The UAB Department of Pathology is proud to announce the election of Kuruvilla George, MBA, as Southeast Regional Representative to the Pathology Department Administrators section of Association of Pathology Chairs (APC), from 2019-2021. The APC will introduce incoming representatives at its upcoming annual meeting in Boston, July 21-24. 

For the last five years, Mr. George has worked as the interim executive administrator and business administrator for the Department of Pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is responsible for Pathology Clinical Affairs including maintaining and expanding the Community Practice Pathology Program (CPPP), Pathology Information Systems and oversight of the departmental administrative staff. Mr. George facilitated the acquisition of several new clients in the CPPP program.

“We are fortunate to have Mr. George at the helm of our administrative team, and overseeing the business aspects of the Department’s clinical affairs,” says George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, UAB Pathology. “He plays a crucial role in the success of this Department, and his contributions to the APC will be noticeable.”

Prior to his time at UAHSF, Mr. George worked as a consultant. He was also the Laboratory Administrator at King Faisal Specialty Hospital & Research Center in Riyadh, the premier Hospital, in Saudi Arabia, from 2009-2013. As Laboratory Administrator, he oversaw a large, multihospital laboratory and assisted the Hospital COO with streamlining several processes like reducing Emergency Room waiting time.

Congratulations to Michael Conner, M.D., on earning emeritus status as professor, Anatomic Pathology. He has a secondary appointment in the School of Dentistry.

Dr. Conner has spent his entire career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, having earned his bachelor of science and doctorate of medicine degrees both at UAB. He diverged for a one-year pediatric internship at the University of Mississippi, before completing a residency program and then two fellowships, in hematopathology and surgical pathology, at UAB.

Conner emeritusDr. George Netto, Chair, UAB Pathology, with Dr. Michael Conner

Dr. Conner simultaneously had appointments in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, working his way up from assistant to full professor in both. He taught coursework in both departments beginning in 1991, including assisting with the residents' didactic lecture series and microscopic workshops from 1993 to present.

On Thursday, June 20, UAB welcomed 2019-20 new residents and fellows into the Pathology department with a breakfast and orientation held at the Wallace Tumor Institute. Incoming residents and fellows gathered with George Netto, M.D., pathology chair, professor and James Hackney, M.D., residency program director, associate professor, neuropathology, as well as Pathology faculty from various divisions and current residents/fellows. The 17 residents and fellows started in the department on Monday, July 1.
B 13 B 10  B 7
Residents and fellows gathered for food and introductions before Netto opened the event, welcoming inocming residents and fellows and shared information about the department. Hackney followed and gave each faculty member a chance to introduce themselves.

Four of the six division directors in the department of pathology were in attendance to welcome the new residents and fellows and help familiarize them: Davis Gregory, M.D., M.S.P.H, division director of forensic pathology, professor; Christina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Anatomic Pathology, professor; Ryan Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Neuropathology, professor; and X. Long Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Laboratory Medicine, professor.
B 12B 6B 11
In total, around 60 people were in attendance for the breakfast.

By Hannah Lester

This summer returning and new clinical pathology residents and fellows were welcomed into a newly renovated, modern workspace.

Residents and fellows now have individualized workspaces, with new lighting, computers and phones in a space with natural light and plenty of room in which to work.

In addition to the assistance of several administration and staff members who dedicated their time and effort to providing this space, individuals like Israel Ponce-Rodriguez and the IT team helped equip the new space, installing computers and other technical equipment.

20190704 174116 20190704 174137 20190704 174437

Many former and past chief clinical pathology residents were directly involved in the project. Danielle Fasciano, D.O., current CP Chief Resident, acted as an intermediary between staff and the residents to offer input, and helped relocate residents during the renovation. Former chief residents Erin Baumgartner, M.D., Clinical Pathology, and David Dorn, M.D., Anatomic Pathology helped to configure the space’s design.

Much of the planning of the space occurred during Pathology Leadership meetings where individuals like George Kuruvilla were able to provide input, financial analysis and estimates for the project.

