Janina A. Longtine, MD, is a pathologist who specializes in hematopathology, which involves blood and bone marrow diseases and cancers. However, much of her time is spent on genetic analysis of all tumor types. As director of the tumor profiling lab at Smilow Cancer Hospital, Dr. Longtine regularly encounters new genetic variants that require additional research and investigation. “I have to learn something new every day to stay up-to-date,” she says.
While Dr. Longtine was initially drawn to the field of pathology due to its visual emphasis—looking at tissue samples under a microscope—she explains that her pivot to genetics felt natural due to her affinity for molecular biology (the study of chemical processes at a cellular level).
“Cancer is a genetic disease and the field of pathology has become very genetically oriented,” Dr. Longtine says. “I’m always working to make sure I get all information to help a doctor make the best decision. Even though we are behind the scenes, we think of patients as family, and that’s how we treat them.”
At Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Longtine is professor of pathology and of laboratory medicine. She is also vice-chair of the pathology and laboratory medicine departments.