Welcome to the website of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine. We invite you to explore our website and to learn more about our commitment to research, patient care, and training in pathology and laboratory medicine.
The Department congratulates Dr. Chiung-Kuei Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology, for being awarded a R21 two-year grant for $401,267 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. His project titled “Aspartate beta-hydroxylase and DNA damage in chronic liver diseases” starts on May 1, 2023, where his research focus will be to determine the underlying mechanisms contributing to alcoholic liver disease (ALD) development and progression.
The Department congratulates Dr. Shengmin Yan, Ph.D., Instructor of Pathology for being awarded a 2023 Pinnacle Research Award in Liver Diseases from the AASLD Foundation. The award of $300,000 will be provided over three (3) years ($100,000 per year). The Pinnacle Research Award in Liver Diseases is intended to develop the potential of outstanding early career scientists and encourage research in liver physiology and disease. Dr. Yan’s award with the project title of “Roles and mechanisms of cholestasis in alcohol-associated hepatitis” will start on July 1, 2023.
Congratulations, again, to Dr. Zhen Lin M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pathology, who has been awarded another Ladies Leukemia League, Inc. one-year grant for $35,000 to help support their leukemia and lymphoma research projects. Dr. Lin’s grant titled “Development of a novel targeted therapeutic strategy for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated lymphoma” starts on June 1, 2023.
Roberto Diaz del Valle, Research Grant Specialist for the Department of Pathology, was recently recognized by Dean Lee Hamm for outstanding community service. In response to a joint letter written by Drs. Michelle Sanchez and Annette Oertling, leaders of the Greater New Orleans Science Fair, Inc. detailing his service, Dean Hamm stated:
“Thank you for your note alerting me to this great service by Roberto. Our great colleagues like Roberto are Tulane's best assets. Brings honor to Tulane.”
In their glowing appreciation of his service, Drs. Sanchez and Oertling stated that Diaz del Valle’s long-time service to the youth of our area through the annual Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair endured for the past 17 years as he served in the capacity of official Award Ceremony Emcee. They praised the effective structure and entertainment that he provides, treating every winner with the same enthusiasm and respect, assuring that they and their parents feel the pride in their accomplishment. Further accolades included his treatment of each winner. By displaying personal interest in each of their projects, the claimed, he positively impacts the students’ view of the reception of their science and engineering efforts.
Drs. Sanchez and Oertling also described his service on the advisory board of the organization for many years prior to Katrina when it was based at UNO, and outlined the mission of the organization. They stated: “The mission of the Greater New Orleans Science & Engineering Fair, currently held every February at Tulane University, is to encourage independent student research in science and engineering and to encourage youth to pursue science, math, or engineering careers. It is through the dedication and commitment of people like Roberto Diaz del Valle that this mission is successfully accomplished, providing education and inspiration for our area students and a future workforce for science and engineering. “
Click here to learn more about Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair
Joining the Pathology department for the next academic year 2023-2024 will be:
The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine welcomes Dr. Matthew Hurford as its newest faculty member, on February 1, 2023. Appointed at the rank of Clinical Associate Professor, Dr. Hurford is a well-established hematopathologist. Dr. Hurford has served as Chief of Hematopathology at Maimonides Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital in the New York and Brooklyn areas, and at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. He likewise served as the Medical Director of Hematology and Coagulation Laboratories at all three facilities. Dr. Hurford has published a number of book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. We welcome him to the Department where his expertise in hematopathology will contribute to both patient care and the education of students and residents.
The Michael A. Gerber Prize for Pathology Research at the Tulane Research, Innovation and Creativity Summit winners held on March 1 – 2, 2023 are:
Nikol Wahby – Dr. Khambu’l Lab
Wenbo Ma, PhD – Dr. Wu’s lab.
Congratulations to Patricia Snarski, Dr. Savkovic's Post-Doc, who has been selected for a 2022-2023 Mistletoe Research Fellowship. Patricia was selected as one of the 32 fellows out of 430 candidates.
The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine welcomes Dr. Xiaojiang Xu, PhD to join our Department. Dr. Xu is appointed as Associate Professor on tenure track, starting on Sept 1, 2022. Dr. Xu is a well-established investigator with an expertise in genomics analysis using bioinformatics and experimental approaches. Before joining Tulane University, he was the Senior Bioinformatics Scientist at NIEHS, where he led a team to build pipelines for analysis of extra high-throughput single-cell RNA-sequencing data in more than 30 projects with excellent publications in leading journals. We look forward to his continuous success at Tulane in the coming years.