Sandy Cummings acted as project manager for the renovation and kept everyone involved on track.

The fresh, new space is now ready for residents and fellows to enjoy; it would not have been possible without numerous helping hands.

We are excited to welcome three new faculty members as assistant professors in the Department of Pathology.

Diana Morlote, M.D., is a former UAB Pathology fellow in Hematopathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology who joins the faculty as assistant professor, Genomics Diagnostics & Bioinformatics.

Eason Hildreth, Ph.D., joins the UAB Pathology faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, coming to us from the Medical College of South Carolina.

One new faculty member joins the Division of Anatomic Pathology as assistant professor. Chirag Patel, M.D. was a UAB Pathology fellow before accepting a position as faculty.

Two longtime faculty members of the Department of Pathology retire on July 1.

Andra Frost, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, will retire after more than 20 years as a surgical, cyto-and autopsy pathologist at UAB Hospital.

Gary Simmons, M.D., Associate Professor, Anatomic Pathology, retires July 1 after working at UAB in pathology since 1988.

Tiffany Graham, M.D., recent graduate of the UAB Pathology Anatomic and Clinical Pathology residency program, is featured in an article by The Pathologist magazine this month.

Graham Tiffany

Graham is highlighted for recognition of her educational tweets, which consist of pathology related study tips, artistic renderings and memorization tools. Graham won the inaugural Educational Pathology Tweet Award, or #PathTweetAward, in 2019. She was presented with a certificate by the magazine and recognized by fellow Twitter users in the field of pathology at the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) annual meeting in March.

Graham began a Twitter account, @HeartPathology, during her residency to share what she was learning or using to memorize educational information. She built a following and was recognized with this award as one of three winners.

Following her completed residency at UAB, Graham will start a fellowship in gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina this fall.

Read the Pathologist article here.

The Department's administrative team recently added two new members to the staff. Please welcome:

Lisa Smoot transferred to the Department of Pathology on May 8where her role as Financial Officer II consists of space, equipment and post-award grants management.

lisa smoot

It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Professor Emeritus and former chair of the UAB Department of Pathology, on June 5, 2019.

Dr. McDonald left a legacy of integrity and vision in our Department, where he served as chair for nearly 20 years, and across the institution. His passing is a true loss for the field of pathology.

RS23317 Jay McDonald 12 1Jay M. McDonald, M.D.

UAB Pathology celebrated the 28th year of its Paulette Shirey Pritchett Endowed Lecture in Pathology with an outstanding lecture by Eric N. Olson, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Olson's lecture, "Understanding Muscle Development, Disease and Regeneration," took place before a full house on Wednesday, May 29, in the Margaret Cameron Spain Auditorium with the Pritchett family in attendance.

DSC 0172From left to right: Kate Pritchett, Eric Olson, M.D., and Yabing Chen, Ph.D.

This endowed lecture series is named in honor of Dr. Paulette Shirey Pritchett, and is supported by Dr. Robert Pritchett, husband of Dr. Paulette Pritchett, and family. Dr. Pritchett was a highly respected, young member of the UAB Department of Pathology when she unexpectedly passed away on August 4, 1984. She was a native Alabamian who obtained her medical degree from the University of Alabama, where she was awarded the Stewart Graves Award and the William Boyd Medal for her demonstrated excellence in pathology. 

On Tuesday, June 11, friends, family and colleagues from various departments of the School of Medicine joined Selwyn Vickers, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Medicine, to celebrate the 2019 Dean’s Excellence Awards.

Deans Excellence Award Members and FacultyLeft to right: Drs. Yabing Chen, George Netto, Vishnu Reddy and X. Long Zheng attend the Dean's Excellence Awards

The Department of Pathology had two faculty members recognized for their achievements at the awards ceremony: Yabing Chen, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Education, for mentoring, and Vishnu Reddy, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, for service, both in the senior faculty category.

