Staff Spotlight – Myrl Holida, PA

Myrl is a Physician Assistant in the Division of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

I work in Medical Genetics and Genomics in the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics. I began at UIHC as a Cardiovascular Research Assistant in 1981 and left in 1985 to attend training at The Military Physician Assistant Course. I returned in January 1988 and cared for patients in Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant/Hematology Oncology. I became more involved in clinical research in the late 1990s and was a principal investigator on multiple clinical trials for patients primarily with enzyme deficiencies (Lysosomal Storage Disorders-LSDs). A worldwide enzyme shortage prompted the FDA to request researchers to make available alternative therapies and I was tasked with filling the treatment void through the clinical trial process until production was again adequate. Heightened awareness of UIHC as a Lysosomal Storage Disorder Center and a growing patient population prompted my transition to Genetics in 2014. I was then able to focus clinical care and provide increased research opportunities. Since 2003, five LSD medications in which UIHC participated in multi-institutional clinical trials were FDA approved; two were the first oral medications ever available. The Medical Genetics and Genomics Division in SFCH currently has 5 ongoing clinical trials and will soon be opening gene replacement trials. Additionally the division also has multiple rare disease monitoring registries.

I enjoy traveling with my wife Denise, who also works at SFCH as a neonatal nurse practitioner. We have traveled on 6 continents and more than 25 countries. We have two grown children and are new grandparents!

I think my current position has many components of my “dream job”. I enjoy coming to work and the people I work with are great people. I feel valued by my coworkers and my patients, and I have good relationships with them. I have a passion for helping these patients with rare diseases. I have three generations of patients with these inherited disorders and know many of them well. My time at UIHC and in genetics has been satisfying and the program continues to grow with addition of collaborating and supervising physicians and research personnel to administer research trials.

We love Hawkeye football and are 40 year season ticketholders. Denise and I are trying to go to all the BIG Ten stadiums and only have a few remaining.

Fun fact: Denise and I share the same start day at UIHC.

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