by Hannah Buckelew

On October 1, 2022, the Department of Pathology welcomes two new members to the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, directed by Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D.

Ming_He_UCSD.jpgMing He, M.D., Ph.D., joins the department as assistant professor from the University of California, San Diego, where he served as an Assistant Project Scientist in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology.

Daniel Tyrrell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, was recently awarded an R00 to study the increased risk of vascular disease in older adults. Tyrrell, who joined the department in August, had an active K99 grant funded at the University of Michigan by the National Institutes of Health, to study, “Cerebrovascular Mitochondrial Function in Aging and Ischemic Injury.”

This grant mechanism is designed to support rising faculty members, and is Tyrrell's first. The proposed research will examine mechanisms of why older adults are at increased risk of vascular disease.

"Current treatments for dementia are inadequate for people of all ages," Tyrrell says. “My proposed research will determine how mitochondria and inflammation in blood vessels in the brain enhance cognitive decline with the goal of improving treatment for dementia and related diseases in blood vessels of the brain.”
Sameer Al Diffalha

The UAB Department of Pathology was proud to pull together faculty, trainees, students and staff from across campus to celebrate the variety of research endeavors ongoing in the department in its 2022 Research Retreat.

The event took place Friday, September 23, at the Hill University Center. A total of 148 faculty, staff, and trainees, as well as some undergraduate and medical students, registered and took part in this year's event. 

The UAB Department of Pathology is excited to announce that Gene Siegal, M.D., Ph.D., Robert M. Mowry Endowed Professor and Vice Chair, was recently awarded the designation of "Mastership" from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Siegal was presented with the award at the ASCP's 100th Annual Meeting, held in Chicago, September 7-9, 2022.

RS30083 RS30083 John Smith 1 smallerDr. Henry (Harv) Rinder, then-ASCP President and now Immediate Past President, presenting Dr. Gene Siegal with the award.

Established in 2007, the Mastership serves to recognize those distinguished members who have made significant contributions to the field of pathology and laboratory medicine and to the ASCP. Eligibility is based on years of ASCP membership, significant career accomplishments, and contributions to the Society and to the profession.

Each individual awarded the Master distinction will be able to use the credentials “MASCP” after his/her name.

C. Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Vishnu Reddy Translational Research Endowed Professor and Division Director, Neuropathology, published a review article in the journal Neuro Oncology on September 19 with colleagues on EGFR, the epidermal growth factor receptor, arguing for its role in precision oncology treatment of glioblastoma (GBM), a currently untreatable form of brain cancer.

"EGFR, the Lazarus target for precision oncology in glioblastoma," is a review focused on a topic Miller wished to study for years, but received multiple rejections for grant applications on the topic before finally obtaining funding this January. 
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by Hannah Buckelew

Karthikeyan Sewell Loftin2resizedMary Kathryn (M.K.) Sewell-Loftin, Ph.D., and Mythreye Karthikeyan, Ph.D.The American Medical Association designates the month of September as Women in Medicine Month to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of women in the field. To showcase the impactful contributions of women in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, Mythreye Karthikeyan, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pathology’s Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, and Mary Kathryn (M.K.) Sewell-Loftin, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), answer a series of questions about their recent collaboration on the study, “Emerging perspectives on growth factor metabolic relationships in the ovarian cancer ascites environment.”

Peter G. Anderson, DVM, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, received the Edithe J. Levit Distinguished Service Award at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in Philadelphia. The award recognizes Anderson for his 20 years of dedicated service to the NBME.

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Anderson has been a member of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine faculty in the Department of Pathology since 1986 and has been active in research and teaching throughout his career. A member of the NBME since 2002, he first joined the Pathology Test Material Development Committee for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 on which he served for 5 years; and an additional 4 years as chair.  Anderson was also a member of the USMLE Step 1 Committee, the USMLE Management Committee overseeing all three USMLE Step examinations, and he serves on the USMLE Step 1 Forms Review Committee and the Interdisciplinary Review Committee. He was also a test committee representative to the NBME, Chair of the NBME Pathology Committee from 2008 to 2011 and a member and then chair of the Hubbard Award Committee.

The UAB Office of Research would like to announce the appointment of Shannon Bailey, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, has been named Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) by the UAB Office of Research. Dr. Bailey’s appointment became effective August 1, 2022.

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“Dr. Bailey is an excellent choice for chair of the IACUC, bringing a strong portfolio of research, teaching, administrative, and leadership expertise that will be assets to the IACUC and the broader research community at UAB,” said Christopher Brown, Ph.D., Vice President for Research. “We look forward to her contributions as IACUC chair.”

The Department of Pathology is honored to announce the promotion and tenure of four of our esteemed faculty colleagues for 2022, effective October 1, 2022:

Sixto Leal, M.D., Ph.D.Sixto Leal, M.D., Ph.D., Laboratory Medicine -- Promotion to Associate Professor 
Dr. Leal is promoted from assistant to associate professor in the Division of Laboratory Medicine. He is Associate Director of the Division of Laboratory Medicine, Director of the SEBLAB (ABSL-3), and Director, Clinical Microbiology and Fungal Reference Lab.

The UAB Department of Pathology remembers a former faculty member, Dr. George Cole, Sr., M.D., UAB Clinical Pathology, who passed away September 2, 2022, at the age of 88.

RS30083 RS30083 John Smith 1 smallerDr. George Cole (L) with Lilly Huang, wife of Dr. Shu Huang; and Dr. Jack Greer at a 2008 reception celebrating Dr. Huang's 30 years at UAB Pathology.

Dr. Cole joined the UAB Pathology family in 1966 as a professor of clincial pathology. He also served on the faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine and was board certified in both disciplines.

