Path At Last! From Turkey, With Love

Pathology is an active, dynamic, charismatic medical science that needs to be in constant communication and collaboration with all clinical branches and colleagues.

Love for pathology spans the globe, and that couldn’t be more true for Pathologist Dr. Pembe Oltulu (@pembeoltulu) from Turkey. Her love and dedication for the field is contagious! An ardent user and supporter of #PathTwitter, her research interests include social media in pathology, impression cytology, dermatopathology and interstitial lung disease. Without further ado, we introduce to you Dr. Oltulu and her personal journey to pathology.

I grew up in a rural town in Anatolia (Turkey) with two sisters and two brothers. Ever since I was a kid, I always thought I would have to work a lot. My family's economic situation was bad. Someone told my father that a girl should not be educated, but my father supported me to get an education. Despite the economic difficulties, I completed primary, secondary and high school education. I passed the university entrance exam and started medical school education at Selcuk University, Meram Faculty of Medicine in Konya, Turkey with great passion. I did not study medicine just to pass exams and classes – I simply loved everything I was learning. I completed my medical education with great desire, enthusiasm and success. One of my favorite subjects during the course of medical school was pathology, though I never thought of actually becoming a pathologist. However, when I did actually land in pathology residency, I had actually considered retaking the exam and moving to a department like gynecology and obstetrics.


During my residency, I was fascinated by the micro world I discovered through the microscope. I realized that pathology is a special area of science and the basis of medical science. Pathology is an active, dynamic, charismatic medical science that needs to be in constant communication and collaboration with all clinical branches and colleagues. Every day, pathologists travel to the microuniverse of the human body and try to identify pathologies there. Most pathologists do not talk to patients directly, but they do talk to their cells. Thus, pathologists have a huge responsibility and constantly must improve their craft and keep up-to-date with the science. The most important priority is to write a pathology report consistent with the current literature and direct the patient to the right treatment option. This responsibility means accepting continuous reading, learning and self-development throughout one’s whole life. What I disliked most in the pathology department were the formaldehyde and xylene odors. I got used to it over time and pathology became a part of me.


During my residency years the government in my country did not allow women to wear headscarves at universities. That’s why, after my residency training, I worked as a pathology specialist in various state hospitals in Turkey for 9 years. With the improvement of democratic conditions, in 2012 I started my academic career at Necmettin Erbakan University, Meram Faculty of Medicine in Konya (also known as Rumi’s city). Konya is a beautiful, green and historical city in central Anatolia. In 2013, when I was pregnant with my fourth child, I decided to create a Twitter account and follow tweets about pathology. I first noticed Dr. Jerad Gardner’s (@JMGardnerMD) account and started following him. Twitter was a bit difficult to use, but over time I got used to it. I understood the importance of hashtags. Then I started following pathologists who shared regularly. I was reading so many pathology tweets on my Twitter main page every day -- current articles, rare cases, tips...and from pathologists of various countries. I said to myself, “Wow! This is such an amazing platform for international communication and collaboration.” In those years, the pathology tweets were not as frequent as today's pathology tweets. It was just the beginning and the great masters did not want to join Twitter and other social media (SoMe) platforms like Facebook and YouTube. Dr Gardner worked hard, he never gave up, and he told everyone about the amazing education, training and collaboration opportunities offered by these platforms, especially Twitter. Today, Twitter and other SoMe platforms have an incredible pathology reach that is not seen in other medical disciplines. We have many pathology legends and masters with us on these platforms. That is incredible! We are very grateful to Dr. Gardner for his dedication. Being active on Twitter was one of the most important turning points in my life. Pathology became an even bigger love for me. I started communicating on an international level. My colleagues from many countries have been friends, sisters and brothers to me. Despite the weakness of my English language education, I did not give up on being active on SoMe. I’ve tried hard to ensure the correct information on these platforms is available to every pathologist colleague around the world. Today I work voluntarily and hard as a manager and editor on many Facebook pathology pages.


During the day I spend time with the biopsies of my patients, my residents and students at my institution. In the evening I spend time with my husband and four children at home. In my free time, I follow the pathology shares on social media platforms and devote time to complete my work and responsibilities. My bedtime is usually two o'clock at night. Even though this hard work gives me fibromyalgia, I am not complaining about the condition because of the “thank you” messages I receive from many colleagues. Knowing that I can be useful to humanity keeps me fit and dynamic. I believe with all my heart that, for the development of every scientific discipline, it is very important to be able to share the experiences and everything that a person has in himself/herself to help and support others. The work I do makes pathology information reach more people and this makes me very happy.


Everyone has a story to tell, and we want to hear (and share!) your story about your journey to pathology. Just email Kristin at kmitchener@instapathbio.com or direct message us on Twitter @instapathbio.com for more information.


To learn more about Luci, visit our Products page or email info@instapathbio.com. Instapath was founded in 2017 by the same engineers and scientists who developed the original prototypes. Our vision is to enable patients to immediately know their cancer diagnosis instead of waiting days or weeks for the results. Instapath builds microscopy platforms to improve patient care in the form of faster turnaround times and prevention of high risk and costly repeat biopsy procedures. Further, our goal is to provide users with a seamless, modernized digital pathology workflow with tools to complete all pathology evaluations needed to provide the most precise and efficient diagnoses for patients.