012UAB Pathology2018Yabing Chen, Ph.D.

Dr. Yabing Chen is an outstanding educator and effective mentor whose work has had a positive impact on many young scientists and made a significant contribution to the missions of the School of Medicine in research, teaching and service.

Department faculty, staff, fellows and residents gathered on the evening of Thursday, May 23, in celebration of fellows, residents and trainees in the Department. The annual event 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.

Opening remarks by James Hackney, M.D., Director of the Pathology Residency Program, were followed by comments from George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair in Pathology.

This year's outgoing Chief Residents David Dorn, M.D., Anatomic Pathology, and Erin Baumgartner, M.D., Clinical Pathology, presented faculty awards. The Leonard H. Robinson Award for Resident Education in Anatomic Pathology went to Thomas Winokur, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology. The Shu T. Huang Award for Excellence in Laboratory Medicine Excellence was given to Sixto Leal, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine.

View all of the photos from the event here.

On June 3, the Department welcomed two new faculty to the Division of Anatomic Pathology, directed by Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D.

Deepti Dhall, M.D., joins the UAB Department of Pathology as Professor, Anatomic Pathology.

Paul Benson, M.D., Forensic Pathologist and Medical Examiner, joins the department as Associate Professor, Anatomic Pathology.

Dr. Deepti Dhall received her medical school education at Grant Medical College in Mumbai, India, graduating in 1994. She then completed her residency training in pathology at the same institution in Mumbai before joining a pathology residency training program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Jersey, in 2000. Dr. Dhall undertook fellowship training in Oncologic surgical pathology (2004–2005) and Gastrointestinal pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2005–2006) under the mentorship of Dr. David Klimstra, initiating her interest in gastrointestinal tumors, particularly neuroendocrine tumors.

dhall Crop

After completing her fellowship training, Dr. Dhall joined Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 2006, where she practiced as an Attending Pathologist for more than 12 years. She was promoted to Associate Professor, Cedars professorial series, in 2014.

Dr. Dhall’s area of expertise is gastrointestinal and gynecologic pathology, with research interest in neuroendocrine, gastrointestinal and pancreato-biliary tumors.

Dr. Dhall is a member of the Rodger C. Haggitt Gastrointestinal Pathology Society (GIPS), Pancreatobiliary Pathology Society (PBPS) and North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETs). She is the recipient of the “Golden Apple” teaching award, presented by the Cedars Sinai Medical Center pathology residents in 2016, and outstanding mentorship award in 2014, presented by the Department of Pathology.

Dr. Paul Benson earned his Doctor of Medicine from The Medical College of Ohio at Toledo before serving as a preliminary intern in Internal Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical System. He completed residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the University of Virginia, and is board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. After a fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia, Dr. Benson became board certified in Forensic Pathology. 


Benson taught autopsy and forensic pathology as Assistant Professor at The Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University for two years before returning to Virginia as Assistant Chief Medical Examiner for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke, where he practiced forensic pathology for six years with teaching appointments at The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia, and the Medical  College of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.  In 2014, Dr. Benson was appointed Assistant Professor in Forensic Pathology and Assistant Medical Examiner for Shelby County, Tennessee, at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis.  As Program Director of the UTHSC Forensic Pathology Fellowship, he reinstated the Forensic Pathology Fellowship in Memphis. Benson has performed approximately 4,000 autopsies and testified in state and federal courts more than 100 times as an expert witness in Forensic Pathology.  Dr. Benson’s current interests are primarily in teaching autopsy and forensic pathology.  

By Adam Pope

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Kansas Cancer Center have identified four hallmarks of cancer metastasis — when cancer has spread to different parts of the body from where it started. Metastasis is believed to be the cause of up to 90 percent of cancer deaths.

