Learn more about Khalid Amin, MD, a Medical Member of the ASC and our Member Spotlight of the month, from his conversation with Membership Committee member Fang Fan, MD, PhD.

Khalid Amin, MD

Cytopathologist/Assistant Professor
University of Minnesota

Interviewed by:  Fang Fan, MD, PhD
University of Kansas Medical Center

  1. How did you first find out about cytology?

My first familiarization with cytology was during my pathology residency. While many people take time to select the subspecialty they want to go into, I just felt while on my first rotation that cytology was what I wanted to pursue. I am extremely satisfied and happy that I made the right decision.

  1. What drew you to this profession?

Cytology is not only a science, but also an art. It is one of the rare subspecialties of pathology where you not only make a diagnosis on the microscope, but can also interact with patients directly and perform procedures that make a huge contribution to their management. Last but not the least, a good mentor plays a pivotal role in drawing one to a profession. I was fortunate to be trained and mentored by one of the best in this field.

  1. Tell us about an interesting case or situation that you’ve encountered in your practice.

I have encountered many interesting cases; however, one of the most interesting cases was a FNA that I performed during my cytology fellowship. The patient was a young male with scalp lesion/bump. As I carefully inserted the needle into the lesion, I felt a strange gritty sensation like hitting a bag of minute pebbles. Even before looking at the slide for onsite evaluation, I had an intuition; could this be a Pilomatrixoma? I came back to the lab and told my attending about this out of the world diagnosis, which was not taken very seriously at that time.  Later, the case was signed out descriptively and Pilomatrixoma was included as one of the leading differentials. The most exciting moment for me was when we received the excision specimen of the lesion; it was a Pilomatrixoma!

  1. What do you like best about being a cytotechnologist/cytopathologist?

I really enjoy all aspects of being a cytopathologist. From diagnosing a wide variety of cases to providing rapid on-site evaluation, teaching residents and fellows, and conducting research to advance the field.

  1. What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?

The ability to make a diagnosis at the bedside, by aspirating and evaluating a few cells, and how it tremendously helps the clinicians in streamlining and initiating prompt treatment is what makes cytology most rewarding for me.

  1. What do you value most about your membership in the ASC?

The ASC provides a platform for all cytology professionals, trainees and students to learn, engage, and contribute to the advancement and recognition of this field and profession.

  1. Do you have a memory from the ASC that you would like to share?

Although I don’t have a specific memory, I always look forward to attending the ASC Annual Scientific Meeting, which not only provides a tremendous learning experience but offers the opportunity to interact with fellow cytopathologists, share research and learn about the latest trends.

  1. What advice would you give to students coming into the profession?

The advice I would like to give to the students is not to get frustrated when they start cytology training. It is something that one learns from experience and it takes time. Many students are initially perplexed and feel that it is beyond their abilities to learn to make a diagnosis on a few cells. My advice is, “Don’t give up,” keep looking at the cells, and they will begin talking to you.

Click to read more Member Spotlight Interviews.