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Ivy Blog

Staff Spotlight: Alexis Ratliff

Alexis Ratliff

Job title: Research Technician
Hometown: Tempe, AZ

What made you want to work for the Ivy Brain Tumor Center?

Being involved in research has always been my goal. As a patient of Barrow Neurological Institute myself, I knew I wanted to be immersed in the community that has helped me feel better and more comfortable over the years. Neurology, in particular, has always been a strong passion of mine and the Ivy Brain Tumor Center stood out to me as a place where I could contribute to very crucial work, and do something every day to help patients and their families get answers and find comfort.

What does it mean to you to work for the Ivy Center?

Working at the Ivy Brain Tumor Center is more than just a job, and more than just showing up and getting my work done everyday. Working at the Ivy Center is being part of a huge network of passionate people who strive everyday to better the lives of our patients. To work at the Ivy Center is to be a part of a compassionate, growing community, working diligently to help cure brain cancer.

What motivated you to get into the medical field, specifically research?

I feel the happiest and fulfilled when I am helping others. In working in the medical field I can make a real I have always had an interest in the medical field, and as I progressed in school it was clear that math and science were my favorite subjects. As I learned about careers in the medical field, the idea of conducting research really stood out to me. I loved the idea of discovering something new or finding better ways to help people. After being involved in a car accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, I decided to lean into the neurological field to assist others in finding better treatment options. When dealing with neurological issues, there is a degree of uncertainty and being able to provide support and ease the stress for other patients was a driving motivation for me.

What’s the culture like at the Ivy Center? What makes working here different than other research centers?

The Ivy Center actively cultivates and fosters a positive environment to build its employees as a team. I The culture at the Ivy Center is composed of individuals who value and respect each other resulting in a close knit group. Although there are many different departments, we all work together and know each other personally. The various labs, the clinical team, the coordinators, directors and even the surgeons are all intertwined with one another and we see each other on a consistent basis. The Ivy Center is intentional about providing opportunities for us to meet and get to know one another.

What is your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of my job is putting together the patient reports after treatment and seeing the great changes that have been made. Although I do not personally interact with the patients, they all become important to me and I love seeing our work making a difference for them and their families.

What is it like to know that you’re playing an integral role in identifying new therapies that will contribute to a cure for brain cancer?

It is an amazing feeling to know I am playing an integral role in identifying new therapies that will contribute to a cure for brain cancer. The thought of being involved in something so life-changing is humbling and makes me proud beyond measure.

What keeps you motivated when dealing with such a complex disease?

The thing that keeps me most motivated when dealing with such a complex disease is knowing that one day we will figure it out and help change so many lives. I know that a team in a lab worked hard to give me the medical help I needed, and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to do the same for others.

Explain your role in the research being conducted at the Ivy Center?

My role as a research technician at the Ivy Center is focused around immunohistochemistry. I receive slides with tumor tissue and stain them with various antibodies, which help identify the different biomarkers that may be present in order to provide a personalized therapy for each patient. My work helps determine which trial a patient will enter. I also compare the tissue from before and after dosing to help conclude if the treatment is working as it should.

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