Alexandra Brown, MD, FASCP
Jackson, MS

Examining cells to find cancer and infections 

For Ali, working as a pathologist means a stable career and a critical role in patient care—but it’s also so much more than that. In her work, Ali is able to truly impact—and save—patients’ lives, something she feels great about every day.

My Lab Hero Story

Pathologists perform “frozen sections” which are rapid interpretations of tissue under the microscope occuring during a surgical procedure. Frozen sections provide surgeons with information about how to proceed in the operating room while a patient is still in surgery. Working with surgeons, I can help determine whether breast cancer surgery requires more tissue to be removed by evaluating if cancer is present at the edges of a specimen, or if it’s surrounded by healthy tissue—meaning all of the cancer is out. Using this technique, and partnering with breast surgeons, we were able to reduce the number of patients who had to have a second breast cancer operation to half of the national average.

“It’s a challenging career, but it’s also a great field to go into. And we’re seeing a projected shortage of pathologists, so it’s never been more important for people to join us.”

“I provide vital information that my patients—and my clinical colleagues—ultimately depend on. It makes me feel great—like I have a purpose.”

Necessary Skill Sets
Strong science background.
Ability to recognize patterns.
Excellent leadership skills.

Average Salary: $247,013

Education Requirements
Four-year medical school program.
Residency program in pathology (usually 4 years).
One- or two-year fellowship program in clinical pathology or both (optional).