Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Q&A with Priscilla K. Brastianos, MD

Priscilla K. Brastianos, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Mass General Hospital Cancer Center and Principal Investigator of the Brastianos Lab at Mass General's Center for Cancer Research.

Describe your journey into healthcare. What do you love about science and medicine?

My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 20s when she was in medical school. She became an incredible physician and practiced medicine even after her diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. Her story of strength and compassion inspired me to pursue a career in medicine.

 

Priscilla K. Brastianos, MD

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was in medical school, and she, sadly, passed away recently from metastatic breast cancer. Her death reminds me every day that we need to find better treatments for patients with metastatic cancer.

How long have you worked at Mass General?

I have been a physician-scientist at Mass General since 2009.

What is special about Mass General?

Mass General is a truly special place. I look forward to coming to Mass General every day, where I am surrounded by colleagues who deeply care about their patients. There is an unparalleled passion for medicine here and I feel proud to work at Mass General!

What do you like most about your job?

The most exciting part of what I do is seeing our science translate directly into the clinic. We have initiated several clinical trials based on findings from our laboratory. Seeing patients benefit from our scientific advances is the most rewarding part of my work!

Why is Women’s History Month important to you?

There is still a glass ceiling for women in science. It’s time for society to break through that glass ceiling.

What contributions have women made in the field of medicine that’s influenced your role or specialty?

One of my heroes growing up was Marie Curie. Her pioneering work lead to the use of radiation for cancer. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win twice. I grew up reading her story, and being inspired by her perseverance and significant contributions to science and medicine.

Have you encountered any challenges on your journey as a woman, and if so, how did you overcome them?

Like many professional women in science and business, I have encountered challenges. However, through this journey, I have felt very lucky to have been mentored by inspiring physicians and scientists. As Sheryl Sandberg says, we must “Lean in” and persevere!

How can we encourage more women and girls to enter the sciences?

Early exposure of women to science and medicine is critical.

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