D I V I S I O N  O F  N E U R O P A T H O L O G Y

U n i v e r s i t y  o f  P i t t s b u r g h  S c h o o l  o f  M e d i c i n e

D e p a r t m e n t  o f  P a t h o l o g y

 
Search:

This Site The Web
Home
About Us
Brain Bank
People
Consultation Services
Training Program
Conferences
Research Opportunities
Employment Opportunities
For Faculty and Staff
Weekly Activities
Links
 

1893-1972

1972-1992

Participating Hospitals

1993-1999

2000-2010

2011-Present

Current Space and Resources

Clinical Mission

Research Mission

Faculty

Training Mission

Clinical Trainees


1893-1972

Presbyterian University Hospital (PUH) is part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). PUH was established in 1893, and in 1927 was affiliated with and became the primary hospital of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

During the past decades thousands of physicians have been trained to treat, teach and conduct research at UPMC. PUH is an integral part of the School of Medicine, of which the Pathology Department is well represented together with other major departments performing patient care, education and research. During this time the offices and laboratories of the Division of Neuropathology were located on the fifth floor of PUH.

1972-1992

John Moossy founded the Division of Neuropathology at PUH. He was appointed Professor of Pathology (Neuropathology) in 1965, and stayed at PUH for 2 years before moving to Wake Forest University in North Carolina. In 1972 Dr. Moossy returned to Pittsburgh as Director and Chief of the Division of Neuropathology and as Professor of Pathology and Neurology. At that time the Division of Neuropathology at PUH consisted of 2 secretaries, 2 histotechnologists and 2 full time staff Neuropathologists. Dr. Moossy came to Pittsburgh with his associate Dr. Howard Wisotzkey, who died in August 1975 of metastatic melanoma. In July of 1976 Dr. A. Julio Martinez arrived to the Division of Neuropathology as Associate Professor from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV).

Dr. Moossy was appointed the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology from 1981 to 1991. The Division of Neuropathology provided consultations to medical institutions outside UPMC in Neuropathological cases in the U.S.A and overseas. On June 12, 1992 Dr. Moossy resigned as Director of Neuropathology. Dr. Mark Hurtt was appointed “interim director” of the Division from July 1992 to July 1993.   The clinical Neurohistology laboratory opened in July 1972. Margaret Vagasky Boring (HT, HTL) was hired in December 1972. The other histology technicians were Gail Taylor, followed by Betty Micic from Columbia University and the Neurological Institute in New York, working under Professors Abner Wolf, and David Cowen, where Dr. Moossy did his fellowship in Neuropathology.   In July 1977 Marie Rozantz LeRoy was hired. She worked closely with Mrs. Boring for 16 years in the Clinical Neurohistology laboratory. At the onset the clinical Neuropathology laboratory at PUH only processed, cut and stained tissues from autopsies. Eventually the laboratory began to process all neurosurgical specimens (brain biopsies, tumors, skeletal muscle, peripheral nerve biopsies, and pituitary adenomas). Research activities were initiated and grants were obtained from the NIH and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. An Alzheimer Disease Research Center grant was obtained with multidisciplinary participation. Increased workloads associated with the two grants, required additional personnel, increasing from two to four histotechnologists.   Enzyme histochemistry techniques were performed on muscle biopsies and the immunoperoxidase staining procedures were initiated for pituitary adenomas and brain tumors. Mrs. Boring was a pioneer technician using the immunoperoxidase techniques.  

In the late 1980’s Mrs. Boring became a member of the Core Installation Group for the Sunquest Laboratory Information System. She constructed the database for the neuropathology area. She also provided input for implementation of the CoPath (CoMed) laboratory software system. As the laboratory changed so did personnel; however, there were technologists and secretaries who provided years of dedicated service to the division. These include Margaret Boring (HT, HTL), Kimberlee Kondrat, Marie LeRoy (HT), Jonette Werley (HT, HTL), Sung Hui Hong (HT, HTL), Karen Perkins Weber, Agnes Zachoszcz, and Joan Heinecke. Mrs. Werley and Mrs. Weber continue to make important ongoing contributions to the Division.

During this time the following hospitals participated and were part of the division.

