Baalwa Picture 2

The UAB Department of Pathology recently welcomed a new faculty member to the Division of Anatomic Pathology, directed by Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, M.D., Ph.D. Joshua Baalwa, M.D., Ph.D., joins the Department as an Assistant Professor in our Community Pathology Practice Program, coming to UAB from the Lyndon Baines Johnson General Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he served as medical director of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory.

This is not Dr. Baalwa’s first experience as a Blazer: He spent six years completing a Ph.D. in the UAB Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, earning it in 2012. In 2013 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Department of Medicine before moving to complete a residency with the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine. Baalwa continued his time at Baylor from 2017 to 2018 by securing a Surgical Pathology Fellowship.

Following the completion of his fellowship at Baylor, Dr. Baalwa accepted a fellowship in hematopathology with the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Baalwa has recently received multiple awards in his field for both teaching and in clinical pathology administration and leadership. In 2021, he received the UTHealth McGovern Medical School Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award, and in 2022 he received a Top Doctors peer recognition award for excellence in clinical pathology for the Houston area. Prior to coming to UAB, he also served on the medical school admissions committee for the UTHealth McGovern Medical School.

In addition to his medical work, Dr. Baalwa has participated in community projects for his home country of Uganda, where he worked as senior house officer, Department of Internal Medicine, at the Mulago National Referral Hospital from 2001 to 2004, and as registrar until 2006. From delivering medication donations to the construction of sanitary facilities, Baalwa has demonstrated his dedication to giving back to his country through the volunteer work he has done in the community there. He was also a regular volunteer with the Houston FoodBank.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Joshua Baalwa back to the UAB Department of Pathology, as a member of our faculty.

img_8320.jpgApril 14 is the 10th annual Pathologists’ Assistant (PA) Day, a day of appreciation led by the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants. PAs are often responsible for the efficient and effective operation of the anatomic pathology service and play a critical role in the delivery of healthcare services in both surgical pathology and autopsy.

Today we are celebrating our five hardworking PAs, Matt Lurken, Joe Begany, Audrey Alexander Garcia, Christine Pasion, Taylor Dubose-Harris, and our PA students, Lauren Wheelock and Sidney Bushman with a celebratory luncheon alongside UAB Pathology trainees.

By Jacob Taylor

Adam Wende, Ph.D., associate professor of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, is a recipient of this year’s 2023 Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship.

The Dean's Excellence in Mentorship Award recognizes full-time regular UAB faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments as mentors of graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows.

Wende joined the Department of Pathology in 2013 as an assistant professor. As a researcher, he has explored the regulation of metabolism and mitochondrial function with a specific focus on glucose utilization in heart and muscle. He is well-respected by his peers and his dedication to his students is evident in his support of their work and academic advancement and achievements. Mentoring has always been a part of his career.

gradDr. Adam Wende with some of his many trainees (left) and with Graduate School Dean Dr. Shadi Martin (right). (Photos courtesy the Graduate School.) Grad Deans Mentor Award

“Mentorship is one of the most important themes in my career, both the mentors I’ve had and the mentor I want to be,” he says. “I have tried to mold myself into someone who provides his trainees with the guidance they need while providing the freedom to discover themselves.”

Gene Siegal, M.D., Ph.D., UAB Distinguished Professor and Robert W. Mowry Endowed Professor and Executive Vice Chair, Department of Pathology, has been elected president of the International Society of Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology (ISBSTP). Siegal was installed as president at the companion meeting of the society during the 2023 USCAP Annual Meeting.

Siegal was previously elected as vice-president of the ISBSTP in June 2021.

RS19133 Gene Siegal 3 scr

The ISBSTP is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 in order to: 

Netto_Layman_Headshot.jpgphoto by Nik Laymanby Hannah Buckelew

After seven impactful years of leadership, George Netto, M.D., Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair, will be stepping down from his role in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine Department of Pathology to join the University of Pennsylvania as chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, effective July 31, 2023.

FrcL6fCWAA0u9Gv.jpgby Hannah Buckelew

The UAB Department of Pathology is pleased to announce the successful completion of this year's residency match program where we filled all six of our open positions for 2023-24. Please join us in welcoming the following individuals to our team: 

Ana Arcia Franchini, M.D.
Nicaragua
Universidad Americana (UAM) Facultad de Medicina

FrcgApLXwAEJHkf.jpgby Hannah Buckelew

The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) hosted its 112th annual meeting March 11-16, 2023 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, where members of UAB Pathology represented the department in full force to present various topics of research. This year's meeting was held both in-person and online.

