by Christina Crowe

Alexander “Craig” Mackinnon, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics, has been named the Robert B. Adams Endowed Professor in Pathology. He is the second individual to hold this endowment, established in 2014, effective August 31. The first holder was X. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., former director, Division of Laboratory Medicine.
Mackinnon Alexander

A board-certified anatomical and molecular genetic pathologist, Mackinnon joined UAB in 2019 after serving as associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Mackinnon directed the Clinical and Translational Research Laboratory (CTRL) at MCW, where he provided interpretation related to the pathology of tumor samples. The lab developed multiple Next Generation Sequencing-based panels targeting variants in both DNA and RNA. He has experience designing and validating targeted, custom DNA and RNA sequencing assays. Mackinnon’s lab interpreted a range of tests, from sequencing data to digital quantitative imaging for immunohistochemical analysis.

“Dr. Mackinnon has been a pioneer of the validation of custom assays and an innovative leader in the field of genomic diagnostics,” says Gene P. Siegal, M.D., Ph.D., Interim Chair, UAB Pathology. “This endowment, generously supported by the Adams family, bolsters his work and the work of our team of experts in genomics diagnostics, allowing us to further expand the services and tests we offer.”

Mackinnon is a member of the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Clinical Pathology, where he served on the Molecular Pathology Section, Pathologist Recertification Individualized Self-Assessment Examination Committee. His research interests include the molecular pathology of solid tumors and quantitative immunohistochemistry.

About Robert B. Adams, M.D.

Dr. Adams, a native of Birmingham, earned his bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry from Birmingham–Southern College in 1950 and, after earning his medical degree from the Medical College of Alabama (now the Heersink School of Medicine at UAB), did a rotating internship from 1956 to 1957 at Lloyd Nolan Hospital in Fairfield, Alabama. He completed residency training in 1959 at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, while serving with the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, from 1959 to 1961; and then returned to the Medical College of Alabama where he was an instructor from 1961 through 1964, serving first as Assistant Director of Anatomic Pathology and later as Associate Director of Surgical Pathology, all while serving as the Medical Director of the Blood Bank at University Hospital. Dr. Adams entered the private practice of pathology in Montgomery, Alabama, being the first pathologist at the new Montgomery Baptist Hospital, continuing in private practice for 35 years.

In 1965, he established the Adams and Bridger Pathology Laboratory, and in 1972, he established the Alabama Reference Laboratory, which he left private practice to manage in 1990. When Alabama Reference Laboratory was sold to Laboratory Corporation of America in 2000, Dr. Adams accepted a position as Medical Director of Auburn University at Montgomery’s (AUM) Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Throughout his career, Dr. Adams was devoted to providing high quality laboratory service as well as the education of pathologists and laboratory personnel.

The Adams family also supports education: Since 2003, the Adams Education Fund has provided grant support for pathology residents at UAB. Dr. Adams served on the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association (MAA) board of directors from 1988 until 1995 and as its president from 1993 through 1995, serving as class chair for his reunion years, and receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003. He made significant contributions to the MAA’s Building Fund, the Perpetuity Fund, the Jimmy Beard Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund, and the MAA Student Assistance Fund. From 1991 until 1993, Dr. Adams also served as president of the Caduceus Club, which provides funds for School of Medicine student travel.

These generous gifts from Dr. Adams have had an enduring effect on the lives of the many patients who continue to benefit from the discoveries being made at UAB.