Faculty Educator of the Month: July 2008

Peter C. Hu

Peter C. Hu, director of the Molecular Genetic Technology Program and assistant professor in the MD Anderson School of Health Sciences, has been named the July 2008 Faculty Educator of the Month.

Since 2005, Mr. Hu has directed the Molecular Genetic Technology Program in the School of Health Sciences, in which students can receive a bachelor of science degree. Students in this three-semester program receive comprehensive training via classroom lectures, student and clinical laboratory experience and hands-on technical work in the field of molecular genetic technology, specializing in the areas of medical genetics, molecular diagnosis of genetic disorders and hematological malignancies and clinical applications of molecular biology. This training prepares students for their national certification as molecular genetic technologists.

Graduates of the Molecular Genetic Technology Program have won two national student research competitions and two best poster competitions. Furthermore, program graduates came in first and second place in the 2008 Trainee Recognition Day undergraduate and best poster competitions. Many of the student research projects have continued forward and were eventually published in peer-reviewed journals, such as Cancer, Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics and Human Pathology.

In addition to teaching in and directing the Molecular Genetic Technology Program, Mr. Hu has been instrumental in advancing the program to meet the needs of its students, as he assisted in gaining Texas Coordinating Board approval of a junior year curriculum in the School of Health Sciences earlier this year. Also, he obtained National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences approval for the program in 2004. Furthermore, in addition to the four rotation sites he established within MD Anderson, he successfully established more than 10 clinical rotation sites for students in the program at top-ranked institutions throughout the Texas Medical Center, such as Baylor College of Medicine, and the country, such as Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School and the DNA Diagnostic Laboratory at Emory University.

Mr. Hu has had a wealth of educational experience over his career at MD Anderson. Specifically, he has been a faculty member in the Cytogenetic Technology Program since 1997, the Clinical Laboratory Science Program since 2000 and the Molecular Genetic Technology Program since 2004.

In addition, Mr. Hu has taught more than 30 courses in the School of Health Sciences. Currently, he teaches the courses Issues in Health Care Ethics, Special Topics II, Molecular and Biochemical Basis of Genetic Disease, Medical Genetics, Basic Laboratory Technique I, Introduction to Cytogenetics, Concepts in Molecular Biology, Clinical Applications of Molecular Biology, Independent Research Project I and II and Advanced Molecular Diagnostic Techniques. He has also been an invited speaker or lecturer for more than 20 courses at MD Anderson.

Mr. Hu’s educational efforts extend to one-on-one training of students in the School of Health Sciences. Since 2000, he has mentored more than 85 students in the Clinical Laboratory Science Program (2000-2004), Cytogenetic Technology Program (2000-present) and Molecular Genetic Technology Program (2004-present).

Outside MD Anderson, Mr. Hu has been an invited speaker at programs and seminars throughout the state of Texas. He has also taken part in conferences and symposia throughout the country.

Mr. Hu has been well recognized for his educational contributions, as he received The Joseph Waurin Award for Excellence in Education (2008), the Education Week Outstanding Educator award (2003-2007) and the Staff Educator of the Month Award (August 2004).

Mr. Hu received his M.S. degree in microbiology from Lamar University in 1995. He then moved on to MD Anderson, receiving clinical certificates in medical technology in 1996 and cytogenetic technology in 1997. He became clinically certified in diagnostic molecular science by two national certification agencies in 2005.

Upon his arrival at MD Anderson, Mr. Hu was named a clinical cytogenetics instructor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine. He was later promoted to education coordinator (2000) and instructor (non-tenure track; 2002) in the School of Health Sciences. He was promoted to his current position of assistant professor (non-tenure track) in 2004.

In addition to his educational commitments, Mr. Hu has served on several committees at MD Anderson, including as the judge chair for the Trainee Research Day (School of Health Sciences Student Abstract-Poster Competition; 2007-present) and as a member of the Education Resource Committee (2002-present). He has also chaired or served as a member of 27 other institutional committees.

During his time at MD Anderson, Mr. Hu has taken part in one funded research program and has been a protocol reviewer for another. Furthermore, he has been a paper reviewer for Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ, and a site inspector for training programs in his fields of expertise at 15 other institutions outside MD Anderson. Additionally, since coming to MD Anderson, Mr. Hu has authored several articles published in peer-reviewed journals, editorials and abstracts and one book chapter and has been a reviewer for The Journal of the Association of Genetic Technologists since 2006.