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Elaine Jaffe

Elaine JaffeChief, Hematopathology Section, Laboratory of Pathology, CCR, National Cancer Institute

Interview location: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Interview date: 28th November, 2007

Key Themes: Attributes of a PathologistNew Technologies, Research versus Clinical work

 


 

Profile   |   Transcript Summary   |   Full Transcript




 

PROFILE

I felt I learnt most of my medicine by studying pathology -- it was kind of the basis for everything.At Cornell Medical School, Elaine Jaffe was excited by pathology from the beginning: “It certainly was not a 'dead' science in any sense.” Jaffe has spent her career at the US National Institutes of Health, where, among other things, she has played a leading role in developing worldwide standards for the diagnosis of lymphomas and leukemias.  As a participant in the immunology revolution of the 1970s she took full advantage of the new technology to help define disease entities.  Lymphoma, once classified into two broad categories -- Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s types -- is now known to be more than 40 diseases.

While her career exemplifies the contribution pathologists can make to basic research, she emphasises the added value that their clinical experience confers.  Among the 10 most highly cited researchers in clinical medicine for the field of oncology between 1981 and 1998, she is considered an inspiring teacher and communicator, despite the immense complexity of her subject. “I enjoy educating not only pathologists, but... basic scientists too, because I think [they] do a better job if they understand the diseases.”
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