depending on the test.
From there, antigen and antibody are added, and the samples are read. Some assays require us to grow and lift our own cell lines. Immunofluorescence assays are placed on slides with sections of mouse brain, and fluorescent patterns are read in a scope room. Immunoprecipitation assays are placed on a gamma counter. Our live cell assays are put on a flow cytometer which then looks for fluorescence. Other assays are placed in plate readers which detect a color or light intensity change.
In the Neuroimmunology Lab, we help diagnose autoimmune neurological diseases and cancer by providing immunobiologically sound serological tests, and interpreting autoantibody profiles. Our work helps providers and patients determine a diagnosis and prognosis. This sets our patients up for success on a correct treatment plan.
Currently, we are renovating and switching our testing to an automation line. This is a very involved process with a great deal of change not only to our testing but to our physical lab. It’s an interesting day at work when an entire bench has moved to a different location. As part of the inventory team, all the moves have kept me busy. In addition, I do my best to stay on top of all the changes within the testing itself. Despite the challenges, there’s always something new to learn, which I enjoy.
I have learned so much working in neuroimmunology and I look forward to what each day brings. Also, I have great co-workers who make coming to work fun.
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Robin Huiras-Carlson's connection with Mayo Clinic traces back to her early years, marked by a diagnosis of a rare genetic condition at the age of 10. Today, as a senior marketing specialist with Mayo Clinic Laboratories, she draws inspiration and purpose from this personal journey to illuminate Mayo’s positive impact on patients and ongoing evolution in diagnostics.
Becca Johnson, a dedicated project manager, joined Mayo Clinic in 2014, driven by a desire to contribute to an organization making a global impact. With BioPharma Diagnostics, Becca oversees large projects, ensuring efficient sample handling and timely client results. Committed to patient-centric care, she works on transitioning clients to electronic solutions for streamlined processes. Becca finds purpose in collaborative efforts that shape healthcare's future and positively impact patients' lives.
In her current role as senior manager for global logistics at Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Sarah Mason oversees the coordination of patient sample shipments by working with a network of stakeholders, couriers, carriers, and vendors. Sarah emphasizes the critical nature of safe and timely delivery of more than 38,000 samples each day, highlighting the dynamic challenges in healthcare logistics. Through her work, she finds meaning and purpose in collaborating with diverse teams to bring impactful change to Mayo Clinic operations and its patients.