Pathology in focus
Advancing the Vision of Genomic Diagnostic Pathology at UAB
Netto Named Editorin-Chief of Modern Pathology New Neuropathology Division Director 3 Faculty Awarded Endowments Researchers Tackle Cancer Metastasis, Neonatal Infections
Volume 2, Issue 1 2020
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Advancing the Vision of Genomic Diagnostic Pathology at UAB Open Source: How a Data Scientist is Bringing Precision Medicine to the People Fatima Publishes Book on Practical Approach to Renal Biopsy New Faculty in Laboratory Medicine Renowned Pediatric Pathologist Establishes Education Fund Four New Faculty in Anatomic Pathology Tri-State Conference Features UAB Faculty Netto Publishes 3 Articles Morlote Joins Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics Marques Joins ABPath Advisory Committee USCAP Conference 2019
14 Miller Selected as Division Director of Neuropathology 14 New Vice Chair for Research Appointed 15 Karthikeyan and Hildreth Join Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology 16 TTP Fair a Success 17 New Review Identifies Four Hallmarks of Cancer Metastasis 17 Cancer Research Retreat 18 Model Probes Possible Treatments for Common Cause of Infant Death 21 Pivotal Role Found for IgG Autoantibodies in IgA Nephropathy 22 Shevde’s Research Featured by Department of Defense 24 Research Retreat 2019 at Regions Field a Hit
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A New History Book on UAB Pathology Honoring Former Department Chair Jay McDonald, M.D. Professor Puts Blood Cancer on the Run 2019 Holiday Party Four AP Faculty Retire Pathology Takes Third at SOM Diversity Fair
UAB PATHOLOGY IN FOCUS is published by the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. West Pavilion 210 619 South 19th Street Birmingham, AL 35233-7331 205.934.4303
EDUCATION 26 27 28 28 29 29 30 31 31
Department Celebrates Outgoing Residents and Fellows Pathology Mentorships Foster Success New Class of Residents and Fellows Welcomed Resident Tiffany Graham Featured in The Pathologist Renovated Workspace for Clinical Pathology Residents Alexander Lecture Features Jacob Steinberg Eric Olson Delivers Pritchett Lecture Pathology Interest Group Draws Crowds Netto Teaches at Pathology Conferences in Europe, South America and Asia 32 6th Annual Listinsky Lecture Features International Heparanese Expert 32 Annual Brissie Lecture Features Nevada County Coroner
AWARDS 34 35 35 36 36 36 37 39 39 40 41 42
Three Pathology Faculty Appointed to Endowed Professorships Pathology Takes Home Three Argus Awards George Elected SE Representative to APC Six Faculty Promotions Reddy Celebrated with Room Naming Siegal Sworn in as ASCP President Three Awarded Professor Emeritus Status Dussaq Wins 2019 William Boyd Medal Chen Named Outstanding Faculty Senate Member Chen and Reddy Honored with SOM Dean’s Excellence Awards Women in Pathology Celebrate Women Leaders in Medicine Grizzle Recognized with ISBER Founder’s Award
Chair George Netto, M.D. Editor in Chief Christina Crowe Communications Editorial Assistant Hannah Weems Graphic Design Jane Ehrhardt In High Spirits Creative
Please direct any questions, comments and suggestions to: Christina Crowe phone 205.975.2498 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Catch up on our latest announcements, news and accomplishments at UAB.EDU/MEDICINE/PATHOLOGY Follow us @UABPathology
LE T T E R FRO M TH E C H AI R
TO THE SECOND ISSUE of the UAB Pathology In Focus magazine. We are excited to be bringing you this overview of our many accomplishments of the previous year. The advent of a new decade brings many exciting developments to the UAB Department of Pathology. We expanded our ranks with the addition of 10 new faculty members across our 6 divisions in 2019, including the recruitment of division directors in Neuropathology (p. 14) and Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics (p. 2), who bring unique subspecialty expertise in their respective fields. At the same time, several of our faculty received promotions, and three achieved emeritus status (p. 37). We are excited to highlight the growth of our offerings in molecular and genetic diagnostics in pathology at UAB. Dr. Craig Mackinnon, Jr., Division Director, Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics, outlines his vision for the division and the new Precision Diagnostics Laboratory we are working hard to initiate. This facility, supported by our recent recruit Dr. Elizabeth Worthey (p. 4), section head for Bioinformatics, will advance the development of a large assortment of powerful bioinformatic pipelines. Pathology In Focus has expanded from our inaugural issue to include five categories: Clinical, covering the work of our Anatomic Pathology Division and various labs; followed by the Research section (p. 14) which introduces Dr. Ryan Miller, Division Director, Neuropathology, as well as several dynamic new research faculty and highlighting the work of our existing team. The Education section showcases our trainees, both outgoing and incoming, as well as successful mentorships, and guest lectures by world-renowned experts in their fields for our several endowed lectureships. The Awards section (p. 34) covers accolades from across the department, ranging this year from recognitions by various professional organizations highlighting our faculty and staff, to editorships, teaching awards and School of Medicine honors. And finally, we offer memories of our beloved former chair Dr. Jay McDonald (p. 23), recognize the careers of several retirees from Anatomic Pathology (p. 43), and tell an incredible story of hope from one of our younger faculty members, Dr. Adam Wende (p. 25). Please enjoy this issue of our magazine, which builds on our communication through our monthly electronic newsletter, website, and social media content. Send feedback to us at email@example.com, and let us know what youâ€™d like to see in upcoming issues. We hope to continue the momentum weâ€™ve generated and the reputation built by generations of career scientists, doctors, and educators here at UAB this year and for years to come.
George J. Netto, M.D. Professor Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair UAB Department of Pathology
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Advancing the Vision of Genomic Diagnostic Pathology at UAB
board-certified anatomical and molecular genetic pathologist, Alexander “Craig” Mackinnon, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., joined UAB after serving as associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). There, he directed the Clinical and Translational Research Laboratory (CTRL), where he provided interpretation related to the pathology of tumor samples. The lab developed multiple Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based panels targeting variants in both DNA and RNA. He has experience designing and validating targeted, custom DNA and RNA sequencing assays. Alexander “Craig” Mackinnon, Mackinnon’s lab interJr, MD, PhD preted a range of tests, from sequencing data to histology to digital quantitative imaging for immunohistochemical analysis. Mackinnon studied molecular biology before working for a year at the University of Virginia, where he confirmed a love of lab work. He went on to enroll in the Medical Scholars Program- a joint M.D., Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. After graduating, he did his residency in Anatomical Pathology, a research postdoctoral fellowship, and a clinical fellowship in Molecular Genetic Pathology at
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the University of Chicago. From there, Dr. Mackinnon joined the faculty at MCW, where he established and directed the CTRLan independent molecular and histology core lab within the department of pathology. The need for the lab arose because,
In less than 6 months, Dr. Mackinnon has taken the task of serving as the inaugural director at UAB of the Division of Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics (GDB) in the Department of Pathology — and run with it. Mackinnon says, there was “no avenue or resources for doing research projects, making it challenging for faculty and trainees to develop and advance their careers.” This was in 2010, “the start of the molecular era,” as Mackinnon describes it. The lab obtained CAP and CLIA certification and began to offer clinical molecular testing to the hospital lab. Nine years later, the lab had become a success, and MCW began efforts to commercialize the clinical testing and research capabilities that Mackinnon had developed. Around this time, Mackinnon learned of an opening for the inaugural director of the Division
of Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics under the leadership of a relatively new department chair at UAB, George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, UAB Pathology. “The opportunity seemed fantastic—to take this new division, which had been set up and stewarded by Dr. Shuko Harada (Associate Professor, GDB), who did a great job—and advance it under the leadership of Dr. Netto, who strongly supports it,” Mackinnon says. In 2019, he joined the team already in place, including Dr. Harada, Dr. Anna Yemelyanova (Professor and Associate Director of the division), Dr. Malay Basu (Assistant Professor), and Dr. Diana Morlote (Assistant Professor). “Dr. Mackinnon is leading the Division of Genomics Diagnostics and Bioinformatics at an exciting time when we are expanding both our team of experts and the tests and services we offer relating to genomics diagnostics,” says George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, UAB Pathology.
The 3 initiatives
Mackinnon has three initiatives underway for this year. The first is to take the current test menu and advance it to newer platforms and chemistries. The division has several assays they have developed, primarily in the area of oncology.
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“Disease type really influences demand,” Mackinnon says. “This year we are expanding the test menu, bringing on a large pan-tumor assay to detect a wide range of gene fusions that happen in solid tumors.”
of her software so that her knowledge, vision and perspective are the same as ours,” Mackinnon says.
This includes offering ultra-rapid NGS with a two-day turnaround from sample to report, which is up to five times faster than current turnaround times, he says. The lab will also develop clinical testing to support the existing pharmacogenomics program led by Dr. Nita Limdi, Professor, Department of Neurology.
“A lot of the tools we’re developing in the GDB can be used for other things like research, but we have to provide and maintain super high-quality data—as good as patient data,” Mackinnon says.
The second major initiative is to advance the analytical capabilities of the bioinformatics section within the GDB. Dr. Elizabeth Worthey leads this section, which is under Dr. Mackinnon’s purview. Her initial goal is to organize and supervise the activities of the informatics team toward the development and validation of a large assortment of powerful bioinformatic pipelines. These are required to analyze the vast amount of complex genetic sequencing data used for both patient care and research by UAB faculty. Worthey came to UAB in July 2019 from the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and serves as the Section Head of Bioinformatics for the GDB division. At HudsonAlpha, she and her team developed new software tools that dramatically reduced the time needed to analyze genomic sequencing data. In her role as section head for Bioinformatics, Worthey works with James Cimino, M.D., director of UAB’s Informatics Institute, to collaborate on software code and protocols to make those faster turnaround times possible. “She has a very good clinical mind and understands the clinical requirements
The idea is to provide specimen-toreporting capabilities in house using fewer commercial vendors.
One element to the success of this initiative is to garner the institution’s support for utilizing in-house genetic testing and data analysis by showing its immense intrinsic value to both the institution and the population of Alabama. Mackinnon points to the, “very diverse populations and unmet clinical needs,” in the large catchment area surrounding UAB. “The vision is to identify and address specific healthcare needs that exist in our patients and improve overall quality of care,” he says.
The establishment of a large, multidisciplinary Precision Diagnostics Laboratory (PDL) is the division’s third initiative, and Mackinnon is working hard to engage all potential partners at UAB. A memorandum of understanding exists among the departments of Pathology, Genetics and Radiology to establish this initiative in the form of a clinical genetics lab. This freestanding facility is a priority, Mackinnon says, because it will leverage many of the unique strengths at UAB and deliver innovative healthcare in an efficient and timely manner. This in turn will position UAB to be a regional center of excellence providing state-ofthe art clinical services to its population. To achieve this goal Mackinnon is in ongoing discussions with leadership and colleagues to promote this vision and plan.
While the larger PDL is being developed, the molecular pathology lab is initially expanding into more than 1,000 square feet within UAB Hospital’s West Pavilion. This space is required to house several new instruments purchased by the Pathology Department that support ultra-rapid molecular testing, such as the Idylla platform, an automated polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based mutation testing system that “can go directly from a tissue to results in two to three hours and allows same-day testing,” Mackinnon says. This space will also house the Genexus platform, which provides comprehensive NGS results in 24–30 hours, making it easier and faster for clinicians to make fully informed clinical decisions for cancer patients. This platform also has much lower operating costs and accommodates much smaller tissue samples, like small biopsies, so it is both cheaper to operate and tests a wider range of patient samples than the systems currently in place. Together, these new capabilities will have a positive impact on patient care at UAB by the end of 2020, Mackinnon postis. Mackinnon is optimistic and pleased by the positive feedback and reactions he has received to his division’s initiatives so far. “I think UAB has done a very good job for such a large place of aligning its goals and letting people know about the offerings we have in place,” he says. “We are excited to expand and grow these as the field grows. At the end of the day, our mission is to support our clinical colleagues by providing them with comprehensive and accurate test results, as fast as possible. With the support from the department and the School of Medicine, we are all in a position to make UAB a standout in the Southeast for genomic diagnostics.”
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Open Source: How a Data Scientist Is Bringing Precision Medicine to the People By Matt Windsor, UAB Reporter
some ways Elizabeth Worthey, Ph.D., is a typical nerd. She likes having lots of computer screens and solving puzzles and nothing so much as coming up with novel ways to use software to solve complex problems. Unlike most geeks, though, Worthey is intimately familiar with her own source code. A chunk of her laptop hard drive is dedicated to a complete copy of her DNA, which she had sequenced nearly a decade ago.
‘I had them all’
When she hears about an interesting new deleterious variant at a genetics conference, “I go in and look at my genome and see if I have it or not,” said Worthey, who joined UAB in July as director of the Bioinformatics Section in the Division of Genomics Diagnostics and Bioinformatics in the Department of Pathology, director of the Center for Computational Genomics and Data Sciences in the Department of Pediatrics, and the associate director of the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute, all in the School of Medicine. Worthey hails from the Vale of Leven, in between Loch Lomond and the River Clyde on the west coast of Scotland, an area where heart problems run rampant. “Nobody in my family has cardiovascular disease, though,” she said. “I was at a conference and they put up a list of protective genetic variants. I looked and I had them all.”
The original genomic miracle
She knows from personal experience that many people aren’t so fortunate. In 2009, Worthey was part of a team at the Medical College of Wisconsin that was the first to solve a medical mystery with precision medicine. Worthey and her team created a unique software program, CarpeNovo — Latin for “seize the new” — that identified the ultra-rare genetic mutation responsible for 4-year-old Nicholas Volker’s devastating illness. With this crucial information, clinicians were able to identify a treatment (bone marrow transplant) that saved the boy’s life
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and resulted in a Pulitzer Prize-winning series and book about the case by reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Volker case was the first in the world to demonstrate the power of genomic sequencing and analysis in patient care, but the costs and time involved in sequencing and analysis meant these methods could only be used in extraordinary cases.
“That first clinical case took three months, and fortunately the child was healthy enough to wait that long. Many times they are not. We developed some of the first methods that allowed shortening of that timeframe down to where we are today, which is being able to do sequencing and analysis in less than a week or a couple of days in some cases.”
Later, at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Worthey and her team developed new software tools that have dramatically reduced analysis time. “That first clinical case took three months, and fortunately the child was healthy enough to wait that long,” Worthey said. “Many times they are not. We developed some of the first methods that allowed shortening of that timeframe down to where we are today, which is being able to do sequencing and analysis in less than a week, or a couple of days in some cases.”
Making the miracles routine
Worthey’s mission is to help open up genetic insights as a routine part of clinical care at UAB. She is working with Alexander “Craig” Mackinnon, M.D., Ph.D., the inaugural director of the Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics division in Pathology, to support the Precision Diagnostics Laboratory, which will combine and enhance efforts across the hospital. Genetics,
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Pediatrics, Pathology and other departments at UAB are all increasingly using genomic sequencing as a routine part of patient care, explained George Netto, M.D., the Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair in the Department of Pathology. “So it makes sense to bring all of that under one roof,” Netto said. A single whole genome sequence consists of 3.2 billion DNA letters and takes up half a terabyte of hard-drive space. The first step in genomic-based medicine analysis is to align those billions of letters against a reference genome. Then software tools are used to identify the 6 million or so differences, or variants, that any one person will have compared to another. Most of these aren’t linked to a disease or are otherwise benign. In fact, only one or two are likely to be responsible for the patient’s primary problem. “A big part of precision diagnosis is interpretation and computation, looking at the patient’s code and filtering out what is abnormal from what is normal,” Netto said. “That is just as important as what kind of ‘Cadillac’ sequencing machine you have. Liz built the tools for that at HudsonAlpha, and she is doing the same here.” The challenge keeps getting bigger, Netto added. UAB now sends out more than a thousand patient samples for sequencing each year, and that number will only grow, he said.
