Q&A with a medical laboratory technician

Posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

Head shot of Anetia Camacho.

Anetia Camacho
Medical Laboratory Technician
Bachelor of Science, Animal Biology

Anetia Camacho is a graduate from the Bachelor of Science, Animal Biology program. She is a Medical Laboratory Technician for Public Health Ontario where she contributes to COVID-19 testing and diagnostics. We recently chatted with Anetia to learn more about her role and experience at the University of Guelph.

Tell us about your employer.

Public Health Ontario (PHO) helps keep the people of Ontario healthy and safe. They provide scientific advice and support to healthcare-related sectors. PHO Laboratories specifically provides clinical and environmental testing for Ontarians, hospitals, and public health units.

Tell us about your role.

I work as a laboratory technician in a medical lab. The majority of my job is performing molecular COVID-19 diagnostics. However, I also help in other areas of the laboratory such as high-volume testing and delivery and specimen handling. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It is very rewarding to know that I contribute to such a vital part of the diagnostics process. My team and I are able to get test results out to hospitals and clinicians in a timely manner, which helps keep their patients healthy and safe. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

The first thing I do when I start work is to perform all the necessary daily maintenance on the laboratory equipment and machinery. I also spend a lot of time cleaning and decontaminating the testing areas. I then perform sample preparation, extraction, and RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) on hundreds of patient samples. Then, I can co-analyze the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) results to determine if the samples are positive or negative for SARS-COV-2.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Guelph?

I loved the fact that the University of Guelph is one of the top research-intensive schools. Also, I really wanted to study animals and the animal biology program is one you can’t find at any other university.

What is an unforgettable experience you had while at U of G?

When I was a first-year student, the Gryphon Pep Rally was an amazing experience. Everyone came together to support the University, dressed up and showed incredible school spirit. I remember all the different residences were taught dance routines from the Resident Assistants and we performed them on the field in front of everyone. That was a really cool and fun day!

What’s a piece of advice you’d like to share with current students?

I think it’s very important for students to go out and get experience in their desired field before they graduate. While I was an undergraduate student, I gained a lot of experience by participating in a work-study program and a research project, and by working as an undergraduate research assistant. Having all this experience really helped me find a job soon after I graduated. 

How has your B.Sc. Animal Biology degree influenced your career?

From my animal biology degree, I learned a lot about genetics, diseases, and immunology from various courses. These courses really piqued my interest in laboratory work. Also, having This type of background knowledge is crucial while working in a medical laboratory. 

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