When Diane Pickering came to work at the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Human Genetics Laboratory as a cytogenetic technologist, the lab performed one test -- karyotyping analysis, which identifies the number and structure of an individual's chromosomes in order to detect abnormalities.
Thirty years later, the lab offers many tests -- some of which Pickering helped develop -- but one thing has remained the same: MMI's mission of helping families.
"That is the rewarding part," said Pickering, MMI's latest Gold U winner at UNMC. "I'm part of an organization that truly does impact patients' lives and helps families. That mission of MMI is really at the core of what we do, and that's what fuels me."
Now the laboratory manager, Pickering oversees the quality management and safety programs in the clinical laboratory and is a trusted resource for nearly 60 individuals.
Laboratory genetic medicine is continually evolving, said her nominator, lab director Jennifer Sanmann, Ph.D. , adding that Pickering always is ready to transform a challenge, process, or system to meet new demands. She was part of the group that developed the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) tests in 1988. FISH -- a molecular cytogenetic technique that utilizes fluorescently-labeled DNA probes to rapidly detect specific chromosome abnormalities -- is still one of the lab's most-ordered tests.
"Diane is a natural leader . . . and has been instrumental in implementing numerous quality improvement processes to ensure a compliant and safe work environment for our staff and the patients that we serve," Dr. Sanmann said.
Pickering has implemented mock internal safety drills and report-error tracking spreadsheets in the realm of compliance and safety, and was instrumental, Dr. Sanmann said, in ensuring that the Human Genetics Laboratory passed its biennial credentialing inspection with no deficiencies.
In addition, she serves on the planning committee for the Meyer Foundation Walk and Roll for Disabilities, which raises money to support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and has supported numerous MMI-related events, including Step Up for Down Syndrome, Light It Up Blue for Autism, and WalkRite for RiteCare.
"Being involved with some of the organizations that support the patients and families we serve has been gratifying," Pickering said. "Meeting the patients and families really brings what we do full circle."
Pickering called the Gold U recognition an honor beyond her wildest dreams.
"For me to be recognized, it is more an acknowledgement of Dr. Warren Sanger's vision for the laboratory and Dr. Sanmann's commitment to carrying on that legacy of providing quality genetic services to our patients. I've had the privilege of being part of a team that has accomplished so much over the last 30 years.
"Our mission of helping families is really important to me," she said. "Every new technology that we've added to our testing menu has been another tool that enables us to better serve our patients."
So proud.. Jack & Darlene
Well deserved- congratulations, Di!
I'm proud of you Di.
There is nothing more gratifying than being recognize by one's peers. Congratulations. Roxanne Alter
Congratulations Diane! A very well deserved award.
Diane - you are so deserving of this award. Congratulations!
More than deserved - Congratulations, Diane!!
Way to go, Diane!
Well deserved Diane. Warren would be very proud.
Diane, they could not have picked a more deserving person. You are always front and center to participate anyway you can at MMI. Congrats! Barb Glover
Congratulations Diane! Well deserved. Christy W.
Congratulations Di. Way to represent the hood!