Dr. Shams Halat, Director of Surgical Pathology, has been named one of the Top Doctors in New Orleans by New Orleans Magazine. It is an annual tradition for New Orleans Magazine to publish this list that recognizes area physicians for excellence in the practice of medicine. The survey is conducted by Castle Connolly, a national healthcare research company, and their physician-led team employs a rigorous nation-wide screening process to select the top doctors.
Dr. Matthew Stark, a pediatric pathologist at Children’s Hospital and an adjunct faculty of the Department, was also named for this honor. It should be noted that Drs. Halat and Stark were the only two area pathologists selected as top in their field.
The Department congratulates Dr. Erik Flemington for winning two new R01 award from National Cancer Institute, which starts on April 1st and July 1st, respectively. Dr. Flemington is also the PI for another R01, and a PI of a P01, which started this February. Dr. Flemington’s research focuses on the transcriptional regulation of EBV and its interaction with the host.
Zhen Lin MD, PhD, Associate Professor from Pathology, shared a Ladies Leukemia League (LLL) grant, with two other Cancer Center researchers, Hua Lu, MD, PhD and Matthew Burow, PhD. Each investigator was awarded $35,000 to help support their leukemia and lymphoma research projects.
Founded in 1969, the LLL is a volunteer organization of 225 women who have dedicated themselves to raising funds for leukemia and lymphoma research in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Since their founding, they have raised over $4.1 million, which they have distributed as "pilot" or "seed" money to research scientists working in leukemia and lymphoma research, or related fields.
In this LLL-funded project, Dr. Lin will evaluate a novel EBV-targeting strategy that simultaneously induces a latent form of the virus and then exposes it to an anti-viral drug to eliminate EBVaL in both cell and animal models. If successful, the findings will provide important preclinical insight into the implementation of this novel therapeutic strategy and its possible benefits for patients suffering from this deadly disease.
Congratulations to Dr. Craig for winning 2022 School of Medicine's Auxiliary Teaching Award. Dr. Craig will use the award to support innovative medical teaching to bring the discipline of pathology to the close attention of medical students. This could bring more medical students to seriously consider practicing pathology as their clinical career, which has been diminishing in recent years. Dr. Craig will offer the opportunity to a selected group of medical students to work closely with him to observe how pathology is practiced and what the pathology impact is on patient care.
The Pathologists' Assistant (PA) Program has been awarded 5 years initial accreditation by NAACLS. This is the longest length of time a new program can be awarded for initial accreditation and no citations were noted which is rare. The first cohort of PA graduation rate is 100% and is 100% board exam pass rate per NAACLS standards. Eight of nine of the first cohort graduates have taken their ASCP board exam since they graduated in December 2021. All have passed and scored extremely well. The Department congratulates everyone involved in the process, particularly Sarah Garner, the Director of the program, for their outstanding works over the last 7 years.
Dr. Liya Pi has published an article with a cover photo on the April issue of FASEB Journal (volume 36, issue 4). Dr. Pi has found that activation of the transcriptional coactivator Yes-associated protein (YAP) in hepatocytes was necessary for not only liver regeneration but also served as a protective mechanism against alcohol-associated damage. Its transcriptional regulation of the detoxification gene acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldh)1a1 represents a new link in liver regeneration and alcohol detoxification.
Welcome Ms. Lynette Desjarlais, MS, instructor Pathology, join the Department as a new Pathology Assistant. Ms. Desjarlais started on April 8th.
Congratulations to Dr. Erik Flemington, Ph.D. and his team, who have been awarded a five-year NIH / National Cancer Institute grant titled “Programmed splicing derangement as new EBV host cell shut-off mechanism”! His project proposes to determine the mechanisms and roles of virus induced cell splicing derangement in diminishing cellular protein output in favor of viral protein production and infectious virus particles.
Dr. Flemington’s newest R01 grant is set to begin on April 1, 2022 and end on March 31, 2027. The total five-year awarded amount is for $2,132,330.