Fomani_photo.jpegby Jacob Taylor

On April 1, 2023, the Department of Pathology welcomes a new faculty member to the Division of Laboratory Medicine, directed by Vishnu Reddy, M.D.

Katayoun Fomani, M.D., joins the Department as Associate Professor, Laboratory Medicine, from the Long Island Jewish Medical Center where she served as an Attending Physician and the Medical Director of the Blood Bank.

by Christina Crowe 

In this series, we spotlight several researchers in the Department of Pathology who hold endowed professorships and, in one case, a chair. We recognize each of these individuals for his or her dedication to and innovation in their respective fields of study.

The next individual we focus on in our series of researchers holding endowments is Shu Chen, Ph.D. Dr. Chen is a Professor in the Division of Neuropathology at UAB Pathology, holding joint faculty appointments in Neurobiology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. He is a senior scientist with UAB’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and the Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics.

It may not be commonly known that the only definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is through autopsy of the deceased patient’s brain. As our population increasingly ages the incidence of these diseases is on the rise, and early diagnosis is key to improving treatments. At UAB, Shu Chen, Ph.D., is working to create tools that will aid in those diagnoses.

Chen joined the Department of Pathology at UAB in December 2021 as a professor in the Division of Neuropathology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was a professor and served as the associate director of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center from 2003 to 2008.

Shu Chen Endowment pic with Dr. Netto

img_5956.jpgDr. Andrew Baker, Chief Medical Examiner, and Brissie Lecturer, and Dr. Greg Davis, Division Director, UAB Division of Forensic Pathologyby Hannah Buckelew

This year's seventh annual Robert M. Brissie Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the UAB Department of Pathology and Alabama Eye Bank, featured Andrew Baker, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner of Hennepin, Dakota, and Scott counties, Minnesota. Baker's lecture, "The Radiographic, Gross, and Microscopic Evaluation of Fractures in the Deceased Infant and Child," took place Thursday, March 23 in the West Pavilion Conference Center and via Zoom.

22 Service Awards CollageOn March 21 several of our colleagues will be recognized for their years of service working at UAB and the Department of Pathology.

The UAB Service Awards proudly honors those employees who have made a significant career commitment to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The program is designed to recognize and express appreciation to employees at each five-year milestone who have completed five or more years of service to UAB. More than 1,200 UAB employees will be honored at the annual service awards and those with more than 20 years of service will be honored by the university at a reception on March 21 in the Hill Student Center. The Department's 2023 Service Award Recipients with 20 or more years of service are:

Vishnu VB. Reddy, M.D. - 30 years of service. Reddy is a Division Director, Laboratory Medicine who recently earned the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2022.

Casey Weaver, M.D. - 30 years of service. From his pathology residency at Washington University in St. Louis, to his election to the National Academy of Sciences in spring of 2023, Weaver has continued to uphold the highest standards in the field of Pathology. He is one of only three UAB faculty to ever be elected to the NAS.

Volume 4 Issue 1

We are delighted to announce the publication of our latest annual volume of Pathology in Focus. 

Each year, the magazine allows for a chance to highlight our accolades. This year, we highlight the recent accomplishments of Casey Weaver, M.D., Wyatt and Susan Haskell Endowed Chair for Medical Excellence, including his election into the National Academy of Sciences. Our content continues to cover recent clinical, educational and research activities, alongside awards and accolades within the UAB Department of Pathology. Our cover features Dr. Casey Weaver in a photo taken by Andrea Mabry.

Weaver_story_photo_1.PNGby Christina Crowe

Casey Weaver, M.D., is not an easy man to track down for an interview. Mired in his work, he is often in the lab, or writing- grant applications, journal articles, textbooks. Weaver is a renal pathologist, but not many people know him for that work. Most are familiar with Weaver for his work in immunology- as one of the world's leading experts in that field. 

This spring, Weaver was elected to the National Academy of Sciences- one of only three UAB faculty to ever earn this distinction, and the second immunologist. Weaver is modest about his successes, and credits his team of dedicated colleagues and mentees.

IMG 9665The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) hosts its annual meeting in person and virtually this year, March 11-16, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Three researchers in the UAB Department of Pathology will receive research grants in the latest round of funding from the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA).

Lalita Samant Square

Lalita Shevde-Samant, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, is awarded a $100,000 grant from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, an organization in partnership with the O’Neal CCC working to raise funds to support cancer research in the state of Alabama. Her research project is titled, “A Novel Clinically Actionable Approach to Disable Resurgence Metastasis if Triple-Negative Breast Cancer,” aimed at testing a new approach to inhibit the mechanisms by which cancer cells survive cytotoxic chemotherapy with the goal of killing the tumor cells and reducing metastasis.

