McDonald 275x275Jay McDonald, M.D., professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Pathology, passed away June 5 after almost three decades of service to UAB. “Jay left a legacy of integrity and vision in the Department of Pathology and across the School of Medicine,” says Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. “He cultivated excellence in research and teaching, and his remarkable contributions continue to impact this institution. His passing is a true loss for the department, our school, the university, and 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 and became one of the top pathology programs in the nation, ranking sixth in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

 A2010 05P 0494 McDonald cr UAB Archives grayscaleJay McDonald, photo courtesy of UAB Archives.McDonald’s service to the pathology department will live on through his philanthropy. He and his wife, Sarah, established the Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Endowed Professorship in Bone Pathobiology in 2010 and the Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Endowed Professorship in Laboratory Medicine in 2015. Before his passing, they pledged a generous gift to further support the endowments, and to elevate the latter professorship to the Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Endowed Chair in Laboratory Medicine. “The impact of Jay’s ongoing role supporting excellence in research and teaching through these endowments will continue to be felt deeply by the next generation of UAB pathologists,” says George Netto, M.D., the Robert and Ruth Anderson Chair in Pathology.

McDonald graduated medical school from and completed his pathology residency at Wayne State University in Detroit. He completed postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine, where he joined the faculty from 1976-1990. Board-certified in anatomic and clinical pathology, McDonald was recruited to UAB in 1990 to serve as department chair.

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 in basic bone biology, biomedical engineering, and clinical research.

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 long list of achievements includes various awards for his research. 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, an organization of which he served as president. McDonald received a distinguished service award from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. From 2003-2008, he served as the editor in chief of the American Journal of Pathology, the premier pathology research publication in the country.

To give to pathology at UAB, contact Rachel Fornest at (205) 975-5559 or

By Bennett Page