Sorting out the squishy bits
In some critical cases, turnaround times of many days aren’t fast enough. “Ideally, we want to be able to get it down to under 24 hours,” Worthey said, “and in my lab we are exploring ways we think we can do that.” Speeding up the process requires more than faster hardware and better code, however. “There’s also the squishy human bit,” she said. “Think about the NICU. The process of sequencing and software with the output being a clinical report is one thing. But who reads it? Is it a neonatologist? If they have questions, who do they call? I can do the first two and help define the process. But you have to actually have a health care system to put it into health care. That’s why I’m at UAB.” Figuring out how to incorporate genomic data into patients’ electronic health records is also a top priority for James Cimino, M.D., director of UAB’s Informatics Institute. Worthey will be collaborating with Cimino’s
team on the code and protocols needed to make that happen.
Tools for lots of people
She has seen how useful this data can be. After her daughter was born a few years ago, doctors diagnosed Worthey with an autoimmune thyroid disease. A quick search of her genome identified the mutation likely responsible. “If I had had in my medical record the note, ‘Has a thyroid stimulating hormone variant known to confer significantly risk of autoimmune thyroid disease,’ I could probably have gotten a diagnosis 10 years before I did, which would have been very helpful,” she said. Having access to her entire genome can be a little frightening, too, Worthey noted. “I have two little kids,” she Elizabeth Worthey, PhD said. “I think, ‘Please don’t let me find anything terrible — cancer or Alzheimer’s.’ It makes you very aware of the issues.” But she is not dissuaded from the act of looking. Worthey has used her genome as test data, or when she needs an illustration during public speaking engagements. “I probably have one of the most studied genomes on the planet; by me,” she said. Curiosity is the hallmark of a scientist, and Worthey’s enthusiasm is infectious. She brought seven lab members with her from HudsonAlpha and will be hiring more — mainly software developers with computer engineering backgrounds but also data scientists and research scientists trained in interpreting molecular variation. “Most of these folks have worked in other industries before they came to the light side,” she said with a laugh. “We’re trying to develop tools that are commercial-grade, that are designed to be placed in the hands of lots of people.”
A place for collaborations
Worthey intends for her Center for Computational Genomics and Data Sciences “to be a place for collaborations, where people with clinical and translational questions about patient populations can come to find a bunch of folks who know how to analyze that data,” she said. Her team is involved with the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative and the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, both led by UAB Chief Genomics Officer Bruce Korf, M.D., Ph.D. They CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
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contribute to the rare disease diagnosis efforts of the Precision Medicine Institute, directed by Matt Might, Ph.D. They work with Craig Mackinnon on diagnostic components of -omics based tests. They are working in the Department of Pediatrics with Smita Bhatia, M.D., director of the Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship, and Matthew Alexander, Ph.D., on his work to increase understanding of the inherited disease Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. Worthey works to understand the genetic basis of chronic fatigue syndrome, working with Jarred Younger, Ph.D., director of the Neuroinflammation, Pain and Fatigue Laboratory in the Department of Psychology, and she has done a considerable amount of work in cystic fibrosis. “I’m pretty disease agnostic,” Worthey said. “We really want to help people extract what they want and get their questions answered.” The through line in all these efforts is a focus on translation, Worthey said. “For us, it’s about helping patients alive today. We are very clinical, not just looking at research to gain generalizable knowledge.” At the time the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, patients with rare or complex genetic diseases could only get a definitive diagnosis about 5% of the time, Worthey noted in a talk this past year at Stanford Medicine’s Big Data | Precision Health conference. That 5% figure hadn’t moved much by 2010. But today, it is at 40%. “My goal at UAB is to help obtain definitive diagnoses for all of our patients and then to go beyond the diagnosis to extract clinically useful information that helps those taking care of these patients to make molecularly informed decisions where possible,” Worthey said. “These are cool times and we’re excited to be here.”
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Fatima Publishes Book on Practical Approach to Renal Biopsy Huma Fatima, M.D., Associate Professor, Anatomic Pathology, and Director,
Renal Pathology Laboratory, recently published a book with CAP Press, Medical Kidney Diseases—Morphology-Based Novel Approach to Renal Biopsy. This 90-page book contains 66 cases, two of which are reprints. According to CAP Press, “It presents a simple and practical approach to renal biopsy by providing a pertinent differential diagnosis related to various patterns of injury involving renal parenchyma by light microscopy and reaching a correct diagnosis by assimilating immunofluorescence and electron microscopy findings.” In it, Fatima writes that the book is the outcome of a question nephrology fellows have asked several times since she began practicing in 2011. In a Q&A on the CAP Today website, Fatima states, “I have been teaching renal pathology to medical students, pathology residents, nephrology fellows, and foreign scholars since I joined UAB in 2011. On several occasions, nephrology fellows asked me, Is there any good resource we can use for our boards? I realized that most of the currently available material is quite extensive and may be overwhelming for those who are not renal pathologists. This led me to write the book—keeping in mind those who are outside the realm of renal pathology practice—to provide them pertinent information in a simple way that will be useful to them, not only for their board examination but also in practical life.”
New Faculty in Laboratory Medicine In September, Adam Wilberger, M.D., joined the department as Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine. Originally from Sewickley, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Pittsburgh, Wilberger grew up with parents who both worked in healthcare, which influenced his career choice. He majored in psychology at the University of Virginia and remains interested in the field. Wilberger attended medical school at Drexel University College of Medicine. He spent his third
and fourth years at Allegheny General Hospital clinical campus in Pittsburgh, where he was exposed to and developed an interest in pathology. His first two years of an AP/CP residency were spent at the Cleveland Clinic, where experience with hematopathology led to his decision to specialize in hemepath. Wilberger completed a residency at the University of Colorado, including a fifth year dedicated to research in the molecular lab under Dr. Dara Aisner as part of the physician scientist pathway. He comes to UAB having completed a 1-year hematopathology fellowship under world-renowned hematopathologist Dr. Steven Swerdlow.
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Renowned Pediatric Pathologist Establishes Education Fund
The Department of Pathology congratulates ONA MARIE FAYE-PETERSEN, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, on her retirement after nearly three decades of research and teaching in the UAB Department of Pathology. Dr. Faye-Petersen’s legacy will continue in the establishment of two funds in support of education. The first, set up in 2012, is a multidisciplinary teaching award for UAB Pathology residents and fellows. This award recognizes residents who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to educating fellow trainees in pathology and other medical disciplines, as well as UAB medical students, about pathology and its many important roles in improving patient care and outcomes. The second, the Ona FayePetersen Educational Support Fund established in 2019, supports trainees’ attendance of workshops and symposia at national and international pathology and multidisciplinary medical meetings. “I very much believe in paying things forward, and this is one way to do that,” says FayePetersen, who started as a as a full-time practicing pediatric pathologist in 1987. “Despite the fact that my personal area of interest is focused, I think it’s crucial that trainees become exposed to and learn about the greatest variety of subjects that are going to be important to them in their immediate and distant future, so that they feel inspired to continue to learn.”
One way to do that, she says, is to provide trainees many opportunities to attend high quality, multidisciplinary conferences in which pathology plays an important role. “Providing trainees additional funds during a time in their careers when they’re generally more financially limited is key,” she says. Dr. Faye-Petersen’s official career at UAB began in January 1992 when she joined the Department of Pathology as an assistant professor, specializing in PerinatalPediatric Pathology. Over the next 28 years, she became a world-renowned expert in this specialty. Teaching has been a part of Dr. Faye-Petersen’s work since she started at UAB, leading courses in the University of Alabama School of Medicine that ranged in topic from “freshman fundamentals” to autopsy electives, and gynecology, genitourinary and endocrinology modules, as well as leading mentorships in perinatal pathology. She won the UAB School of Medicine’s Argus honors teaching award and has been nominated multiple times for the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Joint Health Sciences. In 2007 Dr. Faye-Petersen was named the Outstanding Woman UAB Faculty Member, a UAB campus-wide honor that accepts nominations from all UAB schools. On the clinical side, Dr. FayePetersen served as Group Leader for perinatal pathology at the UAB
SOM since the early 1990s. She established the Microdissection Laboratory at UAB Hospital in 1995 as a referral and diagnostic lab for perinatal pathology. Today, it processes about 2,500 specimens annually. Through her work in the MDL, Dr. Faye-Petersen has become a highly respected and valuable resource for UAB faculty and regional private practice obstetricians. She established the protocols for and performed Ona Marie Faye-Petersen, MD or supervised the vast majority of perinatal autopsies until Fall 2018. In 1997, Dr. Faye-Petersen established a research and teaching registry of over 650 cases to support intra- and extra-institutional multidisciplinary tissue research and education in cardiovascular malformations. She was a consulting pathologist with Children’s Hospital of Alabama for many years, and an associate scientist with the Center for Metabolic Bone Disease. From 1992 to 2018, she served as the only pathology member of the UAB Perinatal Morbidity and Mortality Committee. Throughout her career, FayePetersen has been a key figure in the Society for Pediatric Pathology (SPP). She twice received the Distinguished Colleague Award for her leadership in perinatal pathology and her service as CONTINUED ON PAGE 11
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New Faculty in Anatomic Pathology
The Division of Anatomic Pathology, directed by C. Bruce Alexander Professor, Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D, was excited to add four new faculty members in 2019.
DEEPTI DHALL, M.D., joined the UAB Department of Pathology as Professor, Anatomic Pathology. Dr. Dhall received her medical school education at Grant Medical College in Mumbai, India, graduating in 1994. She then completed her residency training in pathology at the same institution before joining a pathology residency training program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Jersey, in 2000. Dr. Dhall undertook fellowship training in oncologic surgical pathology and gastrointestinal pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, initiating her interest in gastrointestinal tumors, particularly neuroendocrine tumors. After completing her fellowship training, Dr. Dhall joined Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 2006, where she practiced as an Attending Pathologist
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for more than 12 years. She was promoted to Associate Professor, Cedars professorial series, in 2014. Dr. Dhall’s area of expertise is gastrointestinal and gynecologic pathology, with research interest in neuroendocrine, gastrointestinal and pancreato-biliary tumors. Dr. Dhall is a member of the Rodger C. Haggitt Gastrointestinal Pathology Society (GIPS), Pancreatobiliary Pathology Society (PBPS) and North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETs). She received the “Golden Apple” teaching award, presented by the Cedars Sinai Medical Center pathology residents in 2016, and outstanding mentorship award. PAUL BENSON, M.D., Forensic Pathologist and Medical Examiner, joined the department as Associate Professor, Anatomic Pathology. Dr. Benson completed residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the University of Virginia, and is board
certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. After a fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia, Dr. Benson became board certified in Forensic Pathology. Benson taught autopsy and forensic pathology as Assistant Professor at The Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University before returning to Virginia as Assistant Chief Medical Examiner for the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke, where he practiced for six years. In 2014, Dr. Benson was appointed Assistant Professor in Forensic Pathology and Assistant Medical Examiner for Shelby County, Tennessee, at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis. As Program Director of the UTHSC Forensic Pathology Fellowship, he reinstated the Forensic Pathology Fellowship in Memphis. Benson has performed approximately 4,000 autopsies and testified in state and federal courts more than 100 times as an expert witness in Forensic Pathology. Dr. Benson’s current interests are primarily in teaching autopsy and forensic pathology.
In July, CHIRAG PATEL, M.D. joined the Division of Anatomic Pathology as Assistant Professor. He was a UAB Pathology fellow before accepting the position, and recently completed a GI/Hepatic Pathology Fellowship at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Patel completed a Surgical Pathology Fellowship at UAB in 2018, and won the Outstanding Research Presentation at the Pathology Trainee Research Day. Dr. Patel’s research focus is on hepatic neoplasms, inflammatory bowel disease and incorporating digital aspects into the Department of Pathology to assist in medical student and resident education. Dr. Patel is a member of the College of American Pathologists, the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, the American Society of Clinical Pathology, the Rodger C. Haggitt Gastrointestinal Pathology Society, and the American Society of Investigative Pathology, among others.
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Tri-State Conference Features UAB Faculty In September, the division welcomed FARZAD ESFAHANI, M.D., as assistant professor. Dr. Esfahani, an Iranian native, joins UAB Pathology from private practice, moving from Florida, where he was a staff pathologist and independent contractor at Sebastian River Medical Center. He completed undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Oklahoma, in the state where he has lived since moving to the U.S. Esfahani became a U.S. resident in 1987. He completed a residency in general surgery at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa campus. Esfahani spent time at the University of South Alabama completing residencies in anatomic pathology and cytopathology. There, he worked for a year as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the USA College of Medicine, departments of Emergency Medicine and Pathology. Esfahani has worked as a staff pathologist in several clinical settings in Florida over the course of his career. He is joined by his wife Heather, an Alabama native, and their son.
The 2019 Tri-State Pathology Conference took place Saturday, October 5, at the Hyatt Regency - Wynfrey Hotel Dr. Anna Yemelyanova, Hazel Gore Endowed Professor at the Riverchase Galleria, of Gynecologic Pathology bringing together the Alabama Association of Pathologists, the Louisiana Association of Pathologists, and the Mississippi Association of Pathologists for a stellar lineup of presentations. The event was co-sponsored by UAB Pathology and featured lectures from our faculty throughout the day on topics representing their myriad areas of expertise. Travis Kidd, Jr., M.D., President of the Alabama Association of Pathologists, delivered the conferenceâ€™s opening and closing remarks and acted as emcee for the daylong event. Kidd is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed his post-graduate education at Vanderbilt University Medical School. He practices full-time surgical pathology at CytoPath in Alabaster, Alabama.
Dr. R. Bruce Williams, CAP past president
R. Bruce Williams, M.D., past president of the College of American Pathologists, delivered a talk on the state of the CAP. Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, MD, PhD, C. Bruce Alexander Endowed Dr. Williams is a founding Professor, Division Director, Anatomic Pathology member and laboratory director of The Delta Pathology Group, LLC, and is in full-time practice of anatomic and clinical pathology in Lafayette, Louisiana. He serves on the executive committee as practice manager of the mid-Louisiana region of Delta Pathology, and is associate clinical professor of pathology at LSUMCShreveport. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical School.
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DR. GEORGE NETTO, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology, had two papers published last spring in the journal Human Pathology, and one in Modern Pathology.
1 ST , “Targeted Sequencing of Plasmacytoid Urothelial Carcinoma Reveals Frequent TERT Promoter Mutations,” was published in the March 2019 issue, Volume 85. The article’s summary follows: “Activating mutations in the promoter of the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene are the most common genetic alterations in urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the bladder and upper urinary tract. Although the cadherin 1 (CDH1) gene is commonly mutated in the clinically aggressive plasmacytoid variant of urothelial carcinoma (PUC), little is known about their TERT promoter mutation status. A retrospective search of our archives for PUC and UC with plasmacytoid and/or signet ring cellfeatures (2007-2014) was performed. Ten specimens from 10 patients had archived material available for DNA analysis and were included in the study. Intratumoral areas of nonplasmacytoid histology were also evaluated when present. Samples were analyzed for TERT promoter mutations with Safe-SeqS, a sequencing error-reduction technology, and sequenced using a targeted panel of the 10 most commonly mutated genes in bladder cancer on the Illumina MiSeq platform. TERT promoter mutations were detected in specimens with pure and focal plasmacytoid features (6/10). Similar to conventional UC, the predominant mutation identified was g.1295228C>T. In heterogeneous tumors with focal variant histology, concordant mutations were found in plasmacytoid and corresponding conventional, glandular, or sarcomatoid areas. Co-occurring mutations in tumor protein p53 (TP53, 2 cases) and kirsten rat sarcoma (KRAS) viral proto-oncogene (1 case) were also detected. TERT promoter mutations are frequently present in PUC,
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which provides further evidence that TERT promoter mutations are common events in bladder cancer, regardless of histologic subtype, and supports their inclusion in any liquid biopsy assay for bladder cancer.” MARIA DEL CARMEN RODRIGUEZ PENA, M.D., postdoctoral fellow, UAB Pathology, is also an author on the article.
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article entitled, “Tumor Immune Microenvironment in Non-Muscle-Invasive Urothelial Carcinoma of the Bladder,” was published in the July 2019 issue of Human Pathology, Volume 89. The summary states, “Immunotherapy has gained significance in a variety of tumor types including advanced urothelial carcinoma. Noninvasive urothelial lesions have been treated with intravesical Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) for decades. Given treatment failure in a subset of these tumors, ongoing clinical trials investigating the role of checkpoint inhibitors are actively pursued in this group of patients. The present study aims to delineate PD-L1, CD8, and FOXP3 expression in tumor microenvironment in non– muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma samples obtained via sequential biopsies and to assess its potential role in predicting disease outcome.
