Embracing Innovation to Provide Complex Diagnoses with Greater Ease
This Laboratory Professionals Week, we honor the innovators, collaborators and colleagues who have gone above and beyond behind the scenes to meet patients’ needs. Today, ACLA is featuring Vanessa Moelius, a clinical laboratory technologist at NeoGenomics who is at the forefront of innovative process developments that help improve patient care.
Vanessa Moelius has always had a passion for patient care. After graduating from Stockton University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Vanessa first worked as a phlebotomist before joining the NeoGenomics team in 2009.
In her current position, Vanessa works as a clinical laboratory technologist on NeoGenomics’ Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization (FISH) team. FISH testing is used to identify hematologic diseases and solid tumors and to map the genetic material in a patient’s cells. Vanessa and her colleagues apply their expertise to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of specific forms of cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma and breast cancer, as well as conditions involving chromosomal abnormalities.
Over time, Vanessa started to increase her focus on process improvement and efficiency in the laboratory setting. When automation began making its way into Vanessa’s work, she jumped at an opportunity to work on validating NeoGenomics’ first Plasma Cell Separator instrument. Less than two years later, Vanessa transitioned full-time into the FISH analysis department where she was introduced to NeoGenomics’ first automated microscope.
“An avid multi-tasker motivated by the opportunity to participate in process improvements, I was quickly given multiple validation projects that paved the way for automated analysis on blood, bone marrow, bladder and paraffin-embedded samples,” explains Vanessa. “Our organization’s focus on automated innovation has contributed to the expansion of our uniquely-unified national network of analysis resources and I am very proud to have been a part of that success.”
Most recently, Vanessa’s drive has propelled her from NeoGenomics headquarters in Florida to a facility in California to lead the automation of its FISH testing systems. By utilizing her unmatched level of technical expertise in system automation, Vanessa has made FISH testing more accessible to her peers at NeoGenomics – and ultimately, to patients.
“NeoGenomics has given me an outlet for my passion for process improvement, where I feel my contributions can truly make an impact on improving patient care,” explains Vanessa.
Never satisfied with “good enough,” Vanessa holds herself and the rest of her NeoGenomics team to the highest standard. Two weeks after her initial trip to California to train technicians, she returned to improve processes with the automated platform and fully validate the systems to introduce a new type of scanning to the NeoGenomics FISH network.
As a testament to her work on NeoGenomics’ FISH team, Vanessa was nominated and selected by her peers as the recipient of the NeoGenomics 2021 Living Our Values Award for her integrity on the job. Vanessa earned this award through her efforts as a key driver for better collaboration across the NeoGenomics FISH network and her leadership connecting clinical lab testing sites and lab professionals across the country.
“Vanessa has drawn on her vast technical knowledge of automated platforms to help shepherd NeoGenomics’ FISH into a more streamlined automated future, allowing us to perform all testing seamlessly across the country,” says Peter Ortegel (ASCP)CG, Clinical Laboratory Supervisor, FISH. “I’m excited by the potential of the new technologies we are looking to leverage, and I know Vanessa will be at the forefront of implementing those improvements.”