Netto_Layman_Headshot.jpgphoto by Nik Laymanby Hannah Buckelew

After seven impactful years of leadership, George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, will be stepping down from his role in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine Department of Pathology to join the University of Pennsylvania as chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, effective July 31, 2023.

In late 2016, Dr. Netto accepted the role of Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair and began to lead a team of more than 300 faculty, staff, and trainees. The department is one of the largest academic pathology departments in the country.

The UAB Heersink School of Medicine Department of Pathology became Netto’s first position at the chair level, having previously served as director of surgical pathology molecular diagnostics at Johns Hopkins Hospital for five years. Originally from Damascus, Syria, he earned his medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine of Damascus University, and upon completion, moved to the United States for residency at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. By his fifth year, he was named chief resident. Following his residency, he accepted a surgical pathology fellowship at the Lauren V. Ackerman Laboratory, Barnes Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, before completing an additional fellowship in urologic pathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He served as chief of anatomic pathology at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York and assistant professor at State University of New York at Stony Brook, before returning to Baylor as associate professor in pathology in 1996. He remained in Dallas for nearly a decade, working as director of the residency training program, of the Tissue Bank & Tissue Procurement, and of molecular pathology.

Netto returned to Johns Hopkins University and rose to the rank of professor of pathology, urology and oncology from 2005 to 2016, specializing in genitourinary pathology. An internationally recognized clinician-scientist, he worked with a team to develop a new test for urothelial cancers that is less invasive and more accurate, called UroSEEK.

Since joining the UAB Heersink School of Medicine Department of Pathology in 2016, Netto was named the third-ever recipient of the prestigious "Featured Discovery" award for his work. In 2020, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the international journal, Modern Pathology. As editor, Netto initiated a monthly podcast, “ModPath Chat,” in which he interviews authors of the latest articles published in the journal. Netto established the Division of Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics and Division of Women’s Health. He played an essential role in the development of the Genomic Diagnostics Lab, a joint venture between Southern Research and UAB to form an independent reference testing lab to serve the UAB Health System and other providers. In 2022, his work with D-TECH (Disruptive Technology Empowering Precision Health) became one of four new Heersink School of Medicine focus areas. His leadership was integral in the establishment of UAB Pathology’s Diversity Task Force and departmental wellness efforts amidst the challenges of an international pandemic.

Netto has been a steadfast, honest, encouraging leader whose ability to elevate individuals’ goals for the greater good of the department has been demonstrated countless times over the past seven years. We are incredibly proud of his accomplishments, thankful for his leadership, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.