Cases with >1% and> 5% PD-L1 expression in tumor cells showed lower relative risk (RR) to recur at any subsequent biopsy compared with those with lower PD-L1 expression (RRs, 0.83 [P = .009] and 0.81 [P = .03], respectively). Cases with higher expression of FOXP3 in peritumoral lymphocytes were at lower risk for tumor grade progression at any biopsy (RR, 0.2; P = .02). Tumors with FOXP3/ CD8 expression ratio of >1 in intratumoral lymphocytes had lower risk of grade progression (RR, 0.28; P = .04).
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Although higher number of FOXP3-, CD8-, and PD-L1–positive lymphocytes were encountered after BCG treatment, the findings did not reach statistical significance. In patients without BCG treatment, PD-L1 expression in tumor cells and peritumoral lymphocytes varied across serial biopsies, suggesting the need for additional approaches to assess eligibility for immunotherapy in non–muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma patients.” del Carmen Rodriguez Pena, M.D., and MARIELISA EICH, M.D., postdoctoral fellows, are both authors on the article.
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All three authors also collaborated on an article published in Modern Pathology in April, ”Incidence and Distribution of UroSEEK Gene Panel in a Multi-Institutional Cohort of Bladder Urothelial Carcinoma.” The summary states, “Noninvasive approaches for early detection of bladder cancer are actively being investigated. We recently developed a urine-based molecular assay for the detection and surveillance of bladder neoplasms (UroSEEK). UroSEEK is designed to detect alterations in 11 genes that include most common genetic alterations in bladder cancer. In this study, we analyzed 527 cases, including 373 noninvasive and 154 invasive urothelial carcinomas of bladder from transurethral resections or cystectomies performed at four institutions (1991–2016). Two different mutational analysis assays of a representative tumor area were performed: first, a singleplex PCR assay for evaluation of the TERTpromoter region (TERTSeqS) and second, a multiplex PCR assay using primers designed to amplify regions of interest of 10 (FGFR3, PIK3CA, TP53, HRAS, KRAS, ERBB2, CDKN2A, MET, MLL, and VHL) genes (UroSeqS). Overall, 92% of all bladder tumors were positive for at least one genetic alteration in the UroSEEK panel. We found TERT promoter mutations in 77% of low-grade noninvasive papillary carcinomas,
with a relatively lower incidence of 65% in highgrade noninvasive papillary carcinomas and carcinomas in situ; p = 0.017. Seventy-two percent of pT1 and 63% of muscle-invasive bladder tumors harbored TERTpromoter mutations with g.1295228C>T alteration being the most common in all groups. FGFR3 and PIK3CA mutations were more frequent in low-grade noninvasive papillary carcinomas compared with high-grade noninvasive papillary carcinomas and carcinomas in situ (p < 0.0001), while the opposite was true for TP53 (p < 0.0001). Significantly higher rates of TP53 and CDKN2A mutation rates (p = 0.005 and 0.035, respectively) were encountered in muscle-invasive bladder tumors compared with those of pT1 stage. The overwhelming majority of all investigated tumors showed at least one mutation among UroSEEK assay genes, confirming the comprehensive coverage of the panel and supporting its potential utility as a noninvasive urine-based assay.” CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7
Chair of the Education Committee. She also served as the organization’s president in 2016. Dr. Faye-Petersen served as the North American Councilor for the International Pediatric Pathology Association, the educational organization for specialty training in pediatric pathology in countries outside the U.S. Faye-Petersen has published 75 manuscripts in addition to a book, 5 book chapters, and 55 abstracts. One publication in 2013, with former UAB pathology resident, Matthew Cain, M.D., “Development of Novel Software to Generate Anthropometric Norms at Perinatal Autopsy,” resulted in a highly used program for trainees and practicing pathologists at UAB and other academic institutions. Additionally, Faye-Petersen spearheaded the very successful “Suits for Success” program at UAB, a clothing drive for disadvantaged women in need of professional attire for job interviews and work. This campus-wide event run by the UAB Commission on the Status of Women is a weeklong event each spring. In the 14 years since its inception, it has resulted in the donation of over 20 tons of work-appropriate outfits for My Sister’s Closet in the YWCA Downtown, as well as its shelters in North and Central Alabama. Issue 1 2020 UAB Pathology
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Morlote Joins Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics The Division of Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics welcomed a new faculty member, Diana Morlote, M.D., on July 1, as assistant professor. Dr. Morlote is a former UAB Pathology fellow in Hematopathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology who joins the faculty as assistant professor. Morlote recently completed a hematopathology fellowship in the Department of Pathology, after having completed a Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship, also at UAB. Before moving to Birmingham, Morlote completed residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology in the Department
of Pathology at Mount Sinai Medical Center (MSMC) until 2017. She received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Florida International University (FIU) and her Doctorate in Medicine from the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at FIU. Morlote has received many awards including a travel grant by the Association of Clinical Scientists in 2018 and the Howard Kane Resident of the Year in 2014–2015 at MSMC. She is board certified in Molecular Genetic Pathology and hematopathology. Her research interests include the molecular characterization of hematologic neoplasms and its diagnostic and prognostic implications, and flow cytometry immunophenotyping of hematologic malignancies and detection of minimal residual disease after leukemia treatment.
A New History Book on UAB Pathology This year, Dr. C. Bruce Alexander, Professor Emeritus, UAB Pathology, published a History of Pathology at UAB covering 1945‑2008. The book, edited by Margaret Dotzler, former department staff, and published by BAM! Publishing, documents the history of the department and is a compilation of facts, figures, photos and stories from more than 60 years of our Department.
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Marques Joins ABPath Advisory Committee
Congratulations to MARISA MARQUES, M.D., Professor, Laboratory Medicine, who has accepted a nomination to join the American Board of Pathology (ABPath) Test Development and Advisory Committee for Blood Banking/ Transfusion Medicine beginning January 2020. The organization explains the role as: “To be appointed to a TDAC means a physician is an established subject matter expert in their subspecialty field and is current on the latest advances in the continually evolving field of pathology and patient care. TDAC committee members develop and review examination questions for statistical performance and relevance to current practice. They contribute to the validity of examinations by determining the content and distribution of items on examinations (exam blueprints). The TDACs also advise the ABPath on issues in their subspecialty area of expertise.” Since 1971, the ABPath has appointed test committees for the various areas of pathology. The committees consist of ABPath trustees, and other pathologists and physicians who are recognized experts in the various disciplines. In 2001, the role of these committees was expanded to include subject matter and advisory function for the Board. “As TDAC members, these physicians play a critical role in the development of the exams and are entrusted with maintaining the integrity of the board-certified designation. The appointment to a TDAC indicates the physician is highly regarded in the field of pathology and exemplifies the utmost standards of care,” states Rebecca L. Johnson, M.D., CEO of the American Board of Pathology. Marques is the first former UAB Medicine Pathology resident to be invited to be part of the ABPath.
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USCAP Conference 2019 The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology
(USCAP) hosted its 108th annual meeting March 16–21, 2019, in National Harbor, Maryland, the largest world meeting of pathologists. Many of our Department faculty, residents and fellows presented work. On Sunday, Chairman and Professor George Netto, M.D., kicked things off with a talk on “Liquid Biopsy in Precision Oncology: Plasma and Beyond!” at the College of American Pathogists’ companion meeting. That evening, our team hosted a booth at the Fellowship Fair, featuring information about our fellowship opportunities, giveaways and more. Throughout the day Monday, our faculty presented posters and talks, including a Genitourinary Platform presentation, “Is MRI/US FusionTargeted Biopsy Alone Adequate for Detecting Prostate Cancer in Patients with a Prior Negative Prostate Biopsy?” featuring Maria del Carmen Rodriguez Pena, M.D., Marie-Lise Eich, M.D., and Jennifer Gordetsky, M.D. That evening, the Department hosted a reception for all current and former faculty, staff and students in the National Harbor Room. Poster sessions, which continued until the conference conclusion on Thursday, featured 10 posters in categories ranging from cytopathology to hematopathology. Tuesday morning’s highlights included a lecture by Anna Yemelyanova, M.D., Professor, on
“Molecular Testing of Solid Tumors: Anatomic Pathologist in Charge of Pre-Analytics,” as part of the Molecular track, which Netto introduced with a talk on “Molecular Diagnostic and Genomic Applications in Cancer: A Primer for the Pathologist.” Poster sessions included five UAB faculty posters. In the afternoon, Deniz Peker, M.D., presented “Characterization of Cancer Immune Profiles in Patients with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma” during the Neuropathology Platform. On Wednesday, Cristina MagiGalluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Anatomic Pathology, presented in the Genitourinary Pathology Short Course, and gave a Hot Topic talk on “Prostate Cancer Pathology: Grading, Reporting, Diagnosis.” Nine more posters by UAB Pathology took place throughout the day in the genitourinary, breast cancer, quality assurance categories, leading up to the Evening Specialty Conference in Genitourinary Pathology, in which Jennifer Gordetsky, M.D., Associate Professor, presented, “Poor Prognostic Findings in Genitourinary Pathology, What Not to Miss.” Tiffany Graham, M.D., our fourth-year resident, was recognized by fellow Twitter account holders in Pathology with the #PathTweetAward on her account @HeartPathology for her original drawings and designs of study tools.
DR. SHUKO HARADA (L) DISCUSSES HER POSTER WITH AN INTERESTED AUDIENCE.
DR. ANNA YEMELYANOVA PRESENTS ON “MOLECULAR TESTING OF SOLID TUMORS.”
DR. SILVIO LISTOVSKY (CENTER) WITH FRIENDS
FACULTY, FELLOWS AND ALUMNI GATHER TO CELEBRATE AT THE UAB PATHOLOGY RECEPTION.
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Miller Selected as Division Director of Neuropathology By Adam Pope, UAB News The Division of Neuropathology named C. RYAN MILLER, M.D., PH.D., as division director, effective April 15, 2019. Miller was most recently a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Miller also served as faculty director of the UNC Translational Pathology Laboratory in conjunction with the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We are excited to have Dr. Miller back at UAB in the Department of Pathology, where his experience in research on tumors of the brain and work with proC. RYAN MILLER, MD, PHD teomics will enhance the Neuropathology Division’s portfolio for future growth in this important area,” said Department of Pathology Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair George Netto, M.D.
Miller’s return is a homecoming of sorts. In 1999, prior to medical school, he completed a Ph.D. in the department’s Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Program. He earned his medical degree from the UAB School of Medicine in 2002 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the UAB Brain Treatment and Research Program. Miller then moved to Washington University School of Medicine, where he completed a residency in anatomic pathology in 2004 and a fellowship in neuropathology in 2006. Miller’s research interests focus on novel treatment approaches for malignant gliomas based on molecular alterations for tumorigenesis, using proteomic molecular analyses. Miller also serves on the neuropathology and neuro-oncology committees of the National Cancer Institute’s Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. Miller replaces interim division director Vishnu Reddy, M.D., professor in the Division of Laboratory Medicine.
New Vice Chair for Research Appointed Congratulations to Rakesh Patel, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology, on his appointment as Vice Chair of Research, UAB Department of Pathology. Dr. Patel held the interim position for more than a year. In that time, he helped to coordinate and host a Research Retreat for the Department. The program to fund translational research pilot awards stemmed from that initial retreat, and the event will take place again this August. Dr. Patel received his Ph.D. from the University of Essex, UK in 1996. He moved to the U.S. to pursue post-doctoral studies at UAB in 1997, and joined the faculty of the Department of Pathology as an instructor in 1999. Currently he is Director of the UAB Center for Free Radical Biology. He maintains an internationally recognized research program, having engaged in Free Radical Research for more than 20 years. Dr. Patel has published more than 200 articles, reviews, book chapters and editorials. He has organized meetings and symposia focused on oxidative stress and nitric oxide, and multiple forums including co-chairing the Oxygen Radical Gordon Research Conference in 2016. He is also a fellow of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM), from which he received a Mentoring Excellence Award in 2016. RAKESH PATEL, PHD He has served on the Editorial Board of FRBM for 15 years; served as Associate Editor for AJP-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, reviews editor for the Nitric Oxide journal between 2015 and 2018, and is currently reviews editor for the Redox Biology Journal. “Dr. Patel’s contributions to bolster the Department’s research portfolio, collaborating with other centers and departments on campus, continue to improve the research environment in Pathology,” Netto said. 14 UAB Pathology 2020 Issue 1
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Karthikeyan and Hildreth Join Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology The Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology, directed by Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D., Professor, added two new faculty this year.
Eason Hildreth, Ph.D., joined the UAB
Pathology faculty as Assistant Professor, coming to us from the Medical College of South Carolina. He began his career in veterinary medicine by obtaining his DVM from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Hildreth then completed a small-animal rotating medicine and surgery internship with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, before moving on to a small-animal surgical residency at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. During his residency, he completed a concurrent master of science degree evaluating the use of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) as an in vitro bone-forming agent. After his surgical residency, Hildreth stayed at Ohio State to complete a Ph.D. that focused on evaluating the roles of PTHrP in skeletal development and the use of PTHrP as a bone-forming agent in vivo, supported by funding from an NIH-NIAMS F-32 grant and the Ohio State’s C. Glenn Barber Fund for Protein Research. During his Ph.D. studies, Hildreth developed an intense interest in the advanced imaging of bone using microCT, particularly in response to bone-forming therapies or genetic modification. This resulted in collaborations where he performed microCT analysis for multiple bone biology and cancer research laboratories. Upon completing his Ph.D. Hildreth became an associate faculty member in the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine as an Instructor of Small Animal Surgical Practice. In this role, he taught bone biology, general surgery, and orthopedics within the veterinary curriculum. Starting in May 2015, he joined the laboratory of Michael Ostrowski, Ph.D., in the Comprehensive Cancer Center as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. He continued to teach within the veterinary curriculum. Hildreth’s research focus was the investigation of the role of macrophages and osteoclasts in breast
cancer bone metastasis, and transcription factors and microRNAs regulating osteoblast and osteoclast differentiation and function. In 2017, Hildreth joined Ostrowski at the Medical University of South Carolina, continuing his post-doctoral training in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Hollings Cancer Center. He received an NIH K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award in 2018, and was promoted to Research Assistant Eason Hildreth, PhD Professor. In 2019 he received the John Haddad Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. In his position at UAB, Hildreth will continue to focus on macrophage and osteoclast-specific targeting for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer bone metastasis and primary bone malignancies. His research uses animal models of human disease and cancer, advanced in vivo imaging, nanoparticle drug delivery, ChIP Seq, and other molecular techniques. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife Emily and their American Cocker Spaniel, Raleigh. They are looking forward to exploring all of the trails and parks in and around Birmingham. He is an avid soccer fan, and more specifically, Liverpool FC.
Mythreye Karthikeyan, Ph.D., completed her undergraduate education at the prestigious Biochemistry Honors program at Delhi University in India, followed by a master’s degree, a brief research internship, and subsequently a Ph.D. from the Department of Biology from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. This rigorous graduate training in the fundamentals of chromosome segregation mechanisms using cellular and genetic tools was the gateway to a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University, where she started her career in cancer signaling. CONTINUED NEXT PAGE
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Following her postodoctoral fellowship, she was promoted to Research Assistant Professor at Duke University Medical School. In 2013 she joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Drug Discovery Biomedical Sciences department at the University of South Carolina as a tenure track assistant professor. In June 2018 Dr. Karthikeyan earned a secondary appointment as associate professor of Biomedical Engineering, in the USC College of Engineering. In June 2019, she received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor. While at USC, she won the “Breakthrough Rising Star Mythreye Karthikeyan, PhD Award” in 2019. Dr. Karthikeyan’s research focuses on defining how tumor cells send signals to surrounding cells and how tumors respond to cues from their surroundings to promote tumor growth and metastasis. Her lab’s overall goal is to identify key signaling pathways that are tumor specific and also to target the same. Her USC lab’s most recent efforts focused on ovarian cancer — the deadliest of gynecological malignancies facing women, with a 5-year survival rate (for advanced stage patients with marked metastatic spread) still remaining at less than 25%. Her lab discovered tumor specific signaling pathways in gynecological cancers that are amenable to targeted therapeutics. She hopes to advance the ability to target such pathways to the clinic. Karthikeyan’s lab will be in the Wallace Tumor Institute where she’ll continue working on ovarian cancer metastasis with several of her former USC lab members joining her here at UAB. Throughout her training and independent career, Karthikeyan has published in leading peer-reviewed periodicals/journals in the field of cancer biology (JCI, Cancer Research, Oncogene), and journals in cellular biochemistry and molecular biology (PNAS, JCB, JBC, Nat Communications, Molecular Cell, Molecular Biology of the Cell). She first received funding for her postdoctoral work from the Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program, a fellowship that connected her directly to the challenge of ovarian cancer. In 2013 she was named a Liz Tilberis Scholar by the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. She received additional support from the Rivkin Foundation, and since 2018 her work is supported by two active National Cancer Institute grants.