Presbyterian-University Hospital: At the central laboratory, there were four laboratory technicians and two secretaries. The office space, supplies, equipment, and salary were provided by PUH. Three technicians were supported by PUH; one additional technician was supported by contract and grant funds, and for one year funds from the Pathology Education and Research Foundation (PERF) of the Department of Pathology.

Veteran’s Administration Hospital (Oakland): Gutti Rao, M.D. was the neuropathologist at the VA. The office space, basic equipment and shared secretarial services were furnished to Dr. Rao. Trainees in Neuropathology (residents in Pathology, Neurology, Neurosurgery) rotated through the VA Neuropathology service for a portion of their training experience. Technicians and secretaries were provided by the hospital. The office space, supplies, equipment and salaries were provided by VA Hospital.Children’s Hospital: No special space or equipment was set aside for neuropathology; however, an office was equipped for a neuropathologist. In the initial years Drs. Robert Shuman, Barbara Zaias and Robert Price provided neuropathology expertise. Dr Ahdab-Barmada became the neuropathologist at CHP between January 1986 and December 1992, then left to start a private Neuromuscular Diagnostic Lab in Pittsburgh.  Technicians and secretaries were provided by the hospital.Eye & Ear Hospital: Dr. Bruce Johnson was in charge of Ophthalmic Pathology. There were two laboratory technicians and one secretary. The office space, supplies, and technical salaries were provided by Eye & Ear Hospital.Magee-Women’s Hospital (MWH): Mamdouha Ahdab-Barmada, M.D. was the neuropathologist at MWH.  No special facilities for neuropathology were provided, but there was sharing of laboratories, conference rooms, and equipment. Dr. Barmada’s office was equipped and furnished by the hospital. Residents from pathology, Neurology and Neurosurgery rotated through the laboratory. Technicians and secretaries were provided by Magee-Women’s Hospital.  Dr. Barmada left the Division in 1993 to begin a private Neuromuscular pathology practice. Dr. Diana Claassen assumed the position from that timeuntil her departure to private practice in 1996.

Montefiore Hospital: Dr. Harvey Mendelow was the director of Pathology at Montefiore Hospital (affiliated with PUH). He performed neuropathology there in close collaboration with Dr. J. Moossy and PUH.

The Division of Neuropathology had residents, interns and medical students that rotated through the Division for three to six months. The trainees came from Pathology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuroradiology, Neuro-anesthesiology and Psychiatry. The medical students who chose an elective in Neuropathology did an eight-week rotation through the Division. The Division also offered an AMA approved Fellowship in Neuropathology for residents with at least two years of formal training in Pathological Anatomy, Neurology or Neurosurgery.  

In the central laboratory of the Division of Neuropathology there was a room with four cubicles for the trainees. In this room there were two four-headed microscopes and projection equipment. A small library contained select Neuropathology, Neurology, Neurosurgery and Pathology textbooks and selected current medical. Formal Neuroscience conferences were organized and given on a weekly basis. Brain cutting conferences, Neuroscience Conferences, Surgical Neuropathology Sign-out Conference with Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, residents and fellows participating.

1993-1999

Dr. Clayton Wiley was recruited from the University of California in San Diego and arrived at UPMC in July 1993. Dr. Wiley’s mission was to build federally funded research programs upon the Division’s excellent clinical and teaching foundation. Additional personnel, space and resources were required for this restructuring. Over the next 7 years several faculty joined the staff: Cristian Achim MD, PhD, Ronald Hamilton, MD, David Lacomis MD, Robert Bowser PhD, Charleen T. Chu, MD, PhD and Marta Couce, MD. During that same period Dr. Diana Claassen moved to private practice in Idaho, Dr. Mark Hurtt moved to pharmaceutical industry, Dr. A. Julio Martinez became Emeritus Professor of Pathology, and Dr. Bruce Johnson retired, with re-integration of Ophthalmic Pathology into the Neuropathology Division by Dr. Chu. Additionally Dr. Robert H. Garman formally affiliated with the Division. In January 1997 the clinical neurohistology laboratory was closed after 25 years of service excellence, and the work transferred to UPMC Pathology Histology Laboratory.  To retain a Center of Excellence model, rather than dividing up the faculty to the spatially separated facilities, all of the Neuropathologists with the exception of the VA had offices in either Scaife or the Biomedical Sciences Tower.

