Yulong FuOn September 1, 2021, the Department welcomes a new faculty member to the Division of Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics, directed by Alexander “Craig” Mackinnon, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

Yulong Fu, Ph.D., joins the UAB Department of Pathology as Assistant Professor, Genomic Diagnostics and Bioinformatics. This is his first faculty position.

Lea Novak, M.D., Associate Professor, Anatomic Pathology, will retire at the end of August after 18 years in the Department of Pathology.

Novak, a native of the Czech Republic, attended Medical school at Charles University in Prague, and graduated with honors. She did a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Prague before moving to the United States. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Novak completed residencies in both Anatomic and Clinical pathology at UAB, followed by a Surgical/Renal fellowship in 2000. Her first academic appointment was a Research Assistant Professor in the UAB Department of Surgery’s Division of Transplantation, before accepting an Assistant Professorship in Pathology in 2003. In 2010, Dr. Novak was promoted to Associate Professor, and obtained tenure in 2012.
Lea Novak

Written by Hannah Weems

1500x500Every so often, an idea sparks that has the potential to make a big change. Michael Williams, M.D., M.Sc., Neuropathology Fellow in the UAB Department of Pathology, had one such idea earlier this year when he felt inspired to develop a podcast to highlight diversity in the field of pathology.

Macrophage, computer illustration.By Jeff Hansen

A form of cell communication called hedgehog signaling is vital for embryonic development in mammals. But aberrantly activated hedgehog signaling in multiple cancer types — including breast cancer — promotes tumor invasion, its spread to other organs and multi-drug resistance.

X-ray of lung with heart attackUnderstanding how reductive stress is controlled may help personalize treatment of heart failure patients, leading to better outcomes.

Last year, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers reported that reductive stress — an imbalance in the normal oxidation/reduction homeostasis — caused pathological changes associated with heart failure in a mouse model. This was a follow-up to their 2018 clinical study that about one in six heart failure patients shows reductive stress.

csm SLeal x850 6bbd31f089The past year has been one of the most challenging years medical professionals have ever navigated. This is especially true for pathologists and laboratory medicine professionals who answered the need for better, faster, and more prevalent testing amidst a sea of uncertainties. The Pathologist's 2021 Power List is an annual celebration of the great and inspirational minds that underpin the medical laboratory and honors select individuals in six different categories. 

UAB Pathology's Sixto Leal, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine, has been recognized 'Front(line) and Center' for his exceptional efforts in breakthrough COVID-19 testing.

Capture 2Alison Burkett, M.D., and Kesley Green, M.D. teaching high school students at BioBridgeWritten by Hannah Weems

Residents in the Department of Pathology are giving back to UAB by using their knowledge to teach medical, graduate, and high school students new disciplines.

Alison Burkett, M.D., PGY3, has been teaching second-year medical students since January 2020.

“Pathology is invited to participate in teaching the reproductive modules in the UAB School of Medicine curriculum,” Burkett says. In this module, she lectures alone or alongside other clinicians on topics ranging from pregnancy and infertility to pelvic masses and twinning. Dr. Burkett uses this course to teach other areas of pathology, such as blood banking, transfusion medicine, and surgical pathology.

The Department of Pathology congratulates Ona Marie Faye-Petersen, M.D., on her retirement after nearly three decades of diagnostic service, clinically-based research, and teaching in the UAB Department of Pathology.

RS8679 ona faye petersen 1Ona Faye-Petersen, M.D., Professor Emeritus

Dr. Faye-Petersen’s career at UAB began in January 1, 1992 when she joined the Department of Pathology as an assistant professor specializing in Perinatal-Pediatric Pathology. Over the next 30 years, she became a world-renowned expert in perinatal-pediatric pathology.

Lima 2Jose Lima, M.D., Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine, will serve as permanent Section Head of Clinical Chemistry, effective immediately. Dr. Lima joined UAB Pathology in January 2020 from the American Red Cross Blood Services, where he worked as Medical Director since 2010. He received his medical degree from Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1985 and later trained at UAB for a number of years as a research associate, resident, and then fellow in Transfusion Medicine.

On July 1, 2021, the Department welcomes a new faculty member to the Division of Neuropathology, directed by C. Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

Alex Feldman 1 1Alex Feldman, M.D., joins the UAB Department of Pathology as Assistant Professor, Neuropathology. This is his first faculty position. 

Dr. Feldman completed his medical school education at the UAB School of Medicine in 2012. He then completed one year as a general surgery intern at the University of Illinois at Chicago before moving back to UAB for an anatomic/clinical pathology residency in the Department of Pathology. Feldman served as AP Chief Resident in his final year at UAB before completing a Pediatric Fellowship at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He returned to Chicago to complete a Neuropathology Fellowship at Northwestern University in June 2021.

Written by: Christina Crowe
Media contact: Anna Jones

B cell and antibodies, computer illustration.Elizabeth Brown, Ph.D., has received a $3.1 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study epigenetic contribution to the excess risk of a precursor of multiple myeloma in African Americans.The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Elizabeth Brown, Ph.D., has received a $3.1 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to support her investigation of the epigenetic contribution to the risk of a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, known as MGUS, in African Americans. MGUS is a condition in which an abnormal protein formed within the bone marrow is found in the blood. MGUS is a precursor to multiple myeloma, the most common blood cancer affecting African Americans. Multiple myeloma is characterized by the prolonged accumulation and survival of antibody-producing tumor cells. The disease has a median survival rate of about five years.

James “Rob” Hackney, M.D., Associate Professor, Neuropathology and director of the UAB Pathology Residency Training Program from 2016-2020, has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2021. Hackney leaves a legacy of leadership in training residents and as a faculty member who builds up colleagues and trainees in the interest of strengthening the department as a whole.

