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).

Lin Diana HeadshotWritten by Hannah Buckelew

Diana Lin, M.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Anatomic Pathology, has been approved as an Alabama State Commissioner and Division Commissioner for the Florida Panhandle for the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Accreditation Program, effective immediately.

The CAP is a leading organization of board-certified pathologists with a goal to foster excellence in laboratories and advance the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine. Founded in 1946, the organization now boasts approximately 18,000 pathologists.

Written by Christina Crowe

The World Health Organization, in its seminal series on the classification of tumors, recently published, "WHO Classification of Tumours, 5th Edition, Volume 8: Urinary and Male Genital Tumours," with George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, as an expert member of the urinary and male genital tumors editorial board. It is now available in print and digital formats.

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The WHO Classification of Tumours Editorial Board convened via video conference January 18-20, 2021, to complete the editorial work in the book. 

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"It is my distinct pleasure to serve on this editorial board, and contribute to this seminal volume in our field," Netto says.

Nanda LabVivek Nanda, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology (MCP), is an active researcher in the UAB Department of Pathology. Dr. Nanda joined UAB in January 2020 from Stanford University in California where he was an instructor. Nanda earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Rochester in New York.  In an effort to showcase the impactful contributions of UAB Pathology researchers, Nanda answers some questions about his areas of research and what led him to UAB.

What is your research focus?

My lab focuses on identifying the heritable component of a wide range of cardiovascular disease including atherosclerosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm and peripheral artery disease. To this end, we utilize publicly available genome-wide genetic and bioinformatics resources in combination with in vitro and in vivo approaches to discover the implicated gene and associated signaling pathway. 

Written by Christina Crowe

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pathology has established its new Division of Women’s Health.

The UA Board of Trustees approved the division in February 2022. Interim Division Director Thomas Winokur, M.D., will lead the division as an ongoing recruiting effort for a permanent director takes place. Winokur says the creation of the division stands to help emphasize our departmental and institutional commitment to women’s health.

 Womens Health BannerThe Division of Women's Health is directed by Thomas Winokur, M.D. Faculty include (left to right, bottom row): Xiao Huang, M.D., Ph.D., and Kavita Varma, M.D., DNB, assistant professors; (top row, l to r): Valeria Dal Zotto, M.D., assistant professor; Andrea Kahn, M.D., Professor and Section Head, GYN Pathology; Virginia Duncan, M.D., Assistant Professor, Section Head, Perinatal Pathology

“The establishment of this division serves to unify the subspecialties we have focused on in women’s health in pathology as a field--obstetrics/gynecology, breast, perinatal—and bring them under one umbrella,” Winokur says.

Hildreth LabPic1 7 7 221l-r: Will Meehan, Researcher III, Katy Marotto, Researcher III, Victoria Ordonez, Undergraduate in Cancer Biology, Eason Hildreth, D.V.M., Ph.D. Eason Hildreth, D.V.M., Ph.D.,  an assistant professor in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology (MCP), is an active researcher in the UAB Department of Pathology. Dr. Hildreth joined UAB in July 2019 from the Medical College of South Carolina and has since shown his dedication to the field and the Department. In 2021, he received a two-year Early Career Investigator grant from METAvivor Research and Support for his research on breast cancer and was also named a UAB Heersink Pittman Scholar. In an effort to showcase the impactful contributions of UAB Pathology researchers, Hildreth answers some questions about his areas of research and what led him to UAB.

What is your research focus?

We are interested in genetic programs in the tumor microenvironment that drive cancer progression. To date, this has largely hinged on genetically (using genetically-modified mice) and therapeutically (using microparticle drug delivery) targeting tumor-associated macrophages independent of where the tumor is located and targeting osteoclasts in bone metastasis in breast cancer. More recently, this has expanded to an interest in cancer-associated fibroblasts and renal cancer (another bone metastatic malignancy).

Written by Hannah Buckelew

On July 1, 2022, the Department of Pathology welcomes three new faculty members to the Division of Laboratory Medicine, directed by Vishnu Reddy, M.D.

Amerson Brown headshotMegan Amerson-Brown, Ph.D., CIC, MLS, joins the department as Assistant Professor from the Baylor College of Medicine, where she recently completed a Medical and Public Health Microbiology fellowship.

Amerson-Brown received her Ph.D. in Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine in 2019 from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences before working as an Infection Control Consultant in response to COVID-19 with Hospital Executive Interim Management and Consulting at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York. She has served as a Graduate Research Assistant at UTMB Galveston and as adjunct faculty, infection preventionist, and medical technologist in Microbiology at MD Anderson School of Health Professions and Cancer Center.