Douglas Hurst, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Pathology, and Danny Welch, Ph.D., associate director of Education at the KUCC, conducted a literature review of more than 10,000 publications on metastasis, and published their findings in Cancer Research, from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Metastasis can be very difficult to treat. Virtually any cancer type can form metastatic tumors. The most common sites for cancers to metastasize include the brain, bones, lungs and liver. Other areas include the adrenal gland, lymph nodes, skin and other organs.

By defining the unique properties of metastatic cancer cells, Hurst says, he hopes to provide a conceptual framework to accelerate the discovery of treatment strategies.

“Our attempts to identify the underlying first principles of the metastatic process hopefully provide a means for simplifying the processes that are essential for all metastases to develop,” the authors said in the review.

Hurst and Welch identified four hallmarks of metastasis:

  1. Motility and invasion
  2. Modulation of the microenvironment
  3. Plasticity
  4. Ability to colonize

Douglas Hurst WebDouglas Hurst, Ph.D.Defining the hallmarks of metastasis has been complicated by both heterogeneity among tumor cells, and the myriad interactions with other molecules and cells throughout the process, according to the authors.

Hurst and Welch say they hope that refining definitions and bringing together diverse data will identify vulnerabilities that metastasis researchers can exploit in the quest to treat cancer metastasis.

Hurst, who also serves as an associate scientist at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, explains why metastasis is hard to understand.

“Metastasis is a highly complex pathological process,” Hurst said. “Increased specificity in defining the underlying principles is important to better understand and interpret the literature to move forward in the development of therapeutic interventions.”

The Hurst lab has been funded by grants from the American Cancer Society, METAvivor Research and Support, Inc., and the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation, as well as the Department of Pathology.

In May, the American Cancer Society posted an episode of its "TheoryLab" podcast to iTunes, featuring Drs. Hurst and Welch speaking about their research. Listen here. 

Link to original story at UAB News.

Dr. George Netto, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology, had two papers published in the journal Human Pathology, and one in Modern Pathology, this spring.

The first, "Targeted Sequencing of Plasmacytoid Urothelial Carcinoma Reveals Frequent TERT Promoter Mutations," was published in the March 2019 issue, Volume 85.


Alex M. Dussaq, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded the William Boyd Medal at the School of Medicine Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 17. The Boyd Medal is given every year to the medical student whose performance in all aspects of their pathology education has been most outstanding.

Dussaq Boyd Medal 2019Peter Anderson, DVM, PhD, Professor, Pathology, with Dr. Alex Dussaq on receiving the award.

Dr. Dussaq, a native of Reno, Nevada, came to Birmingham to join the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD-PHD) at UAB. His research centered around developing innovative bioinformatics approaches to solve clinical problems. He worked in the UAB Department of Pathology Division of Genomics Diagnostics and Bioinformatics as well as studied with Christopher Willey M.D., Ph.D. from the UAB Hazelrig Salter Radiation Oncology Center. Dussaq has accepted a position in the Pathology Residency Program at Stanford University.

Two of our esteemed faculty were selected as recipients of the 2019 School of Medicine Dean's Excellence Awards.

Vishnu Reddy, M.D., Professor, Anatomic Pathology, receives the 2019 Dean's Excellence Award in Service, Senior Faculty.

008UAB Pathology2018


Yabing Chen, Ph.D., Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Education and Professor, Pathology, receives the 2019 Dean's Excellence Award in Mentorship, Senior Faculty. 

2017512020170.Yabing Chen MCP

Reddy and Chen represent two of this year's 18 award winners.

These annual honors recognize outstanding contributions made by faculty across the School of Medicine--one to a junior faculty member (instructor or assistant professor) and the other to a senior faculty member (associate or full professor)--in the areas of service, teaching, research, mentorship, and diversity enhancement.
Awardees are selected through a peer-review process facilitated by a member of the dean's leadership team.

In March, Dr. Reddy was honored with the naming of a conference room in the North Pavilion for him. 

"We are very pleased to have this recognition bestowed on two of our deserving colleagues for their years of service and mentorship to the Department and the school," said George Netto, M.D., Chair, UAB Department of Pathology. "We look forward to celebrating these individuals at an event in June with their peers and school leadership."