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TTP Fair a Success THE 4TH annual TTP Fair and Education Day,
hosted by the lab of X. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Laboratory Medicine, was held on September 14 in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Baptist Convention Center. TTP stands for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, and is caused by a deficiency of active ADAMTS13, the enzyme responsible for cleaving Von Willebrand Factor (VWF). Dr. Zheng was among the first group of investigators who first discovered and cloned the ADAMTS13 enzyme. The Zheng Lab has made many major contributions Researchers (above) in Dr. Zheng's lab to the underspeak with patients at the TTP Fair. standing of the (below) Dr. X. Long Zheng, event host. structure-function relationship and regulation of ADAMTS13, and is working to develop novel tools for the diagnosis and treatment of TTP. This yearly event is designed to support individuals living with rare acquired and congenital TTP diagnoses and their families, promote awareness to empower patients, families, clinicians, and scientists, build a collaborative and dedicated clinical care network, and help advance scientific understanding and research. It allows for the exchange of up-to-date information regarding the diagnosis, treatment, and management of TTP through educational presentations, and offer a support network between persons with TTP through roundtable discussions. The event saw an increase in registration and attendance from the previous years, with more than half of the attendees new to the event. Apart from local residents, patients and their family members traveled from Texas, North Carolina, and New Jersey attend. The lab would like to thank UAB Pathology, the ReeWynn Foundation, and Baptist Health for their contributions to this event.
New Review Identifies of Cancer Metastasis Researchers at UAB and the University of Kansas Cancer Center have identified four hallmarks of cancer metastasis — when cancer has spread to different parts of the body from where it started. Metastasis is believed to be the cause of up to 90 percent of cancer deaths. Douglas Hurst, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Pathology, and Danny Welch, Ph.D., associate director of Education at the KUCC, conducted a literature review of more than 10,000 publications on metastasis, and published their findings in Cancer Research, from the American Association for Cancer Research. Metastasis can be very difficult to treat. Virtually any cancer type can form metastatic tumors. The most common sites for cancers to metastasize include the brain, bones, lungs and liver. Other areas include the adrenal gland, lymph nodes, skin and other organs. By defining the unique properties of metastatic cancer cells, Hurst says, he hopes to provide a conceptual framework to accelerate the discovery of treatment strategies.
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“Our attempts to identify the underlying first principles of the metastatic process hopefully provide a means for simplifying the processes that are essential for all metastases to develop,” the authors said in the review. Hurst and Welch identified four hallmarks of metastasis:
1 Motility and invasion 2 Modulation of the
3 Plasticity 4 Ability to colonize Defining the hallmarks of metastasis has been complicated by both heterogeneity among tumor cells, and the myriad interactions with other molecules and cells throughout the process, according to the authors. Hurst and Welch say they hope that refining definitions and bringing together diverse data will identify vulnerabilities that metastasis researchers can exploit in the quest to treat cancer metastasis. Hurst, who also serves as an associate scientist at the O’Neal
Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, explains why metastasis is hard to understand. “Metastasis is a highly complex pathological process,” Hurst said. “Increased specificity in defining the underlying principles is important to betDOUGLAS HURST, PHD ter understand and interpret the literature to move forward in the development of therapeutic interventions.” The Hurst lab has been funded by grants from the American Cancer Society, METAvivor Research and Support, Inc., and the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation, as well as the Department of Pathology. In May, the American Cancer Society posted an episode of its “TheoryLab” podcast to iTunes, featuring Drs. Hurst and Welch speaking about their research. By Adam Pope
Cancer Research Retreat
The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center hosted its 21st annual Research Retreat on October 18, and the Department of Pathology had a strong presence at the event. Soory Varambally, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology, served as event co-chair this year. The retreat, held at The Club, saw more than 500 UAB faculty members, trainees and students attend and showcase their cancer-related research, including a poster competition.
Dr. Soory Varambally speaking at the O’Neal CCC Research Retreat
Kasey Skinner receives her Kasey Skinner, Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Dr. C. Ryan Miller, Division award from Dr. Ravi Bhatia, Director, Neuropathology, won the Seng-jaw Soong Award for Excellence in Biostatistics and interim director, O’Neal Bioinformatics Research at the retreat. Skinner was also the awardee of the Betty Pritchett CCC. Spencer Award for Cancer Research at the 2019 Pathology Research Retreat this summer.
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Model Probes Possible Treatments for Common Cause of Infant Death by Jeff Hansen
EXTREMELY premature infants are at
risk for life-threatening infections that spread into their bodies from the intestine. Infections after the first three days of life are called late-onset sepsis, or LOS. University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers now report a new model for LOS in an article in Nature Medicine, and they show that disrupting the normal maturation of microbes in the intestine can make newborn mouse pups highly susceptible to LOS. Furthermore, they found they could prevent the deadly infection by giving the pups specific protective bacteria before a challenge with invasive Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria. “Our findings offer the possibility for rational design and testing of effective probiotic therapies to protect at-risk premature infants,” said corresponding authors Jeffrey Singer, Ph.D., and Casey Weaver, M.D. “These studies substantiate clinical research suggesting that overgrowth of a single bacterial species, called neonatal dysbiosis, often precedes the development of LOS. Our model should help define mechanisms by which pioneer species of the developing microbiome of neonates prevent — or fail to prevent — dysbiosis that predisposes to LOS.”
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Their model is aided by the fact that the intestine of the newborn pup is still developing after birth, similar to the still-developing intestine of extremely premature infants. At UAB, Singer is a student in the M.D./Ph.D. Medical Scientist Training Program, and Weaver is the Wyatt and Susan Haskell Professor of Medical Excellence in Pathology.
The UAB researchers placed a virulent K. pneumoniae strain, Kp-43816, into the stomachs of pups. The bacteria carried a bioluminescent marker that allowed researchers to use an imaging system to see where in the intestinal tract the bacteria were growing in live animals, and then measure the microbes’ invasive spread out of the intestine and into the rest of the body. Bioluminescent bacteria in living animals can be seen through nearly an inch of tissue. Using a dose that caused 50 percent mortality by 10 days, the researchers saw that translocation out of the intestine occurred where Klebsiella colonization was most dense in the intestine. However, not all pups with dysbiosis developed sepsis, just as not all premature human infants with dysbiosis develop LOS. When the UAB team placed the same dose of an avirulent K. pneumoniae strain, Kp-39, into the stomach, an intriguing result followed. Kp-39 caused no mortality in the pups, yet it also
translocated from the intestine into the abdomen, and like Kp-43816, it also infected the liver and mesentery. The Kp-39 infection was cleared over the next nine days. This suggested that both strains of K. pneumoniae were capable of spreading out of the gut, but differences in host clearance by the immune defense system after translocation contributed to the differential virulence of these related strains. Indeed, when either strain was injected directly into the peritoneum — bypassing the need for translocation from the intestine — Kp-43816 caused 100 percent mortality in one day, but the Kp-39 caused no mortality in pups and was cleared
may have important implications for clinical practice, where both maternal and neonatal antibiotic use can alter the neonatal microbiome.” — Jeffrey Singer & Casey Weaver
in a week. The researchers found differences in the capsule surrounding the bacteria that allowed Kp-43816 to resist infection-clearing phagocytosis by immune cells more strongly than Kp-39. “Notably, therefore, while the Kp-43816 infection models LOS,”
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Researchers found they could prevent deadly infections by giving the newborn mice specific protective bacteria. Singer and Weaver said, “Kp-39 enables tracking of dysbiosis without the confounding effects of sepsis and mortality.” The researchers then found that altering the microbiome of the pups changed susceptibility to dysbiosis and LOS. The normal intestinal microbiome is known to have a critical role in restricting the colonization and spread of a pathogen. Pups without a microbiome, raised in germ-free conditions, were uniformly susceptible to Kp-43816 LOS. To look further, researchers treated dams with two antibiotics starting one day before delivery and several days thereafter, prior to infecting with Klebsiella. Both antibiotics are poorly absorbed and unlikely to be transmitted to pups; but they would alter the mother’s intestinal microbiomes in different ways, which in turn should alter the microbiome that the pups acquire after birth from the dams. The UAB team found that pups of mothers given gentamicin were markedly more susceptible to sepsis, while pups of mothers given vancomycin were less susceptible to sepsis, compared with controls. When the antibiotic experiment was repeated using the avirulent Kp-39, there was no mortality. However, pups whose mothers had been given vancomycin had fewer Kp-39, or less dysbiosis, compared to controls; pups whose mothers had been given gentamicin showed more
Kp-39, or more dysbiosis, compared to controls.
Researchers found that pups of the vancomycin-dams had greater abundance of Lactobacillus bacteria in their intestinal microbiome, and the pups of gentamicin-dams had lesser amounts of Lactobacillus. Thus, presence or absence of lactobacilli appeared to correlate with resistance or susceptibility, respectively, to neonatal dysbiosis and LOS. DNA analysis showed that the vancomycin-pups were dominated by the species Lactobacillus murinus, while the gentamycin pups were largely devoid of L. murinus. They also found that L. murinus was sensitive to gentamicin and resistant to vancomycin, suggesting that gentamycin treatment killed this protective species in dams, thus preventing its passage to pups through vertical transmission. When the L. murinus species was given prophylactically to gentamycin-pups before a Klebsiella challenge, it dramatically reduced overgrowth of Kp-39 compared with controls. Through a different series of experiments, the researchers found that a strain of probiotic E. coli also was able to confer protection in gentamycin-pups. This protection was not seen for several other commonly utilized Lactobacillus probiotic species. The researchers also found
that younger pups, like extremely premature infants, have microbiomes dominated by bacteria called facultative anaerobes that can grow in either the presence or the absence of oxygen. As pups grew older, their microbiomes become more like term infants because they are dominated by bacteria called obligate anaerobes, which grow well in the absence of oxygen but die if oxygen is present. The older pups, with a mature microbiome dominated by obligate anaerobes, were resistant to neonatal dysbiosis. It appeared that presence of oxygen in JEFFREY SINGER, PHD the intestinal lumens of neonate pups prevented colonization by obligate anaerobes. The UAB researchers hypothesized that this might explain why dysbiosis is more prevalent in very-low-birthweight infants. “Our findings establish that normal constituents of the microbiome are both necessary and sufficient to buffer pathobiont expansion in the neonatal gut to prevent LOS,” Singer and Weaver said. “They further provide a basis for understanding why some probiotics are protective, whereas others are not. This may have important implications for clinical CONTINUED NEXT PAGE
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This project required a lot of hard work and persistence from numerous scientists over almost a decade.
practice, where both maternal and neonatal antibiotic use can alter the neonatal microbiome, and where very-low-birthweight infants are given probiotics without clear evidence as to preferred probiotic species.” Co-first author with Singer of the Nature Medicine study, “Preventing dysbiosis of the neonatal mouse intestinal microbiome protects against late-onset CASEY WEAVER, MD sepsis,” is Emily G. Blosser, M.D., Ph.D., a former trainee of the Medical Scientist Training Program at UAB, and now at Ochsner Health System, New Orleans. Co-last author with Weaver is David A. Randolph, M.D., Ph.D., who initiated these studies while a faculty at UAB Department of Pediatrics. Randolph is now at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado. Additional co-authors are Carlene L. Zindl, Daniel J. Silberger, Vincent A. Laufer and Daniel DiToro, members of the Weaver group in the UAB Department of Pathology; Sean Conlan, Clay Deming and Julia A. Segre, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health; Ranjit Kumar, UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science Informatics Institute; Casey D. Morrow, UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and
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Integrative Biology; and Michael J. Gray, UAB Department of Microbiology. Support came from National Institutes of Health grant DK105680; the UAB Medical Scientist Training Program, supported by NIH grant GM008361; National Human Genome Research Institute Intramural Research funds; and UAB institutional funds.
The Medical Scientist Training Program
The Medical Scientist Training Program is one of the most selective programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Each year, it accepts 10 or fewer students for an invigorating and strenuous challenge — earning dual M.D. and Ph.D. degrees as preparation for a lifetime of biomedical research in clinical settings. Jeffrey Singer, a newly minted 2018 Ph.D., is one of those students, and with the recent publication of his co-first author Nature Medicine paper that describes six years of his research, he has earned unusual merit. “It was truly a monumental effort, and he was the major driver,” said Weaver, Singer’s mentor. Singer’s work was preclinical research relevant to a very real problem that premature infants in neonatal intensive care units face — the risk of life-threatening sepsis. His painstaking and thorough
work spanned meticulous animal experiments, microbiology and genomics to describe a new model that allows further study of how to prevent that sepsis. Certain experiments required work every day for two straight weeks. Students in the Medical Scientist Training Program start with the first two years of medical school and graduate school courses. They then earn their Ph.D. before returning for the last two years of medical school. In return for such committed time and effort, students receive free tuition, a stipend for living expenses, and funds to pay for books, medical supplies and travel. Singer, now in his third year of medical school, plans to continue his future research on mucosal immunity. “This project required a lot of hard work and persistence from numerous scientists over almost a decade,” Singer said. “Casey’s unwavering support and mentorship were instrumental during the challenges of my Ph.D., and I’m grateful for all the help I received from him and countless other friends and colleagues. “Science is a team sport, and working with talented teammates to better understand and treat disease is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences I can imagine.”