Joining the Pathology department for the next academic year 2022-2023 will be:
A former and highly regarded colleague, Dr. John Charles Scharfenberg expired on March 10, 2022. Dr. Scharfenberg graduated from Tulane Medical School in 1963. He completed a Charity Hospital rotation on the Tulane Service from 1963-1964, and then served in the U.S. Army. Following his honorable discharge in 1966 he began a surgical residency at Charity Hospital but switched to Pathology and completed his residency in 1971 on the Tulane service. He joined the Pathology Department at Tulane and served as a Lecturer from 1971—1975. He was appointed as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pathology from 1976 to 1985, Adjunct Associate Professor from 1985 to 1996, and Clinical Professor from 1996 to 2004.
A funeral mass will be held at Holy Name of Jesus Church on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 11:00 AM, with visitation from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be given to the charity of your choice, or to Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6367 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118
In addition to being an assistant professor of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine he is also the medical director at The Blood Center, which serves the greater New Orleans area and Shreveport. Dr. Peterson manages 80% of the blood supply in the state.
January is National Blood Donor Month and Tulane University School of Medicine is hosting a blood drive. Look for the Bloodmobile parked outside the Hutchinson Building January 31, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register for an appointment here.
The year 2022 starts with a new surge of Covid-19, primarily due to the Omicron variant. While we are returning to work from the holiday, we need to keep vigilant on the pandemic and follow the requirements from the CDC and the Tulane Campus Health.
The CDC updated its guidance on reducing the spread of COVID-19. Tulane now requires all faculty, staff and students to receive a COVID-19 booster vaccine when they become eligible for one, which is generally six months after completing their COVID vaccine series. Evidence continues to mount that receiving a booster is one of the primary means of countering the spread of COVID-19 and especially the omicron variant. CDC guidance, among other things, also reduces the required isolation time following a positive test or exposure to COVID-19. The shortened period for isolation is based on the CDC’s recent finding that most transmissions occur 1 to 2 days before the onset of symptoms and 2 to 3 days after. To schedule an appointment to receive your booster at one of Tulane’s Vaccine Clinics, use this link. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com. Any students, faculty and staff who have already received a COVID-19 booster at a location other than one of the Tulane Vaccine Clinics, or who receive such a booster during winter break, must upload their records to Campus Health here.
The Department has resumed the publication of its newsletter “PATHWAYS” this month. The October issue can now be found here
Dr. Zhen Lin, associate professor of pathology at the School of Medicine, and his colleagues were awarded a National Cancer Institute grant to study the connection between human papillomavirus (HPV) and lung cancer development in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive patients.
The Department mourns the loss of our colleague and friend, Dr. Chang Han, Associate Professor of Pathology, who passed away on September 26, after a long heroic battle against breast cancer. Dr. Han joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in December 2009. Her research was in the field of liver diseases. She was well known for her diligence, kindness and willingness to help others. We will miss her deeply.
Please see the obituary here: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/new-orleans-la/chang-han-10373950
The family of Dr. Han has decided not to hold a formal funeral service here in New Orleans. Instead, the family asks for donations to the Tulane Cancer Center in honor of Dr. Han. Donations can be made either by a check payable to the Tulane Cancer Center, or using a credit card by visiting the Cancer Center’s website (www.canceriscurable.com). Select “Giving” in the menu options and choose the Tulane Cancer Center Research Fund. Please indicate that your donation is made in Dr. Han’s memory.
Checks should be mailed to: Tulane Cancer Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, Box 8668, New Orleans, LA. 70112. ATTN: K. Green
Tulane researchers have published an impactful article in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. This article, with Dr. Di Tian and Dr. Zhen Lin, from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, as the first and second authors, analyzed Covid-19 testing data from 7,440 Tulane undergraduate students and concludes that the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 could not be predicated simply based on the amounts of viral materials detected in the nasopharyngeal swabs. Instead, the study suggests that infected people with even a small amount of virus can be infectious, and thus need to avoid contact with others.
The article can be found at Ct Values Do Not Predict Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Transmissibility in College Students - The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics
News comments can be found at Tulane study finds viral load is not a true indicator of COVID-19 transmission risk
The Department congratulates Dr. Shams Halat, Director of Surgical Pathology, and Dr. Matthew Stark, Adjunct Faculty at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, for their recognition as the 2021 Top Doctors in the category of Pathology by New Orleans Magazine, which is the city magazine published monthly about the city. The selection of Top Doctors is organized by Castle Connolly, a leading healthcare research company, which has done the selection for the past 25 years across the country for many local communities. This year 79 Tulane physicians are among those selected in New Orleans. However, Dr. Halat and Dr. Stark are the only pathologists bestowed with this honor in New Orleans. Additional information can be found at the following website. https://www.myneworleans.com/top-doctors-8/.