Shuko Harada, M.D., Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Pathology, has been named to the Association of Pathology Chairs DEI Faculty Leaders Network.

ShukoHarada

The Association of Pathology Chairs is a non-profit society serving academic departments of pathology in the U.S. and Canada. The network was formed to unite the designated DEI representatives from the nation’s academic pathology departments, with the purpose of developing and providing shared educational resources.

“Being a part of this Leaders Network is very exciting, as we will have opportunities to share our experiences across departments,” Harada says. “Because pathology is one of the most diverse specialties in medicine, it is important to promote an inclusive and respectful environment together.”

Harada was appointed as the Inaugural Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on October 1, 2021. In her role she leads the department’s Diversity Task Force.

“Our first virtual meeting will be scheduled in March, and I am hoping to connect with DEI leadership from other institutions and share information,” Harada says.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Harada on her addition to the Association of Pathology Chairs DEI Faculty Leaders Network.

Pilot_Grant.pngThe Department of Pathology is excited to announce the award of department-funded Pilot/Feasibility Clinical Research grants to eight of our faculty for 2023. They are:

2023 Clinical Research Pilot Grant Awardees and grant titles:

Sameer Al Diffalha, M.D., Associate Professor, Anatomic Pathology - Differential gene expression to delineate racial disparity as a risk factor of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC).Co investigators: Darshan Chandraskehakar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Genomic Diagnostics & Bioinformatics; Prachi Bajpa

The UAB Department of Pathology is excited to announce our Chief Residents for the 2023-24 year and thank our 2022-23 Chiefs.

We would like to acknowledge the superb example that our 2022-23 Chiefs Drs. Sarah Anderson, Sarah Depew and Geoffrey Herndon have set over the past year. They excelled in their leadership positions, and we thank them all for a job well done.

Our 2024 Chief Residents, effective Tuesday, February 1, 2023, are:

Brooke Bartow, M.D. – Chief Resident of Anatomic Pathology

Bartow Brooke

Dr. Bartow is currently completing her PGY2 AP/CP residency year, and is a graduate of E. Tennessee State University College of Medicine. She plans on pursuing a fellowship in dermapathology and will be applying in the summer.

"It is an honor and privilege to serve as the AP chief resident.  I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to represent, advocate, and support my fellow co-residents. I'm excited to work with the other chief residents and program leadership to continue advancing the quality and reputation of our strong residency program. "

Michael Robinson, D.O. – Chief Resident, Education and Outreach

Robinson Michael

Dr. Robinson is currently completing his PGY2 AP/CP residency year, and is a graduate of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri. He plans on applying to fellowship positions in the coming months, most likely with surgical pathology.

“I am humbled and honored to serve as chief resident. I hope to adequately fill the shoes of my predecessors and lead by their exampl

Jacob Havens, D.O. – Chief Resident of Clinical Pathology

Havens Jacob 

by Christina Crowe

 

In this series, we spotlight several researchers in the Department of Pathology who hold endowed professorships and, in one case, a chair. We recognize each of these individuals for his or her dedication to and innovation in their respective fields of study.

The third individual we showcase is a longstanding member of our research faculty, Elizabeth E. Brown, PhD, MPH, second holder of the Endowed Professorship in Cancer Pathobiology, in the Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology.

IMG 0157 1Elizabeth Brown,Ph.D., with Robert and Ruth Anderson Endowed Chair George Netto, M.D.


Elizabeth E. Brown, Ph.D, MPH,
was already accomplished before completing her graduate training and accepting her first faculty appointment at UAB in 2006. Brown was instrumental in obtaining National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation of the Oregon Cancer Center (OCC) by establishing Center infrastructure to support the clinical research domain. It was this leadership experience, centered on promoting the translation of science across a wide spectrum of epidemiologists, clinicians, basic scientists, administrators and community stakeholders, that ignited her passion for immuno-epidemiology.

This year, the Department of Pathology is proud to announce we have two faculty receipients for the Argus Awards, presented by the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine.

Created in 1996, the Argus Awards give medical students the chance to honor their mentors, professors, courses, and course directors for outstanding service to medical education. Faculty members are nominated by course evaluations, and students vote to select award winners in each category. The Department of Medical Education and the Argus Society announced this year's winners at a ceremony on Friday, January 6, 2023.

Congratulations to the following UAB Pathology faculty awardees:

Best MS1 Course: Cardiovascular