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Pivotal Role Found for IgG Autoantibodies in IgA Nephropathy by Jeff Hansen
study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham largely validates the hypothesis that a second immunoglobulin, IgG, is a crucial part of the pathogenic immunodeposits in glomeruli of patients with IgA nephropathy. UAB Department of Pathology faculty members Huma Fatima, M.D. and Lea Novak, M.D. assisted in this study and co-authored, along with other UAB School of Medicine faculty, the JASN paper, “Glomerular immunodeposits of patients with IgA nephropathy are enriched for IgG autoantibodies specific for galactose-deficient IgA1.” The most common form of the kidney disease called glomerulonephritis is IgA nephropathy. IgA nephropathy is believed to be caused by IgA1containing immune complexes formed in the blood that ultimately deposit in the glomeruli — the filtering apparatus of the kidneys. When kidney glomeruli become damaged, the kidneys lose their ability to remove waste from the blood and to retain blood proteins, and the injury can lead to kidney failure. In IgA nephropathy kidney biopsies, IgA1 is the main immunoglobulin detected in the glomeruli by a clinical test called routine immunofluorescence. But those tests were often failing to detect immunoglobulin IgG, which was believed to be another vital contributor to the disease. Up to now, routine immunofluorescence microscopy — which identifies the presence of IgA in all cases of IgA nephropathy — failed to show IgG in 50 to 80 percent of kidney biopsies. In addition, IgG found in those positive tests had never been tested for antigenic specificity, such as specificity against the IgA1. UAB researchers hypothesized that the IgA1 was blocking the IgG from being detected in routine immunofluorescence microscopy, say co-corresponding authors Dana Rizk, M.D., and Jan Novak, Ph.D. When a different reagent, a small nanobody that detects the very end of the IgG molecule was used, IgG was detected in all biopsy specimens,
including those that did not show IgG by routine immunofluorescence. Moreover, a highly sensitive confocal microscopy showed co-localization of the IgA1 and IgG in glomerular deposits of the biopsy-tissue specimens. Furthermore, the IgG that UAB researchers extracted from both groups of biopsies specifically bound to the galactose-deficient IgA1, the glycoform of IgA1 that is known to be elevated in IgA nephropathy. The IgG autoantibody specific for galactose-deficient IgA1was not found in control extracts from two other forms of glomerulonephritis that do not involve galactose-deficient IgA1 — primary membranous nephropathy and lupus nephritis. These tests together confirmed that the IgG autoantibodies specific for galactose-deficient Lea Novak, M.D., UAB Department of Pathology IgA1 are unique for immuand Stacy Hall, Research Associate, UAB nodeposits of patients Department of Microbiology with IgA nephropathy. “These results reveal, for the first time, that IgA nephropathy kidney biopsies, with or without IgG by routine immunofluorescence, contain IgG autoantibodies specific for galactose-deficient IgA1,” Novak said. “These findings support the importance of these autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of IgA nephropathy. “These IgG autoantibodies specific for galactose-deficient IgA1are present also in blood of patients with IgA nephropathy, and the autoantibody levels predict disease progression. Thus, we can measure these autoantibodies in blood to identify patients who could benefit from a future disease-specific therapy, or monitor patients for responses to the therapy,” Novak said. “And better understanding of these autoantibodies can help us to develop new, disease-specific treatments for IgA nephropathy.” CONTINUED NEXT PAGE
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The study, Novak and Rizk say, largely validates the four-hit hypothesis of IgA nephropathy pathogenesis: 1) Patients with IgA nephropathy have elevated levels of circulatory galactose-deficient IgA1; 2) This leads to development of autoantibodies, mostly of the IgG subclass; 3) The IgG autoantibodies bind galactose-deficient IgA1 to form pathogenic immune complexes; and 4) Those pathogenic immune complexes deposit in glomeruli to incite kidney injury. Further support for this hypothesis comes from multiple findings. For example, previous studies showed that IgA1 immunodeposits in IgA nephropathy are enriched for galactose-deficient IgA1, likely originating from the IgA1-IgG complexes formed in the circulation. This study thus provided a key piece of evidence for the pathogenic role of IgG autoantibodies in IgA nephropathy. At UAB, Novak is professor in the UAB Department of Microbiology and Rizk is associate professor in the
UAB Department of Medicine’s Division of Nephrology. She also directs clinical trials research in that division. Co-authors with Rizk and Novak in the JASN paper, “Glomerular immunodeposits of patients with IgA nephropathy are enriched for IgG autoantibodies specific for galactose-deficient IgA1,” are Manish K. Saha and Bruce A. Julian, Division of Nephrology, UAB Department of Medicine; Stacy Hall, Rhubell Brown and Zhi-Qiang Huang, UAB Department of Microbiology; and Huma Fatima and Lea Novak, UAB Department of Pathology. Jan Novak and Bruce Julian designed the study. Support came from National Institutes of Health grants DK078244 and DK082753, and from a gift from the IGA Nephropathy Foundation of America. Manish Saha had support from NIH T32 training grant DK07545.
Shevde’s Research Featured by Department of Defense The research of Lalita Shevde-Samant,
Ph.D., Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology, was featured by the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs in an article on their website, titled, “Reprogramming the Pro-Tumorigenic Immune Microenvironment to AntiTumorigenic in Breast Cancer.” The piece features breast cancer research, for which Shevde received follow-on funding through the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) BCRP with a Breakthrough Funding Level 2 Award.
LALITA SHEVDESAMANT, PHD
Shevde-Samant is Associate Director for Education and Training for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. In February, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama presented $1 million — its largest donation to date — to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. This annual donation provides pilot money for clinical research projects, including Samant’s investigation of the hyperglycemic state of triple negative breast cancers. Triple negative cancer cells have been shown to be more aggressive and capable of suppressing the immune system, preventing it from recognizing and killing the cancer cells. With BCRFA funding, Samant and her team will now examine whether combining a diabetes drug with a treatment
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that targets triple negative breast cancer cells will improve outcomes. This study will likely lead to a clinical trial for diabetic triple negative breast cancer patients. In the article, Dr. Shevde stated, “We established a new concept that breast cancer cells mediate a ‘conversation’ or a crosstalk with tumor-infiltrating macrophages via Hedgehog ligands that act as ‘conversational’ molecules; this results in immense molecular changes in macrophages that functionally recalibrates them to an immune-suppressive, tumor-promoting state. I am very grateful to the DoD BCRP for funding my research program over the past several years on Hedgehog signaling; cumulatively, these investments have enabled me to take on new challenges to modify the breast tumor microenvironment towards eliminating breast cancer.” Her work has led to the discovery of this novel signaling paradigm. From the article,“Many of the macrophage-targeting treatments currently in clinical trials abrogate not just the recruitment of M2 macrophages but M1 as well. Thus, more targeted approaches, such as the one Dr. Shevde is taking, are needed so as to specifically target the tumor-promoting macrophages while preserving the function and integrity of the tumor-killing M1 macrophages.”
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Honoring Former Department Chair
Jay McDonald, M.D. It is with heavy hearts that we
report the passing of Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Professor Emeritus and former chair of the UAB Department of Pathology, on June 5, 2019. Dr. McDonald left a legacy of integrity and vision in our department, where he served as chair for nearly 20 years, and across the institution. His passing is a true loss for the field of pathology. McDonald joined UAB in 1990 and served as Chair of the Department of Pathology until 2008. Under his leadership, the department made significant strides in research to become one of the top pathology programs in the nation, ranking sixth in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. “Jay recruited physicians and scientists who took the department to a position in the top 10 Pathology departments in NIH funding, while serving patients with state-of-the-art clinical laboratories and educating and training hundreds of students and colleagues,” says George Netto, M.D., the Robert and Ruth Anderson Chair in Pathology. McDonald came to UAB from Washington University in St. Louis, where he spent 10 years as the director of the Division of Laboratory Medicine in its departments of Pathology and Medicine. He was board-certified in anatomic and clinical pathology. During his time at UAB, McDonald founded the NIH-funded UAB Center for Metabolic Bone Disease (CMBD) and served as its chair from 1996– 2010. Prior to the CMBD, there were few coordinated research efforts in metabolic bone disease and no centralized osteoporosis clinic at UAB. The CMBD established a comprehensive multidisciplinary osteoporosis clinic; developed core facilities to support research and education; increased clinical trials; and recruited new faculty. After his tenures as chair of the Department of Pathology and the CMBD, McDonald continued to serve as professor emeritus. “He took his role as professor emeritus to heart, visiting regularly with faculty and staff in the department and across campus with whom he forged lasting relationships during his tenure at UAB,” Netto says. McDonald’s many achievements include numerous awards for his research. In 2011, the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) named him recipient of the Gold-Headed Cane Award, the most prestigious honor granted by the organization to a member. He received the 2010 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC). He also received the Evans Award from the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS), an organization of which he served as president. In 2009, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) awarded him with the Ward Burdick Award for Distinguished Service to Clinical Pathology. In 2005, McDonald received UAB’s Distinguished
Faculty Lecturer Award, the highest honor the institution bestows on a member of its faculty. From 2003–2008, McDonald served as the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Pathology, a premier pathology research publication in the country.
The impact of McDonald’s role supporting excellence in research
and teaching continues to be felt. McDonald and his wife Sarah, support the department’s mission generously, having established the Jay M. McDonald Endowed Professorship in Bone Pathobiology, and the Jay M. McDonald Endowed Professor in Laboratory Medicine, which they recently pledged to elevate to a chair. Many people considered McDonald a mentor, having taught countless medical and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and residents over the course of his career. He held trainees and colleagues alike to the highest standards in an ongoing effort to advance the field of pathology as a whole. His portrait graces the walls of the conference room that bears his name in the Chair’s offices. “Dr. McDonald was a true pioneer in the field of pathology in his leadership of and his vision for what this Department could be,” Netto says. “We are honored to continue his legacy in the training and clinical work we do here each day.” On July 18, the Department of Pathology hosted a celebration of life program for Dr. McDonald. Visitors included former Department chairs, UAB deans and provosts, including School of Medicine Dean Selwyn Vickers, M.D. Colleagues from Dr. McDonald’s time at Washington University in St. Louis joined other friends and former trainees. The event featured a slideshow of photos and quotes by former coworkers and friends who remembered him fondly. Issue 1 2020 UAB Pathology
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Research Retreat 2019 at Regions Field a Hit pre- and post-grant processing and administration. After the morning session, trainees, post-doctoral fellows, clinical fellows, residents and research lab staff joined the faculty and administrative staff for an introduction by George Netto, M.D., Department Chair, followed by selected oral presentations by trainees and fellows:
August 16, the Department of Pathology gathered for a daylong Research Retreat at Regions Field near downtown Birmingham. The event was an opportunity for trainees, staff, and faculty to gather to discuss challenges and opportunities in research, including several outstanding presentations. Organized by Rakesh Patel, Ph.D., Vice Chair for Research and Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology, with the help of staff members Samantha Gromko and Traci Oden, the retreat included more than 100 attendees.
ROUNDTABLES A morning session started with a welcome by Dr. Patel, followed by roundtable discussions on the topics of: • Improving mentoring practices at each academic level • Promoting collaboration between basic and clinical researchers • UAB programs, incentives and resources available to faculty for research support • Pre- and post-grant awrad processing and management / navigating administration at UAB Panelists included Yabing Chen, Ph.D., and Marisa Marques, M.D., on mentoring; Z. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., and Adam Wende, Ph.D., on collaboration; Scott Ballinger, Ph.D., and Jennifer Croker, Ph.D. (CCTS), programs for research support; and Erin White and Israel PonceRodriguez, Pathology Administration, on
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• Ashley Connelly (Graduate Trainee, Dr. Zedenek Hel’s Lab): “Identification and Characterization of Novel Human Neutrophil Subsets in Inflammation-Induced Pathogenesis” • Kellie Regal-McDonald (Graduate Trainee, Dr. Rakesh Patel’s Lab): “Endothelial hypoglycosylation enhances CD16+ monocyte adhesion: a role for alpha-mannosidases” • Felipe Massicano, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Shuko Harada’s Lab): “Exome sequencing identifies glycosylation defects as a probable cause of immune-mediated thrombotic thrombo-cytopenic purpura”
DATA BLITZ A lunch break coincided wtih the “Data Blitz and Present Your Idea” session, moderated by Rajeev Samant, Ph.D., in which faculty and trainees had two minutes and three slides in which to present their innovative ideas and questions with a goal of receiving feedback and identifying collaborative opportunities to help develop these ideas. Fourteen presentations on a variety of topics ranged in experience level
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Blood Cancer on the Run
from postdoctoral fellows to graduate trainees, researchers to assistant professors, to division directors. This session was followed by a second set of oral presentations by trainees and fellows, moderated by Diana Morlote, M.D., Assistant Professor, Genomics Diagnostics & Bioinformatics: • Sunil Rangarajan, M.D. (Clinical Fellow, Dr. Ralph Sanderson’s Lab): “Heparanase from Multiple Myeloma Causes Kidney Injury” • Sumit Agarwal, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Upender Manne’s Lab): “TRIM29 Overexpression is involved in Progression of Microsatellite Stable Colorectal Cancer” • Erin Smithberger (Graduate Trainee, Dr. Ryan Miller’s Lab): “Dual Kinase Inhibition to Combat EGFR-inhibitor Resistance in Glioblastoma”
Drs. Bryan Guillory, X. Long Zheng and Liz Worthey
A poster session followed the presentations, where trainees and faculty shared recent research concepts side by side in 50 unique posters.
POSTER AWARD WINNERS Graduate students: Ashley Connelly and Dominque Hinshaw Post-doc fellows: Sumit Agarwal and Matthew McConnell Clinical trainees: Sunil Rangarajan and Qing Wei The day concluded with remarks from Dr. Netto, including the presentation of poster and oral presentation awards. Robert Pritchett was on hand to attend the student presentations and present the Betty Pritchett Spencer Award for Cancer Research to Kasey Skinner, graduate trainee in the lab of Ryan Miller, MD, Ph.D., Division Director, Neuropathology.
Drs. George Netto, Soory Varambally, and Raj Namakkal-Soorappan
FIVE YEARS AGO, at age 36, Adam Wende, Ph.D., got a diagnosis of leukemia. It came as a blow for the UAB Associate Professor of Pathology and his wife, Sandra. But Wende was fortunate. UAB doctors, including Ravi Bhatia, M.D., Interim Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, were able to control his chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML, through daily medication. Now age 41 and five years into remission, Wende is expressing his gratitude with his goal to raise $20,000 for blood cancer research. He is a member of a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraising running team for the 2020 London Marathon next spring. “Last year,” Adam Wende said, “I was reminded that not all people have been as fortunate as I am. I found out one of my friends from St. Louis, Emily McCay, had been battling acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, since 2016. The amazing videos she posted on Facebook describing her journey moved me.” “Unfortunately,” Wende said, “that November AML claimed her life. A couple of months later, I reached out to her husband, my old friend Dave McCay. After talking, I knew I wanted to take on a new challenge.” So Adam Wende is combining his passion for running with a place on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. “I was really inspired by Emily’s courage, and it motivated me to raise funds to help those not as fortunate as I was with CML.” Details of his story and motivation are on his donation website, which is dedicated to her memory. By Jeff Hansen
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Outgoing Residents and Fellows The Kracke Award for Best Presentation in Anatomic Pathology Seminar Series was presented by Virginia Duncan, M.D., Assistant Professor, Anatomic Pathology, to Dr. Erin Baumgartner. The Outstanding Trainee Teaching Award for multidisciplinary and medical student education was presented by Dr. Ona Marie Faye-Peterson, Professor, Anatomic Pathology, to Danielle Fasciano, D.O.
OUR 2019 RESIDENTS & FELLOWS
DEPARTMENT faculty, staff, fellows and residents gath-
The Jay M. McDonald Award for Excellence in Laboratory Medicine, named for former Department Chair Jay McDonald, M.D., was presented by Pat Bucy, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Laboratory Medicine, to Jeffery Adam Jones, M.D.
Opening remarks by James Hackney, M.D., Director of the Pathology Residency Program, were followed by comments from George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair in Pathology.
Two resident awards in Laboratory Medicine were presented by Lawrence Williams, M.D., Associate Professor, Laboratory Medicine. The Jay M. McDonald Award for Best Presentation in Laboratory Medicine Seminar, honoring former Department Chair Dr. Jay McDonald, went to Raima Memon, M.D. The R. Pat Bucy Award for Best Presentation in Laboratory Medicine Journal Club, went to Taylor Pickens, M.D.
ered on the evening of May 23. The annual event was held at B&A Warehouse, near Railroad Park, where attendees enjoyed dinner and an awards ceremony.
This year’s outgoing Chief Residents David Dorn, M.D., Anatomic Pathology, and Erin Baumgartner, M.D., Clinical Pathology, presented faculty awards. The Leonard H. Robinson Award for Resident Education in Anatomic Pathology went to Thomas Winokur, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology. The Shu T. Huang Award for Excellence in Laboratory Medicine Excellence was given to Sixto Leal, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine.
The Roger Denio Baker Prize in Anatomic Pathology was presented by David R. Baker, J.D., son of Roger, who was the Department’s first chair. On December 1, 1944, Roger Denio Baker became the medical school’s first full-time faculty member and the first departmental chair appointed by Dean Roy R. Kracke. A cash prize of $1,000 is given to a resident in recognition of excellence in Anatomic Pathology. Baker, accompanied by his wife, Lois Gaeta Baker, presented the award in person to David Dorn, M.D.
Division Directors Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Anatomic Pathology, and X. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., Laboratory Medicine, announced the new chief residents for 2019: Danielle Fasciano, D.O., Laboratory Medicine, and Adam Jones, M.D., Anatomic Pathology.
Drs. Netto and Hackney presented certificates to: • David Dorn, M.D. • Tiffany Graham, M.D. • Benjamin Saylor, M.D. • David Ullman, M.D. • Tao Guo, M.D., Ph.D. • Kai Wang, M.D., Ph.D. CONTINUED NEXT PAGE
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2019, two postdoctoral fellows working with Upender Manne, Ph.D., Professor, Pathology, won awards for presentations on their postdoctoral research.