2000-2010

In the first decade of the millennium the faculty composition of the Division changed again. After over a quarter of a century of service, we were all saddened by the death of Dr. Julio Martinez in 2002. In 2005 Dr. Marta Couce returned with her family to Mallorca Spain to practice Anatomic and Neuropathology, and in the following year Dr. Cristian Achim returned to San Diego California to join the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD. The Division refilled its ranks hiring Dr. Geoffrey Murdoch in 2004 as Associate Professor and in 2006 Dr. Kate McFadden as Assistant Professor. In reflection of the success of the Division’s research mission, 4 Research Assistant Professors were hired: Dr. Jeffery Zhu in 2007, Dr. Dafna Bonneh-Barkay in 2008, Dr. Stephanie Bissel in 2009 and Dr. Julia Kofler in 2010. These new additions continue to strengthen the Division’s integrated mission encompassing Clinical Service, Education and Research.   Because of expanded clinical volumes our administrative support staff was expanded to include Jill Dietrich (1996-2000), Karen Weber (2000-Present), Rebecca Byles (2001-2005) and Christina Romanello (2006-Present).  In 2009 we leveraged our investment in intra-UPMC teleneuropathology to provide the first interstate intraoperative consultation service for Neurosurgery.

2011-Present

The rapid growth of both the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC was accompanied by numerous changes in the Division. Dr. Robert Bowser assumed the position of Professor and Director of the ALS and Neuromuscular Research Center at the Barrow Institute in Arizona. The offices and research labs are currently located on the 7th Floor of Scaife Hall after several years of separation while the space was vacated and renovated.

Current Space and Resources

The Research arm of our Division is now housed on the 7th floor of Scaife Hall immediately adjacent to the clinical offices. The physical interdigitation of clinical and research space is optimal for translational studies. In addition to common division histology, tissue culture and confocal microscopy space each faculty member has committed research benches. The division runs the University of Pittsburgh Brain Bank, research neurohistology laboratory, and confocal microscopy facility. The Division’s annual direct and indirect research budget is approximately $500,000 and $250,000 respectively. Specific research programs are included on each faculty member’s web page.

Clinical Mission

As part of the largest academic health care system in the world, the Division of Neuropathology has remained a beacon of clinical excellence.  We continue to provide state of the art evaluation of brain, eye, nerve and muscle surgical specimens along with a strong commitment to autopsy neuropathology.  Revolutions in molecular diagnostics and information sciences have further transformed the Division’s clinical mission.  Rather than replacing conventional diagnostic methodology, the new sciences have provided an expanded basis upon which to practice neuropathology.  Many morphological classification systems have been transformed by molecular insights and the Division has proudly played a key part in this transformation.  No longer physically confined by hospital walls, our Division has branched out both nationally and internationally to provide expertise to all parts of the globe.  Our pioneering work in telepathology has placed us in the forefront of the information revolution in diagnostic pathology.

Research Mission

Our faculty support a diverse research mission. Retaining a focus on neurodegeneration, it is fair to say that virtually every area of research in Neuropathology has found a niche in the Division. The following table summarizes the principal strengths of the different faculty member’s research programs.

Faculty

Faculty Member Name (Linked to NIH Biosketch
Date of Appointment
Current Title Web Page Summary of Research (150 characters)
Stephanie Bissel, PhD
2009
Assistant Professor Click here Involvement of immune responses in the pathogenesis of viral and age-induced nervous system disease.
Charleen T. Chu, MD, PhD
2004
Professor (with tenure) Click here Molecular cell biology of neurodegeneration in Parkinson spectrum diseases. Kinase signaling, mitochondrial quality control & autophagy
Robert Garman, DVM
2000
Adjunct Assistant Professor Click here

Dr. Garman is interested in all aspects of comparative neuropathology.  The bulk of his research is concentrated on mechanisms and morphologic patterns of neurotoxic injury induced in animals by exposure to drugs and chemicals.  (This includes the effects of chemicals on both the fully-developed and developing nervous system.)  In addition, Dr. Garman participates in a variety of collaborative research projects on animal models of brain ischemia/hypoxia and traumatic brain injury. 