                               James "Rob" Hackney, M.D., Associate Professor, Neuropathology

“Dr. Hackney has been a selfless leader and mentor to many in our department during his time on our faculty,” says George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, UAB Pathology. “He leaves a legacy of mentorship to our trainees as well as fellow faculty, relationships he continues to foster and I imagine will endure throughout his retirement. He will be missed, but we wish him great happiness in this next phase of his life.”

UAB Pathology celebrated the 2020-21 outgoing UAB Pathology fellowswith farewell luncheons. The Fellowship Trainee Program is sending off 14 pathologists to various positions or additional fellowships.



Kracke article 3Roy R. Kracke Clinical Services Building circa ince its initiation, the UAB School of Medicine has committed to continual growth of research, patient care, and education. Central to this growth is state-of-the-art facilities that serve the needs of educators, students, trainees, researchers, and physicians.

To support the advancement of the School of Medicine as a national leader of excellence, several facilities on campus are undergoing renovation or remodeling.

University of Alabama at Birmingham HospitalHealthcare worker preparing COVID-19 vaccine.Hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 continue to decrease because of vaccinations, but we still need more people vaccinated.
(Photo by: Andrea Mabry)
 medical staff is caring for eight COVID-positive inpatients today — the fewest since March 22, 2020, when staff were caring for six patients. At its highest point, on Jan. 3, 2021, UAB’s medical staff was caring for 215 COVID-positive inpatients. Doctors say the reason things have improved recently is vaccines — but we need more people vaccinated to not continue to see spikes, hospitalizations and deaths, experts say. 

As part of the School of Medicine's recognition of Pride Month this June, in which we are showcasing the exceptional voices, programs, initiatives, patient care, and research committed to the well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, the UAB Pathology team is proud to have one of our members share her personal experience.

Cheryl Moore, HR Administrator in the JNWB Administrative offices of UAB Pathology, tells her story in her own voice. Cheryl has been with UAB Pathology for four years and serves on the department's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Cheryl Moore 2021 2 

In Her Words:

My name is Cheryl Moore and I identify as a lesbian, happily married to my wife Michelle. We have been together for nearly 10 years and were married in 2016, one year after the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling for all states to recognize same-sex marriages.

One full year after missing the opportunity to gather in person for a outgoing reception for our residents, fellows and trainees, on June 3, department faculty, staff, fellows and residents came together to celebrate. The annual event, excepting 2020 due to COVID19, was held at B&A Warehouse, near Railroad Park adjacent to downtown Birmingham, from 6 to 8 p.m., where attendees enjoyed dinner and an awards ceremony.

A welcome by Brandi McCleskey, M.D., Director of the Pathology Residency Program, was followed by opening remarks from George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair in Pathology. McCleksey gave a touching tribute to outgoing residency program director James Hackney, M.D., Associate Professor, Neuropathology, in recognition of his years of service in that role. Hackney will retire at the end of June, 2021.

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All trainees pictured above have been fully vaccinated.

This year's outgoing Chief Residents Christine Pesoli, M.D., Anatomic Pathology, and Benjamin Daggett, M.D., Clinical Pathology, presented faculty awards. Leonard H. Robinson Award for Resident Education in Anatomic Pathology went to Deepti Dhall, M.D., Professor and Associate Director, Anatomic Pathology. The Shu T. Huang Award for Excellence in Laboratory Medicine Excellence was given to Chad Siniard, M.D., Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine.

Ona Faye-Petersen, M.D., Professor Emeritus, Anatomic Pathology, presented the Outstanding Trainee Teaching Award for Multidisciplinary & Medical Student Education to residents Ali Burkett, M.D., and Rich Godby, M.D. The Roy D. Kracke Award for Best Presentation in Anatomic Pathology Seminar Series was presented by Chirag Patel, M.D., Assistant Professor, Anatomic Pathology, to Raima Memon, M.D.

View all of the photos from the event here.

featured discovery

Written by 
Maynard squareCraig Maynard, Ph.D.Craig Maynard, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pathology, is the latest winner of the School of Medicine’s Featured Discovery. This initiative celebrates important research from School of Medicine faculty members.

Maynard and his team were recently published in PNAS for their study “ICOS ligand and IL-10 synergize to promote host–microbiota mutualism.”

In the study, Maynard and his team, including first author Ashley Landuyt, Ph.D., former student in the Immunology Theme of the Graduate Biomedical Science (GBS) program, compared normal mice with mice devoid of the T cell co-stimulatory protein ICOSL, to help determine the role of this protein in the regulation of immune responses in the intestine.

Gene Siegal, M.D., Ph.D., UAB Distinguished Professor, Robert W. Mowry Endowed Professor and Executive Vice Chair, Department of Pathology, has been elected vice president of the International Society of Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology. He will automatically ascend to the presidency of the organization in two years.

In April 2021, Siegal was appointed Distinguished Professor by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, the first such honor for a pathologist at UAB.

“I am highly moved that my colleagues around the world have honored me in this way with this opportunity to further serve them at this time in my life," Siegal said.

Mahler LilySooryanarayana Varambally, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology, was presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Society of American Asian Scientists in Cancer Research (SAASCR) at this year's American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, held virtually in  May 17-21.

Varambally is Director of Integrative Translational Oncologic Pathology research and Co-director of the Graduate Biomedical Sciences program in Cancer Biology, and a scientist with the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Informatics Institute, and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. The award recognizes, "his seminal contributions to the field of cancer research."

The Society of American Asian Scientists in Cancer Research is a nonprofit organization of more than 5,000 scientists from Asia who are working in the U.S. and Canada in the field of cancer research.