Dr. Alan Poole: Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas Award for Excellence in Pediatric Medicine

By Debbie Bolles

Dr. Alan Poole can’t remember wanting to be anything other than a doctor. In the fourth grade, he even wrote an essay about his dream to attend Wake Forest University in North Carolina and study medicine.

“I really have no idea how that idea got in my head,” Dr. Poole said.

Dr. Alan Poole
Dr. Alan Poole

Perhaps it started with multiple trips to doctors to treat his childhood asthma. Or it could have been the rounds of golf he played with local doctors in his hometown of Florence, S.C. Then again, it simply might have been the fact that he was a smart kid, and intelligent students often are advised to pursue careers as doctors or lawyers.

“I really enjoy doing research. On the medical side, it’s good to see patients to realize what’s important and what problems need to be addressed back in the lab,” said Dr. Poole, a UT Southwestern Medical Center Medical Scientist Training Program fellow and recipient of the 2012 Pediatric Society of Greater Dallas Award for Excellence in Pediatric Medicine.

Dr. Soumya Adhikari, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, said Dr. Poole’s ability to connect with children and his passion for science led to his selection for the honor. The award recognizes an outstanding graduate who has the personal character and dedication to serve and be an advocate for children.

“Alan is the type of student who makes you look forward to coming in to work every day because you know he’s going to be hungry to learn something new, and he’s going to elevate the level of conversation surrounding the patients under his care,” Dr. Adhikari said.

Dr. Poole has accepted a pediatric residency at UT Southwestern and at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. He aspires to work in pediatric critical care, attending to children with complex or life-threatening diseases or injuries.

“Pediatrics just fits my personality. I enjoy interacting with kids. I’m perfectly happy sitting on the floor playing with them while doing a physical exam,” Dr. Poole said.

Fulfilling his own childhood prophecy, Dr. Poole attended Wake Forest, graduating with a degree in physics. He then joined the M.D./Ph.D. program, completing his doctoral research in the lab of his mentor, Dr. Rama Ranganathan, Director of the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Systems Biology. Dr. Poole’s graduate studies focused on understanding how the evolutionary information encoded in protein sequences reveals the physical interactions underlying protein structure and function.

Outside of medicine and research, golf remains a strong passion for Dr. Poole, who started playing on his high school golf team as a seventh-grader. He also runs, competes in triathlons, and volunteers at his church in a program for youth of recently divorced parents.


Dr. Ranganathan holds the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Chair in Biomedical Science.