Congratulations to Sarah Garner, who has been selected by “the Pathologist” as one of the 2021 Digital Communications Fellows in Pathology, and listed on “The Pathologist Power List”, which celebrates the great and inspirational minds that underpin the medical laboratory.
Dr. Di Tian and Dr. Xiao-Ming Yin received congratulations from Dr. Lee Hamm, the Dean of School of Medicine, for their recognition in being named a City Business Health Care Hero 2021 in the category of Professionals. City Business is a New Orleans news medium oriented to the business community. Started in 2007, Health Care Heroes honors health care professionals in the New Orleans area in the following categories: first responders, nursing, physicians, professionals and volunteers. Honorees are selected based on industry achievement and community involvement. This year, six Tulane physicians and one Tulane nurse have also been named in the category of “Physician”, and “Nurses”, respectively. The honorees will be celebrated at an event October 25 at the New Orleans Museum of Art. A publication featuring them will be inserted into the Oct. 22 issue of CityBusiness.
A complete list can be found here: City Business Health Care Hero 2021
Determined by Pathology Faculty vote, the winners of the 2020-2021 Residents’ Awards are:
Tulane University has implemented a program, the Professionalism/Environment of Learning Program to ensure professional conduct on the part of faculty members, learners and educator in their interactions with each other and subordinates. As part of the educational activity, the School of Medicine’s Professionalism Committee has presented a webinar by Dr. Mary Killackey, on June 3rd to the faculty, staff and trainees of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Click on the following link below that gives a comprehensive overview of the program that is available to all employees of Tulane University. Professionalism/Environment of Learning Program
The Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department congratulates our following Faculty Researchers on their newly awarded (Drs. Savkovic and Lin) and transferred R01 grant awards (Drs. Li and Chen) from the National Institutes of HealthClick to see full list of awards...
Dr. Suzana D. Savkovic
Title: Regulation of DGAT- dependent lipogenesis in colonic epithelial growth
R01CA252055 – Project Period Dates: 04/01/2021 – 03/31/2026
National Cancer Institute
Dr. Zhen Lin
Title: Human papillomavirus in HIV associated lung cancers
R01CA261258 – Project Period Dates: 04/01/2021 – 03/31/2026
National Cancer Institute
Dr. Yi-Ping Li
Title: Inhibiting inflammation and bone erosion in periodontal disease by targeting cell endogenous negative signaling
R01 DE023813 – Project Period Dates: 01/01/2014 – 01/31/2024
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Title: Gα13 signaling attenuates periodontal inflammation and alveolar bone loss in the mouse model of age-associated periodontitis
R01 DE028264 – Project Period Dates: 09/04/2018 – 05/31/2023
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Title: Mechanistic basis of the role of Cbx3 in negatively regulating osteoclast differentiation through epigenetic modification
R01 AR075735 – Project Period Dates: 08/06/2019 – 07/31/2024
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Title: Characterizing the negative signaling in dendritic cells and macrophages to attenuate inflammation and bone destruction in Rheumatoid arthritis
R01 AR074954 – Project Period Dates: 02/15/2020 – 12/31/2024
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Dr. Wei Chen
Title: Characterizing the mechanism by which endogenous negative regulators of osteoclasts control bone homeostasis under physiological and pathological conditions in mouse models
R01 AR075735 – Project Period Dates: 02/15/2020 – 12/31/2024
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Title: Cbfβ Mediates Articular Cartilage Regeneration And Repair In Aging
R01 AG056438 – Project Period Dates: 02/15/2020 – 12/31/2024
National Institute on Aging
The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine deeply mourns the loss of two former faculty members, Dr. Richard J. Reed, Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Ramesh Bhagat, Assistant Professor. Click here to read more.
The department of Pathology would like to express our congratulations to the Pathology MS class of 2021:
Sophie Alamilla: Sophie is interested in dental school and will be applying for the 2021-2022 cycle.
