Alumni Q&A: Dao Le ’98, Dir. of Nuclear Medicine, Radiopharmacy, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Meet Dao Le ’98, Director of Nuclear Medicine, Radiopharmacy at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Fort Smith, AR
Major while at Westminster?
What other degrees do you hold?
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
Describe your current work.
Director of Nuclear Medicine, Radiopharmacy at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. In this role, I provide expert advice on the pharmaceutical aspects of patient care and clinical trials involving radiopharmaceuticals. I serve as an advisor and consultant to the Department of Nuclear Medicine, the Division of Diagnostic Imaging, the IRB, Institutional Compliance and other departments on all stages of design and implementation of research involving FDA approved and investigational radiopharmaceuticals.
What organizations are you involved in?
I like to be involved with nuclear pharmacy and imaging societies, so that I can both offer my expertise and learn from others in my field. I especially like to work with students because I would not be where I am today without my mentors.
Some of my memberships are the American Pharmacy Association (where I sit on the Nuclear Pharmacy Expert Committee), the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, and the Board of Pharmacy Specialties for the Nuclear Pharmacy Council.
Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What do you consider your greatest success?
I am pretty proud of being selected as a 2017 Fellow of the American Pharmacy Association (APhA). It is an accomplishment that I always considered as being pretty awesome. My professor/mentor had those initials behind her name and I remember asking her what they meant. 10 years later, I have them!
My proudest and greatest successes are my children. They make me smile when I think of them. Even in the most stressful of situations, I tell myself, at the end of the day, I go home to them (and all their drama 🙂 ). I have a 9 year old daughter and a 3 year old son.
What role did Westminster play in leading you to your current position?
My experience at Westminster gave me the confidence that I needed to understand that through hard work I can achieve the things that I deemed unachievable or difficult. The classes I took were really hard and I worked really hard in them, but in the end I passed — I made A’s. I was always nervous that I would fail, but I ended my years at Westminster, graduating near the top of my class. Hard work paid off. When I entered pharmacy school, I had the confidence to assure myself that I wouldn’t fail. I have taken that mindset with me as I progressed in my career.
Do you recommend Westminster to prospective college students?
I have imagined how my daughter would like Westminster, so the answer to that is YES. I like the close relationships at Westminster. I love that my professor called me because I didn’t show up to class and it was “uncharacteristic” of me to just not show up. Believe me, I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but looking back, I think that was pretty cool! Westminster wanted me to succeed.
Favorite Westminster faculty member?
Dr. Williams (Biology), Dr. Young (first year seminar and mentor), Dr. Amspoker (microbiology), Dr. Schultz (organic chemistry). 19 years later, the memories still remain clear.
Favorite spot on campus?
I don’t know if it was my favorite spot, but I liked to study in the old chemistry lab rooms. I would spend my whole day locked up over there. I liked the bacon and egg bagels from what is now the Hunter Activity Center. I used to go over there and hang out because I was bored with studying.
Last book you read?
The last book I read, two weeks ago: The Mathematics and Biology of the Biodistribution of Radiopharmaceuticals. The last fun book I read (usually on vacations with my BFF, whom I met at Westminster, Dr. Kecia Smette) is a James Patterson book. I like his books — they are my guilty pleasures.