On Friday, June 6, several of our Department's faculty were awarded by the UAB Health Services Foundation for their decades of clinical service at the Physician Service Awards event.
Presented by Tony Jones, M.D., COO, Chief Physician Executive; Patricia Pritchett, Executive Vice President; and Billy Connelley, Senior Associate Vice President of Ambulatory Services and held at the Kirklin Clinic, the event had a lighthearted tone as each award recipient was introduced with a witty description of their career at UAB.

 The Department's awardees are as follows:

Pat Bucy, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Laboratory Medicine--celebrating 30 years
Dr. Tony Jones Dr. Ralph Bucy

It was a lovely evening for a reception on Thursday, May 24, at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa as the Department celebrated its outgoing residents and fellows with a dinner and awards at the 2018 Outgoing Reception.

Host James Hackney, M.D., Director of the Pathology Residency Programs, emceed the event which included refreshments and dinner, followed by comments from Chair George Netto, M.D., and the presentation of awards.

Netto 2George Netto, M.D., Chair of the Department of Pathology, welcomes guests at the Residents and Fellows Outgoing Reception

Two faculty awards came first. Alexander Feldman, M.D., Chief Resident in Anatomic Pathology, presented Frida Rosenblum, M.D., Assistant Professor in Cytopathology, with the Leonard H. Robinson Award for Resident Education in Anatomic Pathology.
Joseph Drwiega, M.D., Clinical Pathology Chief Resident, presented Lawrence Williams, M.D., Associate Professor, Laboratory Medicine with the Shu T. Huang Award for Excellence in Laboratory Medicine Education. These were followed by the presentation of resident awards.

For the past two years, the research lab of X. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Laboratory Medicine, UAB Department of Pathology, has hosted an annual Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) Fair and Education Day. The event brings together physicians and researchers working to improve the available treatments, outcomes, and recovery times for the disease, with patients and community members affected by TTP.

TTP is a rare blood disorder in which blood clots form in small blood vessels throughout the body. The clots can limit or block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body's organs, such as the brain, kidneys, and heart. As a result, serious health problems can develop.

This year’s TTP Fair and Education Day took place Saturday, June 9, in the Shelby Biomedical Research Building.

This spring the Department launched its inaugural Pilot Grant Awards Program to support clinical and translational research. The program, spearheaded by Rakesh Patel, Ph.D., interim vice chair for research and Professor, Molecular & Cellular Pathology, was inspired in part by feedback provided at an annual department-wide faculty retreat.

The request for proposals was announced in December 2017, with a proposal deadline of February 15, 2018, and requests for full applications announced on March 15.

The American Society for Matrix Biology (ASMB) holds its biennial meeting October 14-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Joanne Murphy-Ullrich, Ph.D., Professor, UAB Department of Pathology in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology as President of ASMB is involved in the programming and organization of this meeting. In addition to Plenary and Concurrent Platform Sessions and Poster Sessions, the ASMB meeting also supports Special Interest Sessions led by students and trainees. Shyram Bandari, post-doctoral fellow of MCP Division Director, Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D., will be organizing and leading a trainee-led session at the meeting on “Extracellular vesicles: the next SMALL thing.” 

“This is a unique opportunity for students and postdocs to gain leadership experience in organizing and chairing scientific sessions and to gain exposure for their scientific specialty,” says Murphy-Ullrich. At the 2016 ASMB meeting, Kurt Zimmerman, a past UAB Pathology graduate student, chaired one of the trainee sessions. In addition, there are two mentoring breakfasts focused on career development and issues pertaining to women scientists.

American Society for Matrix Biology

Murphy-Ullrich serves as 2017-18 president of this international organization dedicated to promoting basic, translational, and clinical research on the extracellular matrix (ECM), cell-ECM interactions, and ECM-based therapies and devices, and to support the growth and professional development of the ECM research community. She previously served as Secretary/Treasurer and as President-elect 2015-16 and as Chair of the 2016 ASMB meeting in St. Petersburg, FL. She will chair the ASMB-sponsored workshop at the upcoming Matrix Biology Europe 2018 Conference in Manchester, UK, in July.

“We hope the meeting will attract attendees not only from ASMB and related matrix-centric societies, but also from related disciplines,” she says. Extracellular matrix is critical for development and plays major roles in directing stem cell differentiation, normal and dysfunction tissue remodeling in wound healing, fibrosis, aging, and in cancer, and it is emerging as a significant factor in immunity and inflammation and regenerative medicine.

Integrating molecular diagnostics into patient care to truly personalize medicine is key to the future of successful medicine, in particular cancer care.

That was the message delivered by Reinhard Büttner, M.D., Professor and Chair, Pathology, at the University Hospital in Cologne, Germany, when he gave a lecture as part of the joint Surgery-Biomedical Engineering-Pathology seminar series, on Tuesday, May 22. Buttner is an authority on the genomics of lung cancer and targeted therapy.

Two of the Department of Pathology Faculty members are recipients of the 2018 School of Medicine Dean's Excellence Awards: Marisa Marques, M.D., Professor, Laboratory Medicine who won the Senior Excellence in Teaching Award, and Adam Wende, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Molecular & Cellular Pathology, with the Junior Excellence in Research Award.  

 Fifteen outstanding faculty members were named recipients of the 2018 Dean’s Excellence Awards, an honor recognizing exceptional contributions made by School of Medicine faculty in service, teaching, research, diversity enhancement and mentorship.

