Dr. Lynn Hoang is a consultant Anatomical Pathologist at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC). VGH is the largest tertiary care hospital in BC, and Dr. Hoang is part of a team that takes on the province’s most complex gynecologic cancers. Part of her work is as an Academic Pathologist, training the next generation of Anatomical Pathologists. Another aspect of her work is academic research, working alongside eminent gynecologic research team to provide modern, innovative, and exceptional care to gynecologic cancer patients.
Dr. Hoang is a proud Vancouverite born and raised, having completed her undergrad in Physiology, medical school, and residency at UBC. Beyond her work here in Vancouver, Dr. Hoang completed a fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York and is currently completing a Masters of Genomic Medicine at Cambridge University.
Q: What is your current research focus?
A: At VGH, there is prestige for the work done towards advancing Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer care. I found there was less focus on the lower gynecologic tract, including Vulvar, Cervical, and Vaginal Cancers, partly because they are rare, but also, they lack notoriety, so there is less funding and advocacy. My research focuses on these cancers as although they are rare, they are quite aggressive and have significant quality of life implications.
Q: Where does your interest field stem from?
A: As a child, I wanted to be a firefighter but then realized that someone of my stature couldn’t do that job. But I liked science, so I went into physiology. Then, in my undergrad, I participated in a summer research program at Dr. Dana Devine’s lab at UBC, and I really enjoyed being in a lab. Which was surprising because physicians picture themselves at the patients’ bedside; you don’t picture yourself in a lab. When I went to med school, I would think about that summer and how fun being in a lab was, and so that’s where I ended up being. It was really just a conglomerate of chances.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working in the lab?
A: I like the freedom, which sounds funny, but I like the flexibility. I like all the science, physiology, and medicine of it all. I’ve also always thought the people I’ve met in labs are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, so I thought this would be a great place to have a career. It’s also a career that is never boring and would give me longevity, as in, I can see myself doing this for a very long time.
Q: What are your goals for your career?
A: I would like to grow our research program in vulvar and cervical cancer, to really grow the team and resources, and put these cancers on the map. To be able to treat these cancers with more advanced techniques would be amazing to see, especially after they have been neglected for so long.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Life works out in funny ways. Sometimes life doesn’t happen the way you had imagined, anticipated or wanted it to, but it’ll be okay, it will all work out. That’s what I would say to my younger self.
Q: And if you’re not at work, what can people find you doing?
A: If you ask anyone in an academic institution, they work 150 to 200% of the normal position. I work all the time! When I am not at work, I have my ongoing research projects. Otherwise, I try to stay active, go on hikes, or make banana boats by a campfire, and I love Netflix guilt-free binging. I also co-moderate a podcast called International Society of Gynecological Pathologists LiVE or ISGyP LiVE [Link to: https://soundcloud.com/user-4157114/sets/isgyp-live-podcast] with Dr. Carlos Parra-Herran from Harvard, where we talk about interesting research articles.
Q: Post Covid, where is the first place you would like to go?
A: That thought actually hadn’t occurred to me because it seems so far away, but the first I would go is Japan.