One session, sponsored by the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, featured studies related to cancer research. Sumit Agarwal, postdoctoral fellow of Manne, won third place overall for his oral presentation In February, the UAB on the topic, “MicroRNA-124 Postdoctoral Association, in modulated collagen-prolyl collaboration with the Office of hydroxylase P4HA1 expression Postdoctoral Affairs, organized regulates colon cancer proits 16th Annual Postdoctoral gression.” Co-authors include Research Day. The event Balabhadrapatruni V. S. K. featured six sessions with Dr. Chakravarthi, Michael Behring, Victor Darley-Usmar, Professor, Hyung-Gyoon Kim, Kevin Hale, Pathology, as one of the four Abduljalil M Alsubaie, Sameer presenters of the keynote talk, Al Diffalha, Shajan Sugandha, “Twenty Years of Postdoctoral Sooryanarayana Varambally, Education at UAB.” and Manne.
In January, Michael Behring, postdoctoral fellow of Manne, won first place for his presentation while attending the Second Conference on Bioethics Issues in Minority Health and Health Disparities Research. Behring presented a lab research poster titled, ”Ethical Considerations for Observational Cancer Health Disparity Research,” co-authored with Kevin Hale, Bunyamin Ozaydin, and Manne.
• George Netto, M.D., to his postdoctoral fellow Marie-Lisa Eich, M.D.
• Frida Rosenblum, M.D., Cytopathology presented to Yiqin Zuo, M.D., Ph.D.
• Sameer Al Diffalha, M.D., Gastrointestinal Pathology, to Robin Collingwood, M.D.
• Dr. Yabing Chen, Ph.D., Vice Chair, Faculty Development and Education, recognized:
• Deniz Peker, M.D., Hematopathology, to Tyler Clemmensen, M.D. and Diana Morlote, M.D.
• Anna Hanna, Cancer Biology Theme, under Dr. Lalita Samant
• Shuko Harada, M.D., Molecular Genetic Pathology, to Nirupama Singh, M.D., Ph.D. • Shi Wei, M.D., Surgical Pathology, to Joseph Drwiega, M.D., David Marbury, M.D., Lindsey Matthews, M.D. and Scott Taylor, D.O. • Marisa Marques, M.D., Transfusion Medicine, to James Sikora, M.D. • Yabing Chen, Ph.D., to her postdoctoral fellow, Helen Collins, Ph.D.
• Justin Quiles, Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology Theme, under Dr. Rajeskaran Soorappan • Jeffrey Singer, Immunology Theme, under Dr. Casey Weaver • Jalessa Wright, Pathobiology & Molecular Medicine Theme, under Dr. John Chatham Our gratitude to Monica Henderson, Susan Mills, and Sandy Cummings for organizing this special event.
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New Class of
Residents and Fellows Welcomed
On June 20, UAB welcomed 2019–20 new residents and fellows into the Pathology Department with a breakfast and orientation held at the Wallace Tumor Institute. Incoming residents and fellows gathered with George Netto, M.D., Pathology Chair, Professor and James Hackney, M.D., Residency Program Director, Associate Professor, Neuropathology, as well as Pathology faculty and current residents/fellows. The 17 residents and fellows started in the department on July 1. Around 60 people attended the breakfast with Netto welcoming incoming residents and fellows and Hackney introducing the four attending division directors: Professor Davis Gregory, M.D., M.S.P.H, Forensic Pathology, Professor Christina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Anatomic Pathology, Professor Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Neuropathology, and Professor X. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., Laboratory Medicine.
Following the breakfast, residents and fellows met with faculty members, including Residency Coordinator Monica Henderson, Fellowship Coordinator Susan Mills, Information Systems Manager Israel Ponce-Rodriguez, along with Chief Residents Adam Jones, M.D., and Danielle Fasciano, D.O. The new residents and fellows join UAB from around the country and the world, such as resident Denis Noubouossie, M.D., Ph.D., from Université de Yaoundé Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences Biomédicales in Cameroon. Several new fellows completed their residencies at UAB, including Hematopathology fellow David Dorn, M.D., and Molecular Genetic Pathology fellow Benjamin Saylor, M.D., who were both UAB AP/ CP residents. UAB GYN/GU fellow Tyler Clemmensen, M.D., recently completed his UAB Hematopathology fellowship, and
Nirupama Singh, M.D., Ph.D., was a Molecular Genetic Pathology fellow who is now starting a Transfusion Medicine fellowship.
Resident Tiffany Graham Featured in The Pathologist Tiffany Graham, M.D., recent graduate of the UAB Pathology Anatomic and Clinical Pathology residency program, is featured in an article by The Pathologist magazine. Graham is highlighted for recognition of her educational tweets, which consist of pathology related study tips, artistic renderings and memorization tools. Graham won the inaugural Educational Pathology Tweet Award, or #PathTweetAward, in 2019. She was presented with a certificate by the magazine and recognized by fellow Twitter users in the field of pathology at the United
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States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) annual meeting in March. During her residency, Graham began a Twitter account, @HeartPathology, to share what she was learning and using to memorize educational information. She built a following and was recognized with this award as one of three winners. Following her completed residency at UAB, Graham started a fellowship in gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina in the fall.
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for Clinical Pathology Residents Clinical pathology
residents and fellows now have individualized workspaces, with new lighting, computers and phones in a space with natural light and plenty of room. In addition to the assistance of several administration and staff members who dedicated their time and effort to providing this space, individuals like Israel Ponce-Rodriguez and the IT team helped equip the new space, installing computers and other technical equipment. Many former chief clinical pathology residents were directly involved. Danielle Fasciano, D.O., current CP Chief Resident, acted as intermediary between staff and the residents, and helped relocate residents during the renovation. Former chief residents Erin Baumgartner, M.D., Clinical Pathology, and David Dorn, M.D., Anatomic Pathology, helped configure the design. Sandy Cummings acted as project manager. Much of the planning of the space occurred during Pathology Leadership meetings where individuals like George Kuruvilla were able to provide input, financial analysis and estimates for the project.
Alexander Lecture Features Jacob Steinberg
his year’s third annual C. Bruce Alexander Lecture in Pathology Education, sponsored by the Department of Pathology, featured JACOB STEINBERG, M.D., Professor and Program Director, Autopsy Service & Residency Training, and Chair, Subcommittee of GME Wellness at Montefiore Medical College JAMES HACKNEY, MD, NEUROof Albert Einstein College of PATHOLOGY, DR. JACOB STEINBERG & Medicine. The event took place DR. BRUCE ALEXANDER on February 28 in the West Pavilion Conference Center to a Wellness SubCommittee, which full audience. helps to improve the quality of Steinberg’s talk, titled, “Why the life of more than 1,500 residents Physician-Pathologist Matters,” and fellows. He served under honored Alexander’s legacy both Democratic and Republican at UAB — the two have been Administrations on the friends for decades. Scientific Advisory Panel for the Environmental Protection Agency. Steinberg received his medHe was an AAAS Fellow. ical degree at Stritch-Loyola University of Chicago, and was Dr. Steinberg’s awards include trained at the University of the Einstein’s Davidoff Teaching Pennsylvania and NYU, includHonors Society, Einstein’s the ing Bellevue and VA hospitals. Rosen Outstanding Teacher’s Award, NIH Geriatric Leadership At Einstein, Dr. Steinberg Academic Award, and Faculty chaired the AMA-LCME Awardee, Bronx High School Committee for the Granting of of Science, Science Education, the M.D. Degree, was a foundMinority Students Program, and ing member of the Dean’s Letter AOA faculty. Committee (MSPE), and chaired the Medical Student Thesis He was a decade-long invited Committee. participant of the Dartmouth Health Care Leadership Institute. Dr. Steinberg is Program Dr. Steinberg has been awarded Director of Residency Training the National Distinguished and the Autopsy Service. He Teaching Award in Graduate was a member of the ACGME Medical Education in 2014 and is Residency Milestones Committee, also the Montefiore Faculty and and Chair of the Program Alumni Physician Honoree Directors’ (APC/PRODS). He for 2019. chairs the GME Housestaff
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28th annual Paulette Shirey Pritchett Endowed Lecture
Eric Olson Delivers Pritchett Lecture UAB Pathology celebrated the 28th year of its Paulette Shirey Pritchett Endowed Lecture in Pathology with an outstanding lecture by Eric N. Olson, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Olson’s lecture, “Understanding Muscle Development, Disease and Regeneration,” took place before a full house on May 29 in the Margaret Cameron Spain Auditorium with the Pritchett family in attendance. This endowed lecture series is named in honor of Dr. Paulette Shirey Pritchett, and is supported by her husband, Dr. Robert Pritchett KATE PRITCHETT, ERIC OLSON, MD, & YABING CHEN, PHD and family. “We were thrilled to have Dr. Olson deliver the Pritchett lecture this year,” said George Netto, M.D., Chair, UAB Department of Pathology. “His research on muscular dystrophy is world-renowned and his work in regenerative medicine is cutting-edge. He is an ideal expert to provide this distinguished lecture.” Eric Olson is the founding Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He also founded the Harmon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine at UT Southwestern, which is advancing new strategies for organ regeneration. In addition, Dr. Olson directs the Wellstone Clinical Research Center for Muscular Dystrophy Research at UT Southwestern. He holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair, the Pogue Chair Distinguished Chair in Cardiac Birth Defects, and the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research. Dr. Olson and his trainees discovered many of the key genes and mechanisms responsible for development of the heart and other muscles. His laboratory also unveiled the signaling pathways responsible for pathological cardiac growth and heart failure. Olson’s discoveries at the interface of developmental biology and medicine have illuminated the fundamental principles of organ formation and have provided new concepts in the quest for cardiovascular therapeutics. His most recent work has provided a new strategy for correction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy using CRISPR gene editing.
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Dr. Olson is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Basic Research Prize and Research Achievement Award from the American Heart Association, the Pasarow Medical Research Award, the Pollin Prize, the Passano Award, and the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. In 2009, the French Academy of Science awarded Dr. Olson the Lefoulon-Delalande Grand Prize for Science. He is among the most highly cited scientists in the world, with his work having been cited over 100,000 times (with an h-Index of 180) in the scientific literature. Dr. Olson has co-founded multiple biotechnology companies to design new therapies for heart muscle disease. Most recently, he founded Exonics Therapeutics, which is advancing gene editing as a therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In his spare time, he plays guitar and harmonica with The Transactivators, a rock band inspired by the Texas troubadour, Willie Nelson, who created the Professorship that supports his research.
His research on muscular dystrophy is world-renowned and his work in regenerative medicine is cutting-edge.
The lecture is named for Paulette Shirey Pritchett, who was appointed an assistant professor at UAB in 1975 and a surgical pathologist at UAB and later at Cooper Green Hospital. Dr. Pritchett was a highly respected young member of the UAB Department of Pathology when she unexpectedly passed away on August 4, 1984. She was a native Alabamian who obtained her medical degree from the University of Alabama, where she was awarded the Stewart Graves Award and the William Boyd Medal for her demonstrated excellence in pathology. Dr. Robert Pritchett, her husband and a practicing dermatologist, provided financial support to the university in her name to establish this lectureship. We thank Dr. Pritchett and members of his family for making this possible.
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Pathology Interest Group
Netto Teaches in Europe,
South America and Asia
On August 15, more than 60 UAB School of Medicine medical students took part in the Pathology Interest Group Lunch and Learn held in Volker Hall. This was the group’s first meeting of this academic year, organized by Hannah Cutshall (MS2).
Danielle Fasciano, D.O., Chief Resident, Clinical Pathology, (PGY4) gave a presentation introducing the career of a pathologist, focusing on the subspecialties, the UAB training program, and elective/scholarly possibilities within the Department of Pathology for medical students. David Dorn, M.D. (Hemepath fellow, previous Anatomic Pathology Chief Resident, and previous UAB medical student) was in attendance as was Christine Arnesen, M.D. (PGY3). Faculty advisors Silvio Litovsky, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, and Brandi McCleskey, M.D., Assistant Professor, Forensic Pathology, also attended and invited attendees to rotate through the department, as well as other Pathology Interest Group events.
On Tuesday evening, August 27,
the Pathology Interest Group gathered in the Surgical Pathology conference room in North Pavilion, named in honor of Dr. Vishnu Reddy, Professor, Anatomic Pathology. They came together as part of a co-enrollment course between Forensic Medicine and Public Health, “How the Dead Can Teach the Living,” led by Brandi McCleskey, M.D., Assistant Professor, Forensic Pathology. The course invited students in the interest group to come view slides on the room’s multi-head microscopes. The session covered topics such as cardiac, pulmonary, renal and gastrointestinal pathology, and was taught by residents Danielle Fasciano, Chief Resident, Bo Chen, PGY-4, Taylor Pickens, PGY-3, and Oraine Snaith, PGY-2.
Department of Pathology was represented internationally by our chair, George J. Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, as he delivered lectures and coursework at international conferences this fall.
In October, Dr. Netto attended the LATIN AMERICAN CONGRESS OF PATHOLOGY, SLAP Congress 2019, in Lima, Peru, where he spoke on “When Our Doubts Go Beyond the H-E: Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Techniques that Help Us in Urological Pathology.” From there, Dr. Netto traveled to the FIRST BALKAN SCHOOL OF MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the Second Balkan Conference of Personlized Medicine in October, where he delivered lectures on “Liquid Biopsy: Plasma and Beyond.” The next leg took place in Asia, where first Dr. Netto attended the 9th Annual meeting of Chinese Pathologists and the 25TH CONGRESS OF CHINESE SOCIETY OF PATHOLOGY,
November 14-17 in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. Sponsored by the Chinese Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Pathology (CSP), this event is organized by Henan Provincial Medical Association and Henan Provincial Society of Pathology. CSP has a history of almost 100 years and is the largest official organization for Chinese pathologists and technicians, estimated at more than 18,000 pathologists.
The conference plays an important role in promoting education and research, covering every specialty from cytology, head and neck, GI, breast, soft tissue and molecular medicine. The annual meeting usually attracts more than 4,000 attendees from all over China. The final stop was in Balikpapan, Indonesia, to speak at the INDONESIAN
ASSOCIATION OF PATHOLOGISTS’ ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC MEETING
in November on “Pathology in the Future.” The meeting is co-organized by the APIAP and supported by the International Society of Gynecological Pathologists. During this conference, Dr. Netto was recognized by the organizing associations. This trip reflects a broader effort by the Department of Pathology to represent UAB and the Southeast internationally, with many of our faculty and researchers presenting at conferences across the nation and around the world. UAB Pathology has a memorandum of understanding to serve as a sister institution to the University of Zagreb, Croatia, as well as the Universidada San Francisco de Quito, Equador. We look forward to adding additional partner institutions in the near future.
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6th Annual Listinsky Lecture Features
International Heparanese Expert Pathology recently welcomed a world-renowned expert on heparanese Israel Vlodavsky, Ph.D., to present the sixth annual John Jay Listinsky Lecture in Glycobiology. On August 30, Vlodavsky traveled from Israel’s Technion Integrated Cancer Center, where he heads the Tumor Biology Lab, to lecture on “Heparanese: From Basic Research to Novel Therapeutics for Cancer Inflammation.” Vlodavsky is the world’s leading Dr. Ralph Sanderson, Division Director, MCP; Dr. Israel expert on heparanese, Vlodovsky; and Dr. Gene Siegal, Professor, AP an enzyme that cleaves heparan sulfate, who has authored more than 400 articles mosty related to this remarkable enzyme that plays a key role in cancer progression and inflammation. He has worked for decades on heparanese cancer research with UAB Pathology Division Director Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D., Molecular & Cellular Pathology. Sanderson’s collaboration with Dr. Vlodavsky spans almost two decades, beginning when they met in Stockholm, Sweden in the early 2000s. “I was wanting to move some of my work into the heparanase field and Israel was happy to collaborate with me by supplying some needed heparanase
reagents,” Sanderson recalls. “That early collaboration blossomed into a longstanding collaboration and friendship that has covered multiple projects, including two grants from the NIH and two from the United States–Israel Binational Science Foundation.” Their work together focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying the ability of heparanase to promote tumor progression, including studies on metastasis, tumor growth and angiogenesis. “In addition, we worked together on development and clinical testing of a novel heparanase inhibitor that has been tested successfully in human myeloma patients,” Sanderson says. “Currently our work is continuing to focus on mechanistic studies, but are now aimed at understanding how expression of heparanase by host (non-tumor) cells within the tumor microenvironment contribute to cancer progression.” Dr. Jay John Listinsky, an adjunct associate professor of pathology at UAB at the time of his untimely death in 2012, originally trained as a diagnostic radiologist but had a decades-long interest in fucosylated molecules and their overlapping physiologic properties. He collaborated with investigators in the Division of Anatomic Pathology for many years, which generated a number of novel manuscripts adding important data to the knowledge base of glycobiology. To further this work, his friends, colleagues, and family — spearheaded by his wife and UAB pathologist, Cathy — endowed this lectureship for future generations.
