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McMahan Receives Helping Hand Award

Chad McMahan - NSH Symposium

Chad McMahan, the department’s Histology Lab manager and officer for safety and compliance, was recognized by the National Society for Histotechnology at its 42nd annual NSH Symposium in Long Beach, California, September 18-21, 2016. The society’s Helping Hand Award recognized McMahan’s excellence in sharing scientific and technical knowledge in the histology community.

McMahan has just completed a two-year term as president of the SC Society of Histology Technicians. He said, “I value leadership in both members and officers. Encouraging students to be thinkers and leaders in their profession is my greatest contribution as president.” McMahan presided over the state’s 2016 meeting of histologists at Litchfield, SC, November 3-6. Activities included hosting career days for over 200 students from five high schools in the Pawley’s Island area. Beginning with lectures covering histology fundamentals and pathological diagnosis, the experience provided several wet-lab workstations including microtomy, cryotomy, staining, microscopy slide review and hands-on exploration of biomaterial implants. The experience complemented STEM activities held at each school. Of his term in office, McMahan said, “Participating on the state and national level greatly encourages me because I have the opportunity to support, challenge and connect with my peers. My greatest desire is that cancer research will continue locally, statewide and across the world.”

As a member of the department’s research staff, McMahan has a range of responsibilities. “I ensure that students working in the histology labs have proper training. I assist with sample preservation, sectioning samples with biomedical implant devices and staining slides with various techniques. I assist in all methodologies of histology fundamentals to produce a slide with values of complete sample morphology and cellular details. Graduate and undergraduate students encourage me to stretch my limits to assist them with great challenges. Repeating experiments, sectioning difficulties and staining variabilities are several roadblocks that students face. My duties include being research safety liaison and manager of our $10M inventory. Through our department, I collaborate with researchers and students from CECAS, CAFLS, and CES.

Regarding his role as safety officer, McMahan stated, “We consistently ensure safety showers and eyewashes are functioning properly. Fire extinguishers and other aspects of building safety compliance are monitored. We keep accurate training logs for all students who complete the required safety modules. Safety is a top priority when researchers and students are involved with biologics and the chemicals required in bioengineering research. We train, train, and re-train to ensure student compliance. Students are our greatest asset: I would not do what I do without our students.