Elhamamsy Amr crop500x700Amr ElhamamsyAmr Elhamamsy, a cancer biology theme student in the laboratory of Rajeev Samant, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, is the recipient of a 2022 O’Neal NextGen Scholar predoctoral award.

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Written by Christina Crowe

On Saturday, June 18, the UAB Department of Pathology sponsored an inaugural departmental Education Retreat at Camp Fletcher in McCalla, Alabama. This casual, fun event welcomed trainees, faculty and staff to mingle and enjoy recreational activities in a low-key, outdoor setting.

Amid a heat wave, the weather cooperated, and participants enjoyed the pool as an escape from the sun. Under a covered pavilion, fans cooled those who chose to hang out and play games. The camp setting offered activities for everyone, including hiking, canoeing, and corn hole. A few individuals brought their own yard games, such as jumbo Jenga, kickball, and disc golf. Traditional and alternative options in a burger bar provided by Front Porch kept everyone fed and well hydrated in the summer weather.

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Written by Christina Crowe

The Department of Pathology is pleased to announce the establishment of the Stephen E. Brossette, M.D., Ph.D., Endowed Residency Program Support Fund, effective April 2022.

The fund includes an annual award, administrated by the department, with any additional funds used for professional development, travel, or other support for the residency program. Each year, the department will administer the PEARL Award to the pathology resident who demonstrates excellence in Patient care, Education, and Research within Laboratory medicine (or just ‘the Lab’). The candidate will be selected by vote among laboratory medicine (and affiliated divisions) as well as hospital laboratory supervisors, who interact with residents regularly. The criteria include demonstrating initiative, effective communication, collaboration and teamwork, patient care, research, and innovation/quality focus.

Written by Christina Crowe

The Department of Pathology is excited to announce three endowment updates for our faculty:

The endowment held by Yabing Chen, Ph.D., Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Education—a professorship—has been elevated to and is fully endowed as a chair. Dr. Chen is now the Jay M. McDonald Endowed Chair in Laboratory Medicine. The department is grateful for the ongoing support of former chair Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D., and his wife, Sarah, with the generous funding of this endowment.

Shu Chen, Ph.D., Professor, Neuropathology, is named the inaugural holder of the Ona Faye-Petersen Endowed Professorship, established in 2021, supported by the department. Dr. Chen joined the department in December 2021 from Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Pathology.

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Written by Hannah Buckelew

Michael Williams, M.D., M.S.c., Neuropathology Fellow in the UAB Department of Pathology, was featured in the American Society for Clinical Pathology's (ASCP) Critical Values magazine PRIDE in the Laboratory campaign on June 14, for his personal essay, titled, "Is there even a guidebook?"

proteogenomic streamTo facilitate gene-level queries of data from more than 10,000 cancer patient transcriptome sequences and proteomics data from 2,000 patients, researchers have developed a user-friendly cancer data analysis web platform called Jeff Hansen

A new study that analyzed protein levels in 2,002 primary tumors from 14 tissue-based cancer types identified 11 distinct molecular subtypes, providing systematic knowledge that greatly expands a searchable online database that has become a go-to platform for cancer data analysis by users worldwide.

The Pathologist Art Piece 2Breast Disease, submitted by Sameer Al Diffalha, M.D.Sameer Al Diffalha, M.D., Associate Professor, Division of Anatomic Pathology, and Caroline Stanek, M.D., PGY1, were featured in The Pathologist magazine’s “The Art of Pathology” series for their artistic microscopic image submissions. 

The series is featured online and in print to immerse readers in the " behind the slides.”

Written by Christina Crowe

On Monday, May 23, leadership from across the UAB campus came together to celebrate the election of Casey Weaver, M.D., the Wyatt and Susan Haskell Endowed Chair for Medical Excellence for his recent election to the National Academy of Sciences.

At an event held at the UAB Hilton, Ray Watts, M.D., UAB President, joined Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, dean of the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, CEO of the UAB Health System and CEO of the UAB/Ascension St. Vincent’s Alliance and others to congratulate Dr. Weaver and recognize him for 30 years of research and clinical work at UAB. 

Written by Christina Crowe

Sooryanarayana Varambally, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology, Director, Translational Oncologic Pathology Research, and his research team recently published an article in the journal Nature Communication featuring work they shared on their cancer data tool, UALCAN, "Proteogenomic characterization of 2002 human cancers reveals pan-cancer molecular subtypes and associated pathways."

UALCAN stands for University of Alabama Cancer Database, and is designed as an easy-to-use, interactive web portal to perform to in-depth analyses of TCGA gene expression data. 