While at UAB, Cole developed an educational program for pathology residents and graduate students and provided additional continuing education for pathologists and many other physicians, including those in family practice. He was appointed Vice Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Director of the Clinical Laboratories of the UAB hospital, 1976-1988. Bill's accomplishments, appointments, and responsibilities gained him international fame. One honor included receiving the American Medical Association Physicians Recognition Award until his retirement. 

His obituary can be read here.

Written by Christina Crowe

39139scr_2ffe575957cd264.jpgWilliam Benjamin, Jr., Ph.D., Professor, Laboratory Medicine, will retire at the end of this month, August 31, 2022, after 35 years of service at UAB. He is director of the parasitology and microbiology labs, and frequently referred to by friends and colleagues as, “the bug guy.”

Benjamin received his Ph.D. from UAB in the 1980s after having studied at Montana State University for his Master of Science, and Washington State University for his Bachelor of Science degree. He began his professional career at UAB in the Department of Microbiology as a research associate, becoming an instructor in the Department of Pathology in 1991. A year later, Benjamin earned assistant professor status in both departments; by 2008 he had earned full professor status in both.

Written by Hannah Buckelew

39139scr_2ffe575957cd264.jpgEason Hildreth, D.V.M., Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, was recently awarded the 2022 Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS) Teaching Award at the Graduate Student Research Day event held Friday, August 12. The award recognizes a course director or lecturer who has demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching and is nominated and voted upon by GBS Ph.D. students.

 Written by Christina Crowe

artboard 1In this series, we spotlight several researchers in the Department of Pathology who hold endowed professorships and, in one case, a chair. We recognize each of these individuals for his or her dedication to and innovation in their respective fields of study.

The second individual we focus on in our series of researchers holding endowments is Yabing Chen, Ph.D. M.B.A. Dr. Chen is a Professor in the Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology at UAB Pathology. She is senior scientist with the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Aging, Comprehensive Diabetes Center, Center for Free Radical Biology, the Nephrology Research Training Center, and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center. She is a Senior Research Career Scientist at the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

Tyrrell Headshot MCPOn August 15, 2022, the Department of Pathology welcomes a new faculty member to the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, directed by Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D.

Daniel Tyrrell, Ph.D., joins the department as assistant professor, Molecular and Cellular Pathology. Dr. Tyrrell joins us from the University of Michigan where he served as research investigator in the Department of Cardiology’s Division of Internal Medicine.

 Written by Christina Crowe

artboard 1In this series, we spotlight several researchers in the Department of Pathology who hold endowed professorships and, in one case, a chair. We recognize each of these individuals for his or her dedication to and innovation in their respective fields of study.

The first individual we take aim at is the newest member of our faculty research team, Han-Fei Ding, M.D., Ph.D., inaugural holder of the Gene P. Siegal Endowed Professorship, in the Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology. He joined the department in September 2021, coming from Augusta University Cancer Center.

Written by Christina Crowe

The Department of Pathology is excited to welcome Dario Vitturi, Ph.D., back to UAB as assistant professor, Molecular and Cellular Pathology.

Originally from Montevideo, Uruguay, Vitturi obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham under the direction of Rakesh Patel, Ph.D., Vice Chair, Research, in the Molecular and Cellular Pathology graduate program. Upon completion of his graduate studies, Vitturi joined the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, first as a postdoctoral associate under the direction of Dr. Bruce Freeman, and then as a faculty member.

Vitturi Headshot

Miller Ryan headshotWritten by Christina Crowe

The Department of Pathology is pleased to announce Vishnu B. Reddy, M.D., as this year’s recipient of the 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Heersink School of Medicine – Joint Health Science.

Begun in 1990 by former UAB President Charles McCallum, the award recognizes full-time regular faculty members at UAB who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching, with a recipient from each of the schools and the Joint Health Sciences.

“Teaching for me always a self-learning process, and the most challenging aspect is conveying that passion to attendees,” Reddy says, “but in practice, it is more like ‘Nishkam Karma’ in Sanskrit, meaning action without motive or expectation.”

Written by Christina Crowe

Michael Williams, M.D., M.Sc., Neuropathology fellow with UAB Pathology, has been selected as an honoree for The Pathologist's 2022 Power List, in the category of "First Contact." The list, published by the magazine, is an annual celebration of the great and inspirational minds that underpin the medical laboratory and honors select individuals in six different categories.

Williams Michael

Williams was honored in the "First Contact" category, recognizing his work on the podcast he hosts, "Diversity in Path," which aims to, "explore how investing in diversity can lead to a high return of investment in pathology and lab medicine by learning from the knowledge and experiences of diverse voices within in our field."

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Williams started the podcast in August 2021 shortly after moving to Birmingham to start his two-year Neuropathology fellowship at UAB Pathology. In each episode, he interviews individuals in the field.

Sixto Leal head shotWritten by Christina Crowe

Sixto Leal, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Division of Laboratory Medicine, was recently awarded an American Lung Association COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award for his project, “The Impact of SARS-CoV-2 Immune Dysregulation on Antifungal Immunity.” This is a two-year, $200,000 award.

The aim of the study is to evaluate whether immune responses targeting intracellular viruses (viruses that live inside host cells) compromise the ability of the immune system to simultaneously control mold infection.

“Unlike most invasive mold infections, COVID Associated Pulmonary Aspergillosis (CAPA) occurs in individuals with otherwise intact immune systems. This suggests the presence of novel biological mechanism/s rendering individuals susceptible to invasive fungal infection,” Leal says.  

Miller Ryan headshotWritten by Hannah Buckelew

C. Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Vishnu B. Reddy Translational Research Endowed Professor and Division Director, Neuropathology, has been named co-director of the Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS) Neuroscience Theme (NEURO).