Ronald Hamilton, MD
2002
Associate Professor Click here Dr. Hamilton has research interests in the molecular biology of brain tumors, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Julia Kofler, MD
2010
Assistant Professor Click here Microglial alterations in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
Scott Kulich, MD, PhD
2003
Assistant Professor Click here Dr. Kulich's laboratory studies the interaction between oxidative neurotoxins and intracellular signal transduction cascades in the context or neurologic diseases.
David Lacomis, MD
2005
Professor of Neurology & Pathology Click here Cerebrospinal fluid and blood biomarkers in ALS; Clinical drug trials, epidemiology, and non-invasive ventilation in ALS; Histopathology of autoimmune and critical illness myopathies.
Geoffrey Murdoch, MD, PhD
2004
Associate Professor Click here  
Clayton Wiley, MD
1993
Professor of Pathology (with tenure) Click here Neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration

Training Mission

With an abundance of clinical and research opportunities it is small wonder that our training mission has expanded comparably. We are currently approved to train 4 ACGME accredited neuropathology fellows, and have maintained grant support to fund numerous research postdoctoral trainees and graduate students. Recognizing the breath of career opportunities available to our neuropathology fellowship graduates, we created two training tracks: Academic/Anatomic and Academic/Research. All of our graduates that have taken the neuropathology boards have passed, and more importantly their training has made them competitive for excellent academic positions, with many programs looking to Pittsburgh to fill their future slots.

Beyond the fellows we have expanded our training of clinical residents to include: anatomic pathology, psychiatry, neuroradiology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology and neurology. These trainees are actively engaged in our clinical mission while at the same time developing a perspective on the research basis of medical knowledge. At the pre-doctoral level, Dr. Clayton Wiley continues as Associate Dean and Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).  At the post-graduate level, Dr. Charleen Chu co-directs the Pathologist Investigator Residency-Research Training Program (PIRRT), which integrates fast-track research training with ACGME-accredited training in Pathology and its subspecialities to include Neuropathology.

Clinical Trainees in the University of Pittsburgh Neuropathology Division

Year

Name

Current Position

1972-75

Gutti R. Rao

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh, VAMC

1975-77

M. Ahdab Barmada

Neuropathologist; Pittsburgh, PA

1980-1981

Josephine Ashmed

Neuropathologist, Colorado

1981-83

Jose Cardozo

Neuropathologist, Maracaibo, Venezuela

1983-85

Diana Claassen

Neuropathologist; Idaho

7/84-6/85

Karl O. Schwartz

Neuropathologist; New Jersey

1988-91

Mark R. Hurtt

Chief Medical Officer, Alseres’ Pharmaceuticals

1995-96

Mark Inman

Pathologist, Onalaska, Wisconsin

1996-96

Hindi-Al-Hindi

Neuropathologist (Saudi Arabia)

1996-98

Virawudh Soontornniyomki

Assistant Research Scientist, University of California at San Diego

1998-00

Linda Dallasta

Pathologist, Lakeland, Florida

2000-02

Marie Beckner

Assistant Professor of Pathology, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA

2000-02

Bennet Omalu

Chief Medical Examiner, San Joaquin County, California

2001-2003

Scott Kulich

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh, VAMC

2002-2004

Rafael Medina-Flores

Neuropathologist, Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, Wisconsin

2003-2005

Kathyrn McFadden

Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

2006-2008

Gabrielle Yeaney

Assistant Professor of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio

2006-2008

Harry Kellermier

Professional Pathology Services Pc, Canden, South Carolina

2007-2009

Craig Horbinski

Associate Professor of Pathology/Neurological Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

2008-2010

Julia Kofler

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

2008-2010

Henry Armah

Laboratory Medical Director & Pathologist, McLaren Central Michigan, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

2008-2011

Edward Plowey

Assistant Professor of Pathology, Stanford University

2011-2013 Kenneth Clark Forensic Pathologist & Neuropathologist, Onondaga County Office of the Medical Examiner, Syracuse, New York
2012-2014 Lananh Nguyen Assistant Professor of Pathology, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire
2012-2014 Leonidas Arvanitis Pathologist/Neuropathologist, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
2014-2016 Jason Chiang Pathology/Neuropathology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
2016-Present Diana Thomas Neuropathology Fellow
2017-Present Anne Shepler Neuropathology Fellow