Following, Dr. Varambally explains the research highlighted in the article:

"In the current study published in Nature Communication, we systematically assessed pathway-level somatic alterations (by small mutation or copy number alteration) across tumors. In this study, along with our collaborator Dr. Chad Creighton from Baylor College of Medicine, lead author, we assembled a compendium dataset of mass-spectrometry-based proteomics data from 2002 primary tumors from 14 cancer types and 17 studies. We integrated proteomic data with other omics data to examine how somatic mutation affecting a given pathway shows up at the protein level. Further, the data were provided in UALCAN for cancer researchers and clinicians across the world."

Written by Christina Crowe

Marisa Marques, M.D., Professor and Medical Director, Transfusion Medicine, attended the American Society for Apheresis annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA, May 4-6, where she received the Francis S. Morrison, M.D., Memorial Lecture Award.

The Francis S. Morrison, M.D. Memorial Lecture is an annual keynote lecture created to keep alive and honor the memory of Francis S. Morrison, MD, a true pioneer in apheresis medicine and a leading apheresis professional. The first lecture was held at the ASFA Meeting in 2002. The award is bestowed upon a member of the Society who has made major contributions to the field of apheresis medicine and an apheresis professional who has made a lasting difference in the field, preferably at the national level.

The title of Marques' talk was, "How I Used The Tools That ASFA Gave Me To Give Back." UAB Pathology Blood Bank/Transfusion Medicine fellow, Dr. Sohaila Soltani (below, group photo, on right), attended the conference. Brooke Bartow, PGY1 (below, group photo, on left), presented a poster at the conference on, "The Evolution of an Apheresis Service: A Partnership with the Blood Bank to Serve the Underserved."

 Marques at ASFA Marques at ASFA 2

Written by Christina Crowe

The UAB Department of Pathology was thrilled to gather for an outgoing reception for our residents, fellows, and trainees on May 5. Department faculty, staff, fellows, and residents came together to celebrate at B&A Warehouse, near Railroad Park adjacent to downtown Birmingham, with dinner and an awards ceremony.

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A welcome by Brandi McCleskey, M.D., Director of the Pathology Residency Program, was followed by announcements of this year’s Alpha Omega Alpha inductees: Denis Noubouossie, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Williams, M.D., Christine Pesoli, M.D., and Shuko Harada, M.D. AOA is a national honor medical society. Dr. McCleskey also recognized UAB Heersink School of Medicine graduating student, Hannah Cutshall, as the first Pathology Integrated Resident. This position is part of the unique Research and Clinical Experience for Pathology (RaCE4Path) program, which is a collaborative effort with the Physician Scientist Development Office.

IMG 0136McCleskey then acknowledged this year's outgoing chief resident for Education and Outreach, Oraine Snaith, M.D., and announced incoming chief in the same role, Geoffrey Herndon, D.O. Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Anatomic Pathology, presented a certificate to Raima Memon, M.D., outgoing AP chief resident, and announced incoming AP chief Sarah Anderson, D.O.. Vishnu Reddy, M.D., Division Director, Laboratory Medicine, presented a certificate to Denis Noubouossie, M.D., Ph.D., as Clinical Pathology outgoing chief, and recognized Sarah DePew, D.O., as incoming.

Written by: Mary Ashley Canevaro and Jeff Hansen
Media contact: Jeff Hansen

C Weaver Stream BWFor just the third time in history, a University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty member has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

Casey Weaver, M.D., professor in the UAB Department of Pathology, learned of his election this week — one of the highest and rarest honors offered to scientists in the United States.

Written by Christina Crowe

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UAB Pathology Resident Denis Nouboussie Fondjie, M.D., Ph.D., PGY3, previous chief resident, Clinical Pathology, learned recently that he scored among the highest in the nation of the Resident In-Service Examination, or RISE. Fondjie scored in the greater than 99th percentile on the Clinical Pathology component of the exam as compared to other PGY3s nationally taking the test. 

The RISE is required of all residents as an annual assessment of their medical knowledge and help them (and the program) track their progress throughout their training. This examination is a standardized way to assist trainees when preparing for their careers and future board examinations. Although it is not used to determine academic progression for individual residents, overall performance on this examination is helpful to the program when assessing the medical knowledge competency for each resident as well as the value of our curriculum. 

Fondjie will be sitting for his American Board of Pathology Clinical Pathology examination this spring, and starting a fellowship in Transfusion Medicine at University of North Carolina. Of note, Denis also had a submission accepted for this year's Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists annual meeting that has also been awarded the Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award as one of the top 20 scoring abstracts.

"Denis’s scores on this exam are truly impressive, and come as little surprise to those of us who have worked with him for the past three years at UAB Pathology," says Brandi McCleskey, M.D., Pathology Residency Training Program Director. "His professionalism, expertise, and dedication to clinical pathology are among the reasons he was selected to serve as chief resident. He has been a pleasure to have as a trainee and colleague, and we congratulate him on this achievement."