Congratulations are in order for three of our Department faculty recently recognized for their holding of endowed professorships, and one emeritus status.

Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Anatomic Pathology, was officially approved as the holder of the C. Bruce Alexander Endowed Professorship in Pathology by the Board of Trustees on April 12.
RS23286 Cristina Magi Galluzzi 15 scrCristina Magi Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D., Division Director, Anatomic Pathology

Anna Yemelyanova, M.D., Professor, was honored at a reception held by the School of Medicine on April 18 for her appointment as the inaugural Hazel Gore, M.D., Professorship in Gynecologic Pathology, approved by the Board of Trustees on October 18, 2018. Read more.

IMG 0682Drs. George Netto, Anna Yemelyanova, Brandi McCleskey and Greg Davis at the SOM Reception for endowed chairs and professors.

Stephen Moser, M.D., received his certificate of Professor Emeritus status from George Netto, M.D., Chair, this month. Moser retired from full-time service to the Department in February 2019. Read more.

IMG 6992Dr. George Netto with Dr. Stephen Moser

Congratulations to Marisa Marques, M.D., Professor, Laboratory Medicine, who has accepted a nomination to join the American Board of Pathology (ABPath) Test Development and Advisory Committee for Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine, beginning January 2020.

The organization explains the role as follows: "To be appointed to a TDAC means a physician is an established subject matter expert in their subspecialty field and is current on the latest advances in the continually evolving field of pathology and patient care. TDAC committee members develop and review examination questions for statistical performance and relevance to current practice. They contribute to the validity of examinations by determining the content and distribution of items on examinations (exam blueprints).  The TDACs also advise the ABPath on issues in their subspecialty area of expertise."

Since 1971, the ABPath has appointed test committees for the various areas of pathology. The committees consist of ABPath trustees, and other pathologists and physicians who are recognized experts in the various disciplines. In 2001, the role of these committees was expanded to include subject matter an advisory function for the Board.

“As TDAC members, these physicians play a critical role in the development of the exams and are entrusted with maintaining the integrity of the board-certified designation. The appointment to a TDAC indicates the physician is highly regarded in the field of pathology and exemplifies the utmost standards of care,” states Rebecca L. Johnson, M.D., CEO of the American Board of Pathology.

Marques is the first former UAB Medicine Pathology resident to be invited to be part of the ABPath. 

Marques Marisa

Jay McDonald, M.D., Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of Pathology, is a champion of the department who, with his wife Sarah, continue to generously support its mission. In 2010, Dr. and Mrs. McDonald established the Jay M. McDonald Endowed Professorship in Bone Pathobiology. Five years later, the McDonalds generously funded the Jay M. McDonald Endowed Professor in Laboratory Medicine. In late 2018, the McDonalds pledged continued support of the Laboratory Medicine Endowment to elevate it from a Professorship to a Chair.

McDonald’s academic career spanned three decades and included Directorship of the Division of Laboratory Medicine in the Departments of Pathology and Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for 10 years prior to his recruitment to UAB in 1990 to Chair the Department. He served as Chair of UAB Pathology from 1990-2008, and was Editor-in-Chief of the primary pathology research journal, The American Journal of Pathology, from 2003-2008. He directed an NIH-funded Center for Metabolic Bone Disease—one of five in the country—from 1996-2010.

“Dr. McDonald’s continued commitment to the UAB Department of Pathology illustrates his dedication to and passion for the field,” says George Netto, M.D., Chair. “In his tenure as chair, McDonald grew the department into prominence nationally, increasing faculty and research funding to make it one of the country’s top-ranked programs. The impact of his ongoing role supporting excellence in research and teaching through these endowments continues to be felt deeply by the next generation of UAB pathologists.”

RS23317 Jay McDonald 12 1Dr. Jay M. McDonald, M.D., Professor Emeritus, UAB Pathology