Annual Brissie Lecture Features Nevada County Coroner The sixth annual Robert M. Brissie Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Pathology and the Alabama Eye Bank, featured LAURA D. KNIGHT, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner of Washoe DR. LAURA KNIGHT WITH CEO County, Nevada, LAN BLAKE, ADVANCING SIGHT. Regional Medical Examiner’s Office. Held in December in the West Pavilion Conference Center, Knight spoke on “Medical Examiner/
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Coroner Cooperation with Organ and Tissue Donation,” highlighting research in forensic pathology as it relates to other disciplines such as radiology, genetic testing, and sudden unexplained death in epilepsy. Knight received her M.D. from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and completed her residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina, and her fellowship in forensic pathology at the Office of Medical Investigator at the University of New Mexico. Knight has published educational modules, book chapters,
and journal articles on forensic pathology and pediatric forensic pathology. Dr. Knight serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Medical Examiners and ion the editorial board of the journal Academic Forensic Pathology.
In 2018, Dr. Knight received an 2018 award from the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) for her development of a tissue and cornea donation program at the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, which grants patients lifesaving tissue and corneal transplants.
2019 Holiday Party Department faculty, trainees and staff showed up in their finest to celebrate another successful year at a holiday bash hosted at Haven, near the Lakeview district. The festivities drew the company of guests from leadership throughout UAB.
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Pathology Faculty Appointed to Endowed Professorships
Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Anatomic
Pathology was appointed to the C. Bruce Alexander Endowed Professorship in Pathology. Director of the Division of Anatomic Pathology, Dr. Magi-Galluzzi joined UAB just over a year ago in October Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, 2018 from the MD, PhD Cleveland Clinic where she was professor. Her clinical expertise lies in the pathological diagnosis of genitourinary diseases, including prostate, bladder, testicular, adrenal and kidney malignancies. Her Yabing Chen, PhD research interest focuses on prostate carcinogenesis and in the discovery and validation of tumor markers and genomic tests of value in furthering the goals of successful treatment and understanding C. Ryan Miller, MD, PhD of the pathogenesis of genitourinary diseases. In September 2018, she was named to The Pathologist magazine’s Power List of “100 of the best, brightest and most powerful advocates of pathology.”
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Yabing Chen, Ph.D, Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pathology and Vice Chair, Faculty Development and Education was appointed to Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Endowed Professorship in Laboratory Medicine. Chen joined the department in 2005 and also serves as Director of the Pathobiology, Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Program. She is a senior scientist in the Center for Aging and the Center for Comprehensive Diabetes, and a scientist in the Centers for Metabolic Bone Disease, the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Center for Free Radical Biology, and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center. Chen is recognized for her work training and mentoring graduate students, fellows, and junior faculty across UAB. Her efforts earned her the UAB 2016 Graduate School’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship and the School of Medicine 2019 Dean’s Excellence Award for Mentorship. Her research focuses on uncovering the molecular mechanisms of the regulation of vascular smooth muscle cells that contribute to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, including vascular calcification in atherosclerosis, arterial stiffness, diabetic vasculopathy, as well as vascular aging. Her work has been continuously funded by grants by the NIH, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and American Heart Association (AHA). In 2016, she received a Research Career
Scientist Award from the VA Research Department, and in 2018, Chen received the prestigious Vascular Biology Special Recognition Award from the AHA’s Council on Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Dr. and Mrs. Jay M. McDonald established the Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Endowed Professorship in Laboratory Medicine with an initial gift in 2014 that became fully endowed in 2018.
C. Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D.,
Division Director and Professor, Neuropathology was appointed to Translational Research Endowed Professorship in Pathology. Dr. Miller joined the department last spring as Division Director, Neuropathology, coming from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill where he was Faculty Director of the UNC Translational Pathology Laboratory. Prior to medical school, Miller completed a Ph.D. at UAB in 1999 in the department’s Cellular and Molecular Pathology graduate program. Dr. Miller’s research interests focus on novel treatment approaches for malignant gliomas based on molecular alterations for tumorigenesis using proteomic molecular analyses. He serves on the neuropathology and neuro-oncology committees of the National Cancer Institute’s Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.
3 Argus Awards
Pathology Takes Home Created in 1996, the Argus
Awards give UAB School of Medicine students the chance to honor their mentors, professors, courses and course directors for outstanding service to medical education. Faculty members are nominated by course evaluations, and students vote to select award winners in each category. Argus Award recipients and nominees were honored at a reception in September. Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Education Dr. Yabing Chen attended representing UAB Pathology, which had several faculty members nominated for awards and three winners. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and who took home these prestigious awards this year. We are proud of our teaching faculty.
2019 WINNERS Best MS1 Organ Module, Cardiovascular
Silvio Litovsky, M.D., Pathology, with Harish Doppalapudi, M.D., Medicine
Best Educator, Hematology/Oncology Lawrence Williams, M.D., Pathology DR. SILVIO LITOVSKY (L) WITH HARISH DOPPALAPUDI, MD, MEDICINE
Best Educator, Reproductive Systems Jennifer Gordetsky, M.D., Pathology
2019 NOMINEES Best MS2 Organ Module, Neurosciences
Kenneth Fallon, M.D., Pathology
Best Educator, Fundamentals of Medicine
Frida Rosenblum Donath, M.D., Pathology
Best Educator, Cardiovascular DRS. KENNETH FALLON AND SILVIO LITOVSKY
Silvio Litovsky, M.D., Pathology
Best Educator, Reproductive Systems Jennifer Gordetsky, M.D., Pathology
George Elected SE Representative to APC The UAB Department of Pathology is proud to announce the election of KURUVILLA GEORGE, MBA, Executive Administrator, as Southeast Regional Representative to the Pathology Department Administrators section of Association of Pathology Chairs (APC), from 2019–2021. The APC introduced incoming representatives at its annual meeting in Boston last July. For the last five years, George has worked as the interim executive administrator and business administrator for the Department holding responsibility for Clinical Affairs including maintaining and expanding the Community Practice Pathology Program (CPPP), Pathology Information Systems and oversight of the administrative staff. George facilitated the acquisition of several new clients in the CPPP program.
“We are fortunate to have Mr. George at the helm of our administrative team, and overseeing the business aspects of the Department’s clinical affairs,” said George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair. “He plays a crucial role in the success of this department, and his contributions to the APC will be notable.” Prior to his time at UAHSF, George worked as a consultant and in Riyadh for four years as the Laboratory Administrator at King Faisal Specialty Hospital & Research Center — the premier hospital in Saudi Arabia. As Laboratory Administrator, he oversaw a large, multi-hospital laboratory and assisted the Hospital COO with streamlining several processes like reducing Emergency Room waiting time.
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Six Faculty Promotions CONGRATULATIONS to four of our Department faculty who received promotions on October 1, 2019, from assistant to associate professor, tenure-earning track, along with a promotion to full professor and an associate granted tenure. “That we have so many young faculty achieving promotions and tenure, across several divisions throughout our Department, is laudable,” said George Netto, M.D., Chair of the Department of Pathology. “We congratulate them and wish them continued success in their careers here at UAB.” L to R: Daniel Atherton, M.D. Forensic Pathology Todd Stevens, M.D., Anatomic Pathology
Huma Fatima, M.D. Anatomic Pathology Rajeskaran Namakkal Soorappan, Ph.D., Molecular & Cellular Pathology Jianhua Zhang, Ph.D., became full professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology Lawrence Williams, M.D., was awarded tenure as associate professor, Laboratory Medicine
Siegal Sworn in as ASCP President
Gene Siegal, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology and Executive Vice Chair, was sworn in as President of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), a national organization that brings together more than 100,000 anatomic and clinical pathologists, residents and fellows, medical laboratory professionals and students. Begun in 1922, it is the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals.
Siegal began his role as president at the ASCP 2019 Annual Meeting, held in September in Phoenix, and will serve for the 2019–2020 term. Dr. Siegal is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Laboratory Investigation.
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Reddy Celebrated with Room Naming Department leaders, faculty, staff, residents and fellows alike came together in honor of Vishnu Reddy, DR. VISHNU REDDY (R) WITH HIS SON, DR. NIPUN REDDY, OUTSIDE ROOM NP3554 M.D., last March 12. They celebrated by dedicating to him the Surgical Pathology conference room in North Pavilion, Room 3554. The space was renovated to facilitate a multiheaded microscope for surgical pathology consultations. It can now utliize several large screens mounted on the walls for sharing slides via telemedicine conferences locally, among department offices, and with our partners in the Community Pathology Practice Program at sites in Anniston, Gadsden and Montgomery. Dr. Reddy was joined by his wife Serala, son Nipun Reddy, and daughter-in-law Neha Reddy who both work at UAB. Nipun Reddy, M.D., is an Assistant Professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Neha Redy, M.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine. Colleagues and friends of Reddy’s gathered to observe his successful career of more than 25 years at UAB Pathology and the UAB Health System. He has served as interim division director for Neuropathology and Anatomic Pathology. Division Directors Dr. Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, Anatomic Pathology, and Dr. X. Long Zheng, both spoke, as did several of his mentees. The conference room is used daily for surgical pathology consults.
3Awarded Professor Emeritus Status Stephen Moser, M.D.
Dr. Stephen Moser received his certificate of Professor Emeritus status from George Netto, M.D., Chair, in February. Dr. Moser retired from fulltime service to the Department in November 2018. Among Moser’s noted achievements in service to the University are election to the UAB Faculty Senate for three terms, where he chaired both the Affairs Committee and Finance Committee. In service to the UA Health System, Dr. Moser served the UAB Hospital Clinical Microbiology Laboratory as Associate Director for nearly two decades and another seven years as Director, stepping down in 2018. He also worked on the Laboratory Information Systems committees and working groups to include installation of the Cerner Laboratory Module, and served eight years on the Infection Prevention Committee and Antibiotic Stewardship subcommittee of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. In addition, Moser provided research and service to MedMined, Inc., a medical information technology company he helped form with Stephen Brossette, M.D., Ph.D. whom he co-advised (defined the clinical topic) as an MSTP student earning his Ph.D. in computer science, which resulted in two patents. “This service has had great impact on the practice of infection prevention nationwide, and I consider it my most significant contribution,” Moser said. Brossette ultimately sold MedMined to Cardinal Health (CareFusion) in 2006 for $95 million. UAB has received more than $5 million from the sale and royalties to date, including some distribution to the Department of Pathology. Additionally, Moser has been principal or co-investigator on grants and contracts from NIH, foundations, and industry with total awards to UAB of more than $9 million. In 1999, he founded the UAHSF Fungal Reference Laboratory under the Department with grants from the HSF Endowment Fund. The laboratory participates in
both basic and applied science research with the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine; School of Dentistry, Department of Pediatric Dentistry and industry. This is a CLIA certified, CAP-accredited, and licensed by the Alabama as an Independent Clinical Laboratory. Moser has authored or coauthored more than 100 peerreviewed manuscripts, 7 book chapters, 40 invited lectures, and over 120 presentations at national and international conferences. Beginning in 1992 and continuing through 2018, Moser participated in teaching Microbiology to medical, dental, optometry and graduate students, and Pathology residents. He is author of the Medical Student Microbiology Laboratory Manual, and served on the dissertation committees for and mentored Stephen Brossette (CIS), Daisy Wong (CIS) and Stephanie Momeni (Biology). Moser has received international recognition as editorial board member and editor of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology published by the American Society for Microbiology, considered a top-tier journal in the discipline of Diagnostic Clinical Microbiology and distributed worldwide.
STEPHEN MOSER, MD, (R) WITH GEORGE NETTO, MD, CHAIR, UAB PATHOLOGY.
Michael Conner, M.D.
Congratulations to Michael Conner, M.D., on earning emeritus status as professor, Anatomic Pathology. He held a secondary appointment in the School of Dentistry. Dr. Conner has spent his entire career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, having earned his bachelor of science and doctorate of medicine degrees both at UAB. He diverged for a one-year pediatric internship at the University of Mississippi, before completing a residency program and then two fellowships, in hematopathology and surgical pathology, at UAB. CONTINUED NEXT PAGE
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Dr. Conner simultaneously had appointments in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, working his way up from assistant to full professor in both. He taught coursework in both departments beginning in 1991, including assisting with the residents’ didactic lecture series and microscopic workshops from 1993 to present. Conner’s clinical service covered both UAB Hospital and Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center labs. He worked as house staff in both pathology and ob-gyn in those facilities for nearly two decades. In addition to his clinical work, Conner has served as a member of numerous specialty societies over the course of his career, and on committees ranging from teaching and graduate education advisory, to resident selection, to gynecologic oncology, and many more. He DR. MICHAEL CONNER (R) WITH DEPARTMENT CHAIR has also worked as reviewer and editorial board GEORGE NETTO, MD member on numerous journals, such as Modern Pathology, Human Pathology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Conner’s research interests focus primarily on surgical pathology of obstetrical and gynecological diseases, including immunohistochemical markers as related to diagnosis and prognosis of gynecological malignancies. His work has been funded by grants from the NIH and its various entities, including NHLBI, NICHD, and the National Cancer Institute. In addition to his translational research, Dr. Conner has published dozens of abstracts and manuscripts, as well as several book chapters. Conner received his bachelor’s and his doctorate degrees from UAB, as well having completed several residencies within the hospital. In 1979, Conner completed a pathology residency at UAB and began as Chief Pathology Resident. Following this, Conner began a Hematopathology Fellowship and a Surgical Pathology Fellowship.
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Andra Frost, M.D.
Andra Frost, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, retired in 2019 after more than 20 years as a surgical, cyto- and autopsy pathologist at UAB Hospital. Dr. Frost started in the Department of Pathology as an associate professor in 1997, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology in 2006. She became full professor in both departments six years later. Frost was medical director of the Cytotechnology Training Program in the Auburn University School of Sciences. She also served as scientist in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Cell Adhesion and Extracellular Matrix Center. She served as chair of numerous committees of pathology professional organizations, with an emphasis on training and cytopathology interests. She is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research, UCAP, and the American Society of Cytopathology, While at UAB, Dr. Frost served as a mentor for numerous undergraduate and graduate students in both the medical and graduate schools. Before her appointments at UAB, Frost worked for Georgetown University Hospital and as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at Georgetown University. She was a surgical pathologist and cytopathologist at George Washington University Hospital. After moving to Birmingham, Dr. Frost served as a surgical pathologist/cytopathologist/autopsy pathologist at the local Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Over the years, Frost’s research focus has been on diagnostic pathology within the breast and thyroid, as well as breast cancer biology. She provided effort on research grants funded by the NIH, NCI and other private organizations. Dr. Frost has served on editorial boards for journals of cancer research, oncology and hematology, and biotechnology and histochemistry. She has been published in more than 118 manuscripts, 7 books, 98 abstracts and additional other publications. She gave invited lectures and served visiting professorships throughout her career at institutes around the country.
