Pamela Lankford-Turner, 30 years

Manager, Research Laboratory

School of Medicine

Pamela Lankford Turner

Tell us a little about the work you've done at Emory throughout your career.

In June 1993, my journey began at Emory University in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology.  I started out doing single and multi-color immunophenotyping of human, mouse, and non-human primate tissue for flow cytometry and cell sorting techniques to detect rare cells.  Later, I became responsible for distributing the test and control Morphine injection solutions for 40 SIV-infected Rhesus macaques. Currently, I’m supporting the Hope Clinic Laboratory by serving as the primary point of contact, ensuring that the laboratory is safe and compliant, overseeing the clinical laboratory operations, and ensuring a high level of accuracy in specimen processing. Since 2016, the Division of AIDS Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) audit participation has had excellent performance and all requirements have been met.

Pamela Lankford Turner with Sidney Poitier

Me and Sidney Poitier in 1999!

What are some of your favorite memories of your time at Emory?

  • Meeting Sidney Poitier during the filming of Noah Dearborn while working at the Emory West Campus in 1999. 
  • Being forced to leave campus during the filming of “Remember the Titans (2000) Emory West Campus. 
  • Losing all forms of communication during September 11th, 2001, terrorist attack while driving to work.  
  • The Dalai Lama visiting Emory in 1987. 
  • Sylvia Ennis, the best clinical business manager, and friend in the world.  Surviving the Unsurvivable -Emory News Center 2017. 

What are some of the most significant changes you have witnessed over the course of your career?

Emory's campus has changed a lot since 1993, but most of my assignments have been off campus so I have not had the chance to see all the growth. 

However, I visited the campus on August 17, 2023, and the campus has changed tremendously. When I started at Emory, I remember parking behind Woodruff Memorial Building (WMB). I remember walking out WMB heading to the Dobbs University Center (DUC) and hearing the verdict of the OJ Simpson trial.   

Is there anything you miss from "back in the day"?

Going to the hospital cafeteria hearing the words "If you have lunch with me, I'll be your best friend". Steve Micko was a gentle giant and he taught me everything about flow-cytometry and we often ate lunch together.   Steve passed away June 1997. 

The housekeeping staff that kept WMB clean, and the restrooms were in perfect condition.    

What do you hope for the future of Emory?

I hope the salary for laboratory personnel will become more competitive to keep good techs in the lab. 

Anything else you would like to share?

Opportunities don't happen, you create them. Your attitude is the little thing that makes a big difference. Always try to improve yourself, not to prove yourself. Support, don’t sabotage. Finally, knowledge is power, but how you use it matters most.