Abby grew up in Iowa City and trained herself to say “soda” instead of “pop” when she moved to Boston for college. As an undergraduate at Tufts University, she enjoyed the northeast (mainly the Boston winters and aggressive driving) so decided to stay close after graduation. She matriculated at the NYU school of medicine with every intention of being a pediatric oncologist. After graduating, she moved to Philadelphia for pediatrics residency. During her intern year at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she rotated on the immunocompromised infectious diseases service and was fascinated. She saw the esoteric opportunistic infections that could so quickly impact a vulnerable child, and felt shocked that she hadn’t yet envisioned that part of pediatric oncology. That shock lent way to curiosity and ultimately motivation: she completed a dual fellowship in Infectious Diseases and Hematology-Oncology which left her board-eligible in both subspecialties. And exhausted.
Following two years of clinical fellowship, Abby debated what to do during her research training. She was intrigued by basic science, though really had no experience in a lab. The nudge she needed came from meeting Dr. Matthew Weitzman, who was a new faculty member at CHOP and charmed Abby with his enthusiasm for science and coffee. He also happened to run a virology lab that had a project ripe for someone with Abby’s mix of clinical interests: his lab studied innate immune enzymes that limit virus infection but had recently discovered that the enzymes could also mutate the host cell genome. Abby picked up the project and – after a steep learning curve – decided to stick around for a full post-doc and ended up loving life in the lab. No one, least of all Abby, would have guessed that she would end up in basic science, but now you can find her on the 5th floor of MPRB working on mechanisms of genome instability in pediatric cancer.
During her post-doc and time as an Instructor at CHOP, Abby attended on both the heme malignancies service and the immunocompromised ID consult service. While the services worked fluidly together on the inpatient side, Abby observed the difficulty that oncologists had managing infections in the outpatient setting where there was less ID presence. She founded the Opportunistic Infections clinic at CHOP, which put ID consultants in the oncology clinic to help co-manage infectious complications of cancer therapy. The clinic improved access to ID care for ambulatory oncology patients, and also has been pivotal in generating some new treatment pathways and clinical research. Abby is excited to be a part of the new immunocompromised ID service at SLCH.
Outside of medicine and science, Abby spends time with her husband, Nathan Singh, who is a medical oncologist and also just started a job at Wash U. While they admittedly discuss anthracycline dosing and lentivirus production protocols over dinner, they also share many interests outside of work. They love to travel, both to observe and experience different cultures which often takes them to the third world, and to taste all kinds of wine. They now have a 3-year-old, Max, and a 9-month-old, Alana, who have seriously inhibited international travel and wine tasting, but are cute enough to make up for it. Max and Alana also put a damper on Abby’s former addiction to reading non-fiction, but now her repertoire includes Ferdinand and The Runaway Bunny. And she still sneaks the New Yorker in every so often.