Dussaq Wins 2019 William Boyd Medal
the University of Alabama School of Medicine Awards Ceremony on May 17, the William Boyd Medal was awarded to ALEX M. DUSSAQ, M.D., PH.D. Dr. Dussaq, a native of Reno, Nevada, came to Birmingham to join the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD-PHD) at UAB. His research centered around developing innovative bioinformatics approaches to solve clinical problems. He worked in the UAB Department of Pathology Division of Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics, as well as studied with Christopher Willey M.D., Ph.D., from the UAB Hazelrig Salter Radiation Oncology Center. Dussaq accepted a position in the Pathology Residency Program at Stanford University. The Boyd Medal has been awarded continuously since 1967 and given on behalf of the Alabama Association of Pathologists and the faculty of the UAB Department of Pathology to the graduating medical student whose performance in Pathology throughout their medical school career has been most exemplary. This award was named in honor of Dr. William Boyd who is considered by many to be one of
the fathers of modern pathology education. Dr. Boyd was born in Portsoy, Scotland, in 1885 and obtained his medical degree in 1908 at Edinburgh. He was a medical officer in WWI and published his first book, "With a Field Ambulance at Ypres in 1916," about his war experience. He then moved to Canada, where he rose to the rank of professor of pathology at the University of Manitoba, later moving to the University of Toronto, and then to the University of British Columbia. After retirement, he came to Birmingham as a visiting professor at UAB from 1955 to 1962. PETER ANDERSON, DVM, PHD, PROFESSOR, PATHOLOGY,
During his career, Dr. Boyd pub- WITH DR. ALEX DUSSAQ ON lished seven textbooks, one of RECEIVING THE AWARD which was the first pathology text to emphasize clinical-pathologic correlations and pathogenesis. This text was popular worldwide and generated 20 editions. Dr. Boyd was once referred to as, â€œThe pathologist with a silver tongue and a golden pen.â€?
Chen Named an Outstanding Faculty Senate Member Dr. Yabing Chen, Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology and Vice Chair, Faculty Development and Education, was honored in August as a 2019 Outstanding Faculty Senate Committee Member. Chen celebrated with other School of Medicine award recipients at a reception attended by Dean Selwyn Vickers, M.D., and hosted by President Ray Watts, M.D., at the UAB Woodward House.
DR. RAY WATTS WITH DR. YABING CHEN
Each year, the faculty senate recognizes a few of its 70 to 80 members for their outstanding service on one of the six standing committees. The number of awards varies, with five awards handed out this year. The event honors current and incoming members of the UAB Faculty Senate and UAB Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee.
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Chen and Reddy Honored with SOM Dean’s Excellence Awards
June 11, friends, family and colleagues from various departments of the School of Medicine joined Selwyn Vickers, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Medicine, to celebrate the 2019 Dean’s Excellence Awards with emcee David Rogers, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer. The Department of Pathology had two faculty members recognized for their achievements at the awards ceremony: YABING CHEN, PH.D., Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Education, for mentoring, and VISHNU REDDY, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, for service, both in the senior faculty category. Dr. Yabing Chen is an outstanding educator and effective mentor whose work has had a positive impact on many young scientists and made a significant contribution to the missions of the School of Medicine in research, teaching and service.
DR. REDDY RECEIVES THE SERVICE AWARD FROM DR. DAVID ROGERS
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Since joining the Department of Pathology faculty in 2004, Dr. Chen has excelled in mentoring at the graduate and postgraduate levels. She directs the UAB Graduate School Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine theme and the graduate course, “Molecular Basis of Disease.” She serves as a faculty mentor on six NIH-funded training programs. Her teaching and mentoring effectiveness has been documented by outstanding student evaluations, numerous awards, fellowship grants, and the career advancement of her trainees at UAB. In 2016 the Graduate School recognized Chen with the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship.
As a scientist, Dr. Chen has garnered international recognition in studying vascular calcification and stiffness. She is a recipient of the Veteran’s Administration Research Career Scientist Award. Recently, Chen received the prestigious “Vascular Biology Special Recognition Award” from the American Heart Association for her outstanding contributions in vascular biology and to the AHA council on Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. For the past two years, Dr. Chen has served as Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Education in the Department of Pathology. She has initiated annual faculty development forums; standardized faculty evaluation and promotion processes; and organized group discussion sessions to promote effective training and faculty development. Chen spearheaded the faculty mentoring program at the Birmingham VA Research Department to enrich a collaborative environment between the VA and UAB. Dr. Chen’s outstanding mentorship is reflected at the national level, from serving on the AHA Early Career Committee to provide a platform for the transition of junior scientists, to becoming an effective mentor for young investigators for the AHA/ATVB council. In the past three years, Chen has supported career development, promotion and tenure of over 15 investigators at UAB as well as other premier universities nationwide.
FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS, Dr. Vishnu Reddy has served as Hematopathology Chief Consultant for UAB, and his expertise is recognized internationally. Reddy covers a wide array of clinical services in Laboratory Medicine, Anatomic Pathology, and Hematopathology, and in his role as Section Head of the Laboratory Hematology and Bone Marrow Lab.
Dr. Reddy served in the US Army (Colonel, USA Retired) as an active-duty hematopathologist for 15 years, from 1978 to 1993, before joining UAB, and served an additional decade, from 1997 to 2008, in the US Army Reserves as a pathologist for the clinical laboratories at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Dr. Reddy has published more than 100 peerreviewed manuscripts and book chapters, and delivered invited lectures around the world. He is an expert in myelodysplastic syndromes and hem-related malignancies.
Reddy has a vast portfolio of collaborative research with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Division of Hematology-Oncology on projects ranging from bone marrow immuno-architecture to tissue micro-arrays, myeloma, and mouse models of leukemia.
Clinical programs under Dr. Reddy’s supervision have seen ongoing improvements in quality and efficiency. Under his guidance, bone marrow service was consolidated under pathology, and daily QA/QC review of hematology lab test results were established through pathology trainee participation. Reddy supervises daily hematopathology rounds and sign-out sessions for pathology residents, and has expanded resident training curriculum.
Having served as Interim Division Director of Laboratory Medicine, Anatomic Pathology, and Neuropathology, there isn’t a program Dr. Reddy can’t lead. Over the course of his tenure as director, Reddy assumed DAVID ROGERS, MD, WITH DR. CHEN & DEAN SELWYN VICKERS the role of divisional liaison to hospital laboratory leadership, supervised junior faculty, and provided faculty counseling, all while maintaining responsibilities in Hematopathology.
An excellent educator, Reddy was instrumental in starting the ACGME-accredited, nationally-recognized Hematopathology Fellowship Program at UAB in 1994. He has served as director of the medical school’s Hem-Onc module since 2000. Reddy is the recipient of 16 Argus Excellence Teaching and Pathology fellow/resident awards.
This spring, the Department honored Dr. Reddy with the dedication of a surgical pathology conference room in his name. Colleagues and trainees dating back decades and across disciplines attended to celebrate, speaking to Dr. Reddy’s far-reaching impact on the Department and the School of Medicine.
Women in Pathology Celebrate Women Leaders in Medicine The American Medical Association celebrated women leaders in medicine throughout the month of September, and in that spirit, a group of UAB Pathology faculty, staff and trainees gathered in the UAB Hospital North Pavilion for a group photo representing our own women leaders. The UAB Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association, led by MARISA MARQUES, M.D., Professor, hosted a panel discussion on Diversity in Medicine on September 17, featuring our own HUMA FATIMA, M.D., Associate Professor, alongside other UAB Medicine panelists.
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Grizzle Recognized with ISBER Founder’s Award
Congratulations to William Grizzle, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, who was recognized by the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) with the 2019 Founder’s Award. Dr. Grizzle was presented with this award at the organization’s annual meeting in Shanghai, China, May 7-10. ISBER is a global biobanking organization. “Dr. Grizzle has been a leading individual with great foresight to recognize biobanking as an important and emerging field in science,” said David Lewandowski, ISBER President 2018–19. “Since helping to establish ISBER in 1999, he has worked tirelessly to provide the evidence-base to support best practices Dr. Grizzle has been a in biobanking. He is highly regarded leading individual with by his peers as a great foresight to recog- reviewer and trainer for start-up biobanks nize biobanking as an domestically and important and emerging internationally.” Dr. Grizzle has field in science. an AB honors degree (Chemistry and Physics) from Harvard University and Ph.D. (Biophysics) and M.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University. He is board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. He served as Head of the Autopsy Section at the UAB and VA hospitals in Birmingham for 10 years, and has been head of the program in Translational Research in Neoplasia of the Department of Pathology since 2000. His research interests include fatty acids in cancer; validation of molecular biomarkers; exosomes
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and post-transcriptional regulation; molecular imaging, especially multispectral optoacoustic tomography; and biorepository sciences. Since 1983, Grizzle has served as Director of UAB’s Tissue Collection and Banking Facility, and was principle investigator of the Southern Division of the Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN) and Director of the Biorepository of the Pulmonary Hypertension Breakthrough Initiative (PBHI). Grizzle frequently consults for national and international biorepositories and governmental agencies and presents workshops on factors accreting and limiting the use of human tissues in research, and histochemical and immunohistochemical staining. Dr. Grizzle is a founding member of ISBER, and a former council member and President of the organization. In 2015, he received the ISBER Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking. He was a trustee of the Biological Statin Commission (BSC) serving as President and Vice-President. In 2017, Grizzle became a trustee emeritus of the organization. Grizzle served as a Senior Editor of Clinical Cancer Research for seven years, and has served on the editorial boards of numerous other journals. He is currently on the board of Biopreservation and Biobanking; Biotechnic & Histochemistry, and Clinical Cancer Research, and is an associate editor of Cancer Biomarkers. He has published more than 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. “We are thrilled for Dr. Grizzle at this esteemed recognition from the ISBER on his behalf,” said George Netto, M.D., Chair of the Department of Pathology. “His work and expertise in biobanking and biorepositories span several decades, making him one of the field’s most respected experts. We thank the ISBER for extending Dr. Grizzle this honor.” The award is sponsored by Chart MVE Biomedical, manufacturer of vacuum-insulated products and cryogenic freezer systems for life sciences markets worldwide.
Anatomic Pathology Faculty Retire
Ralph Crowe, M.D.
Congratulations to Professor Ralph Crowe, M.D., on his retirement from full-time services to the UAB Department of Pathology and UAB Hospital. Effective January 1, he began working reduced clinical hours. Crowe has served his entire academic career in the Department, starting as chief resident at the outset of his medical career. Dr. Crowe is a surgical pathologist and cytopathologist with more than 30 years of experience in clinical diagnostic pathology of multiple organ systems. He joined the Department in 1989 as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 2002, before his promotion to full professor in 2012. Dr. Crowe became a primary pulmonary transplant biopsy pathologist in 2004. His involvement with non-neoplastic and neoplastic lung disease in the following years expanded to include medical student and fellowship-level teaching, and active participation in several interdisciplinary teaching and clinical conferences. Dr. Crowe is a Birmingham native who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in philosophy from Birmingham Southern
College before receiving his medical degree at UAB. He completed an internship and residency at Carraway Hospital (then Carraway Methodist Medical Center), followed by a residency at UAB Hospital, serving as chief resident in the Department of Pathology. His participation in professional societies and service to various committees and councils is too numerous to list. Crowe has published many academic articles, abstracts and manuscripts over his career, and presented lectures, papers and posters at conferences nationwide.
Andra Frost, M.D.,
Professor, Anatomic Pathology, retired after more than 20 years as a surgical, cyto-and autopsy pathologist at UAB Hospital. Dr. Frost started in the Department of Pathology as an associate professor in 1997, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology in 2006. She became full professor in both departments in 2012. She was medical director of the Cytotechnology Training Program in the Auburn University School of Sciences. She also served as scientist in the O'Neal Comprehensive
Cancer Center and the Cell Adhesion and Extracellular Matrix Center. Dr. Frost served as chair of numerous committees of pathology professional organizations, with an emphasis on training and cytopathology interests. She is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research, of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, and of the American Society of Cytopathology. Over her many years with UAB, Dr. Frost served as a mentor for numerous undergraduate and graduate students in both the medical and graduate schools. Before her appointments at UAB, Dr. Frost worked for Georgetown University Hospital and as an associate professor in the Department of Pathology at Georgetown University. She was a surgical pathologist and cytopathologist at George Washington University Hospital. After moving to Birmingham, Dr. Frost served as a surgical pathologist/cytopathologist/autopsy pathologist at the Birmingham Veteranâ€™s Administration Hospital. Over the years, Dr. Frost's research focus is on diagnostic pathology within the breast and thyroid as well as breast cancer biology. She provided effort on research grants funded by the NIH, NCI and other private organizations throughout her career. CONTINUED NEXT PAGE
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Dr. Frostâ€™s writing has been published in more than 118 manuscripts, 7 books, 98 abstracts and additional other publications. She gave invited lectures and served visiting professorships throughout her career, at institutes around the country.
Gary Simmons, M.D.,
retired July 1 from his position as Associate Professor, UAB Pathology, in which he has served since 2016. Prior to this professorship, Simmons served as the associate coroner/medical examiner for the Jefferson County Coroner's Office in Birmingham, from 1988 to 2016, and as Assistant Professor, UAB Pathology. Over his career Dr. Simmons published 11 manuscripts, 15 abstracts, and a book chapter. He gave presentations on forensic pathology and autopsy throughout his career. Simmons was awarded the Helen Keller Award in 1994 by the Alabama Eye and Tissue Bank. Dr. Simmons is a member of two professional societies, serving as a fellow in the American Academy of
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Forensic Sciences and in the National Association of Medical Examiners. He has demonstrated autopsy findings and procedures to various law enforcement classes throughout his career, and in 1991 authored the Jefferson County Coroner/ Medical Examiner Office Exposure Control Plan. He was a member of the UAB Hospital Organ Donation Task Force from 2006-2011, and presented findings regularly at the UAB Hospital Surgical Morbidity and Mortality Conference. Throughout his career, Simmons taught autopsy procedures and forensic pathology to UAB students in medicine, anatomic pathology, and criminal justice.
Stephanie Reilly, M.D.,
Associate Professor, Anatomic Pathology and Autopsy Section Head, retired September 30, 2019. Dr. Reilly served on faculty with the UAB Department of Pathology for 28 years, having started as a visiting assistant professor in 1991. She worked her way up to associate professor a decade ago, in 2009, and since 2015 served as Autopsy Section Head.
Dr. Reilly was valedictorian of her college class at the University of New Orleans before pursuing a medical degree at Louisiana State University Medical School. She completed a pathology residency at the University of Texas Southwestern in addition to a year of pediatrics training at Children's Medical Center of Dallas. Reilly has twice been recognized by the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP)'s StowellOrbison Award, in 2009 and 2013, for poster presentations at the organization's annual conference. She won the Argus Teaching Award at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 2008. She served as AOA Councilor at UAB from 2009 to 2015. Reilly has acted as an ad hoc reviewer for Human Pathology and BMJ Case Reports. Dr. Reilly holds appointments at Birmingham Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Highlands Hospital, and University Hospital of Birmingham. She has published numerous articles in Laboratory Medicine and other academic journals, in addition to published abstracts, posters, and invited lectures at various national conferences. We congratulate Drs. Crowe, Frost, Simmons and Reilly on their tremendous careers and thank them for their service.
Pathology Takes 3rd at
SOM Diversity Fair
The annual UAB School of Medicine Diversity Fair drew some 700 participants in 2019. Sponsored by the School of Medicine’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, each department was invited to host a booth. Pathology chose a theme of “It’s a Small World After All” and proudly offered food, drinks, art and music from the dozens of countries represented by our faculty, staff and trainees. Our efforts earned us third place overall at the event.
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Netto Named Editor-in-Chief of Modern Pathology The UAB Department of Pathology is excited to celebrate George J. Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Baker Endowed Chair, as the Editor-in-Chief of Modern Pathology, a publication of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology. Modern Pathology concentrates on all aspects of diagnostic human pathology, contemporary issues pertinent to diagnostic accuracy, reviews, illustrative cases, Academy news and clinical medicine directly related to pathology practice. The journal has an impact factor of 6.365 and ranks 5/75 for all pathology journals. Modern Pathology provides a forum for the understanding of the pathologic processes and evaluation of new and existing diagnostic applications of scientific advances and clinical pathologic correlations; fostering the acquisition and maintenance of up-to-date information to ensure high standards of practice; and encouraging the publication of new information. Dr. Nettoâ€™s vision for the journal moving forward encourages original manuscripts on emerging predictive biomarkers for immune therapy, the impact of machine learning and artificial intelligence on digital pathology, applied informatics, genomics and precision diagnostics. He plans to implement a restructured review process that enhances the author experience and accelerates timelines from submission to publication. In addition, as editor-in-chief, he will work to reduce peer review from 21 to 14 days. This efficiency will be aided by a new editorial team supported by a diverse global editorial board. Look for an enhanced social media footprint for the journal as well.
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