The 13th Annual Department of Pathology Trainee Research Day took place on Wednesday, May 2, in the Hill University Center on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

IMG 0002  IMG 0003
The event is run by a committee of trainees who assist in its planning and execution, which this year included:
Manoja Brahma, Gobinath Shanmugam, Ann Hanna, Dominque Hinshaw, Tshering Lama-Sherpa, Ashish Kurundkar, Jianhua Zhang, Lijia Yu, Shyam Bandari, and Joo Lee and Helen Collins, who also served as event emcees. The event is organized by Rajeev Samant, Ph.D., Professor, Pathology, with support from the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology administrative staff Cindy Brown and Kathy Coleman.

This exciting event featured:


  • Morning and afternoon poster sessions
  • Oral presentations by Department trainees
  • A Data Blitz of six five-minute presentations
  • Keynote Speaker Laurie Harrington, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology, on "My Life with T Cells"

Funding Opportunity Request for Applications

Grant proposals to the General Endowment Fund (GEF) of the UAHSF are now welcome. 

The HSF-GEF grants are intended to enhance the infrastructure of Academic Health Center’s Patient-Oriented and Laboratory Research efforts, Clinical Care Program Development, and Medical Education Initiatives and for university-wide projects by providing funding from the Health Services Foundation’s General Endowment Fund.

Funding Opportunity Request for Applications

The UAB School of Medicine invites applications for seed funding to move a one-R01 investigator to a two-R01 investigator. The PI of the application must have a primary appointment in a department within the School of Medicine and a record of substantial accomplishment in the subject area. One of the criteria for eligibility is having a currently funded R01 that has two years remaining in its current funding cycle. Intents to submit must be submitted online via the SOM research funding website.

The Department of Pathology was proud to welcome visiting faculty from the University of Zagreb and the University Clinical Hospital in Zagreb, Croatia in April. The visit was part of a reciprocal exchange initiated by Department Chair Dr. George Netto, who visited the university in Eastern Europe in winter 2017.Visiting Faculty From Croatia From left to right: Sooryanarayana Varambally, Ph.D.; Monika Ulamec, M.D., Ph.D.; George Netto, M.D.; Nino Sincic, M.D., Ph.D., Selvarangan Ponnahazan, Ph.D.

The visitors included Monika Ulamec, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology, Clinical Department of Pathology & Cytology at the University Clinical Hospital; Ana Katusic Bojanac, Ph.D., and Nino Sincic ,MD., Ph.D., both assistant professors in the Department of Biology, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb.

The Multiple Myeloma Clinic at UAB, supported by a robust research team made up largely of Department faculty, celebrated its fifth anniversary in March. 

Five faculty in the Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology, professors Elizabeth Brown, Ph.D., MPH, Joanne Murphy-Ullrich, Ph.D., and Selvarangan Ponnazhagan, Ph.D., associate professor Yang Yang, M.D., Ph.D., and division director Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D., serve as investigators on the clinic's research team.

Since its opening in 2013, the clinic has seen a three-fold increase in the number of patients receiving treatment at UAB, and is currently running eight clinical trials.

A review on Histone methyltransferase EZH2 in ovarian cancer by Soory Varambally, Ph.D., Director, Integrative Translational Oncologic Pathology Research and Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, is the editors' pick in the March issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, an American Association for Cancer Research journal.


The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) held its annual meeting March 17-23, 2018, in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Department of Pathology had a robust representation at this important event.

Several members of our faculty and staff attended the conference, representing the Department at platform presentations, posters, and a Fellowship Fair to promote our programs.

Additionally, Drs. George Netto and Anna Yemelyanova taught a special course, "Molecular Diagnostic and Genomic Applications in Cancer: A Primer for the Pathologist." You can access the full conference program here. View a conference recap video on the USCAP website.

Match Day 2018 was held around the country on Friday, March 16, with UAB's Match Day Ceremony taking place at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. Read more about UAB Match Day via UAB News.

The Department is thrilled to announce matches for each of our eight open slots. The students who will be joining us as the class of 2022 are:

Illustration by Andreas Samuelsson, courtesy New York Times Magazine


Former UAB Pathology hematopathology resident Forest Huls, M.D., was highlighted in a recent article in The New York Times Magazine, "Her Various Symptoms Seemed Unrelated. Then One Doctor Put It All Together." The piece highlighted the diagnosis by Huls and then-Internal Medicine resident Jori May, M.D. of a patient’s disease that had confounded physicians for years.

From the article: "It was part of May’s weekly routine to check the patient’s chart for any new consultant notes or test results. One afternoon she was surprised to see an 11-page note from a pathology resident who, as far as she knew, was not involved in the case. It was a meticulous summary of all the patient’s symptoms as well as the many tests performed so far. He went on to suggest that she had a disease May had never heard of — Schnitzler syndrome. It was, as the resident described it, a rare and poorly understood immune disorder."

RS photo webpage 2018Please join me in welcoming Dr. Ralph Sanderson in his new role as a Director of The Division of Molecular Cellular Pathology (MCP) in our department effective February 15th, 2018.

UAB's Department of Pathology is thrilled to announce three new faculty members will be joining the team. Dr. Wenjing (Wency) Cao will join the pathology faculty beginning August 1, 2017, and Drs. Virginia Duncan and Jessica Tracht will be joining July 1, 2018.