Hena Brucia: Hena will be working as a Research Specialist in the New Orleans Bioinnovation Center (NOBIC) while applying for medical school.
Meghan Dillon: Meghan is applying for medical school for the 2021-2022 cycle.
Wendy Mauti: Wendy has been accepted to Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and will start in July.
Fola Okeyemi: Fola will be working as a Registered Behavioral Therapist at Individualized Intervention ABA in Houston, Texas, while applying for medical school.
Vikrant Sharma: Vik is interested in medical school and will be applying for the 2021-2022 cycle.
Mohammed Sahal: Mohammed will be working in Dr. Asim B. Abdel-Mageed’s lab at Tulane while preparing for his USMLE Step 2 exam. He will apply for Pathology residency this fall.
Nicholas Van Otterloo: Nick will be working in Dr. Zhen Lin’s lab as a Research Specialist while applying for medical school for the 2021-2022 cycle.
Molecular and Cellular Pathobiology
Niani Bailey: Niani completed her thesis titled “Expression Analysis of DEK Proteins in Normal and Autophagy-Deficit Liver” under the guidance of Dr. Bilon Khambu. After graduation, she will continue in Dr. Khambu’s lab as a Research Specialist while applying for medical school. Niani has recently won the Dr. Michael A. Gerber Prize for Research for her poster presentation during TUSOM’s Research Days 2021.
Glory Ogunyingka: Glory completed her thesis titled “Role of Integrated Stress Response in the Progression of Liver Disease” under Dr. Srikanta Dash’s guidance. Glory will attend Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in July.
Spencer Stubbs: Spencer completed their thesis in the lab of Dr. Ronald Veazey at the National Primate Center. The thesis was titled “Elucidating Causal Pathways for Restorative Gut Potential through Our Microbiome: Targeting, Identifying, and Characterizing the Lymphoid Tissue Inducer Cell in SIV-Pathogenesis”. Spencer will remain in Dr. Veazey’s lab after graduation while applying for the MD/PhD program.
Ryan Craig, M.D., Ph.D, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, received a Tulane University School of Medicine Owl Club Award for teaching excellence as a T2 Tutorial Facilitator. Dr. Craig’s teaching involved image exam reviews of microscopic slides. Additionally, Dr. Craig taught Basic Science Projects that exposed students to the analysis of scientific literature as it applied to Pathology.
Sarah Garner, M.S., P.A., Pathology Instructor, and Director of the Pathologists’ Assistants Program in the Pathology Department is a recipient of a Tulane University School of Medicine Owl Club Award. Ms. Garner, also the Gross Lab Director, received the highest average review score for T1 Lecturers, based on student evaluations, for her Gross Anatomy lecture series, Lower Extremities.
The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine sponsors a number of honors and awards, including the Dr. Michael A. Gerber Prize for Research in conjunction with Tulane University School of Medicine’s annual Research Days, which was instituted by the late Dr. Gerber. The award is given to the author whose poster wins the highest number of votes. This year the award goes to Niani Bailey, a graduate student in the Master’s program of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, in recognition of her poster, The Role of DEK Protein in Normal and Autophagy-Deficient Liver
This year the Department’s Dr. George H. Hauser Award is given to Ashley L. Velucci, a medical student in Tulane School of Medicine for her outstanding performance in the course “Mechanism of Diseases”, having the highest grade in her class. The award is designed to encourage medical students to excel in the studies of pathology and pathogenesis-related courses.
Congratulations to Dr. Savkovic and her team, who have been awarded a five-year National Cancer Institute grant to continue her investigation on the connection between obesity and colon cancer.Read More...
Dr. David Brenner, Vice Chancellor of the University of California at San Diego Health Sciences, is this year’s esteemed guest speaker. As Vice Chancellor at UC Health Sciences, he leads the School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.Read More...
A graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, he completed his residency at Yale-New Haven Medical Center and then served in the Genetics and Biochemistry Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Over the course of his remarkable career, he has served as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences in the VA System; Professor and Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Chair of the Department of Medicine Columbia University and Physician-in-Chief of New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Dean of the School of Medicine, UCSD. Dr. Brenner is also a world class researcher in the field of liver fibrosis and contributed significantly to the understanding of the mechanism and therapeutic development. The title of his talk this year is “Liver Fibrosis and NASH.”
For a complete list of past Gerber lecture speakers, Click Here