CVP Alumni Profile
|CVP Class of 2011, Ms. Dafne Chianella, poses for photo at MUSC Gradation in May 2011.|
- Current City:
- Brief Biography:
I was born in Italy and immigrated with my family to the States around mid-middle school. I went to high school in Memphis, TN and attended the College of Charleston for my undergraduate degree. I had always been interested in medicine. In college I worked as a volunteer first responder, I did undergraduate neuroscience research, and volunteered at MUSC. After graduating with a BS in Molecular Biology, I took a year off and moved back to Rome where my family instilled in me the importance of my heritage and taught me all the family recipes for the kitchen and for a happy life. I moved back to attend cardiovascular perfusion school at MUSC, and after receiving my degree, I worked in Manhattan at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center. After 2 years of gaining experience and working with amazing doctors, I moved back to Charleston for my dream job. Now I am a pediatric perfusionist working for some of the best surgeons in the best city in the US.
- Current Employer/Position/Responsibilities:
I am a pediatric cardiovascular perfusionist at MUSC. I perform cardiopulmonary bypass during cardiac surgery, heart transplants, and other CT operations. I also assist with ECMO, VADs, and liver transplants.
- Best Part of Your Job:
The best part of my job is seeing my patients doing well post-op. A few weeks ago, one of our very sick patients needed a heart transplant. She was only a few months old and needed ECMO support. Finally, after weeks of waiting and fighting, a donor heart became available and I helped give her a new tiny heart. The patient was able to go home for the first time and I never felt more proud and touched.
- Unique Talents and/or Hobbies Outside of Work:
I spend my free time with my wonderful boyfriend, family, friends, and little black frenchie I call Bernice. She is so silly and snorty, and is the best little frisbee catcher! I enjoy running, surfing, boating/sailing, and playing Ultimate Frisbee for the competitive teams in the city. Whenever I find the time, I enjoy playing my bassoon and making pasta al mano.
- Greatest Professional Accomplishments:
I am still very young in my career, so I like to think my greatest accomplishments are yet to come. But so far, I guess I could consider my two jobs as evidence of my hard work. Both NYP and MUSC are some of the best hospitals in the country. When I was at NYP, I got to work with Dr. Oz and I even appeared on his show (primary perfusionist with the crazy hat) and on the ABC television series NYMed. (See links below). In perfusion school, I earned the Outstanding Researcher award.
- Favorite MUSC Faculty Member:
All of them!! That’s why I worked so hard to come back. I see some of my co-workers more than my family. Not only do I enjoy working and learning with them, I enjoy being friends.
- What advice would you offer to current CVP students?:
Work as hard as you can to be the best perfusionist you can be. This isn’t just some major in undergrad; it’s your career and someone’s life. We have the coolest job with amazing gratification potential, but with that comes great responsibility and seriousness. Plus, we have the best pick up line ever:
Some handsome/beautiful stranger in a bar: What do you do for a living??
Us: I fix broken hearts…
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?:
Hopefully working at MUSC’s new, state-of-the-art Children’s Hospital! With a wing dedicated to its amazing perfusionists –wink wink.