Division of Neuropathology

The Neuropathology Division functions as an integral part of the University of Pittsburgh's Pathology Department and Neuroscience Program.

Our mission is to create the world's best training program for academic neuropathologists and provide the highest quality of clinical neuropathology service and translational neuroscience research. The Division supports the diagnostic services of the clinical neurosciences at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in addition to extensive tertiary neuropathology and ophthalmic pathology referrals. Clinicians and clinical investigators are trained through case analysis and discussion. Applications of electron microscopy, immunohistology and molecular biology technique are integrated into clinical training.

Major areas of research emphasis include: degenerative diseases of the central nervous system (particularly Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and AIDS), developmental disorders, neoplasia and peripheral nerve and neuromuscular disorders. Extensive pre- and postdoctoral teaching is provided through numerous inter and intradepartmental conferences.

Faculty

Clinical Services

Committed to the discovery of novel insights into the pathogenesis of neurological disease and development of molecular diagnostic techniques and therapeutics, the Division also provides routine neuropathological diagnostic evaluations. Given that thirty percent of all human genes are uniquely expressed in the brain, continued expansion of the diagnostic and research missions of this Division are expected. The Division examines all central and peripheral nervous systems tissues related to a broad spectrum of diseases along with technical and professional support to the clinical Departments of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Radiology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Our mission is to provide clinical services emphasizing continued excellence in patient care, to provide expert neuropathological consultation and to translate insights in the pathogenesis of neurological disease into clinical knowledge and diagnostic tests. The availability of tissues and specialized technical protocols are crucial to institutional efforts in Alzheimer's disease, brain tumors, and other diseases of the central nervous system. The Division applies immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization and molecular biology technology to the diagnosis of infectious and neoplastic diseases. The Division also utilizes highly specialized techniques to evaluate all, eye, muscle and peripheral nerve biopsies. In addition to providing neuropathology services to UPMC affiliate hospitals and physicians, the Division offers a comprehensive consultation service to neurologists and neurosurgeons in the community. We have pioneered the use of telepathology to expand our intra-operative consultation service to include hospitals outside of the UPMC system.

Research Activities

The Division produces a consistently high level of funded research complementing existing community strengths in neurosciences and provides academic and clinical support to several departments within the School of Medicine. Research in neurosciences is highly developed at the University of Pittsburgh and is fostered by two basic science departments (Neurobiology and Behavioral Neurosciences) and four clinical departments (Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry). The Division of Neuropathology consists of a multidisciplinary team of researchers investigating the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration, developmental disorders and neuro-oncology, using advanced anatomic, cellular, and molecular techniques. Research in neurodegeneration includes studies of pathways leading to neuronal disease in different human and animal models. Multidimensional studies of both in vivo and in vitro systems are carried out using state-of-the-art immunofluorescence techniques including confocal microscopy. Human and non-human embryonic brain cultures are used to study the effect of several brain-associated growth factors in normal and transgenic systems. Childhood and adult tumors are studied in terms of expression of specific progression linked determinants. The Division maintains a brain bank with tissue obtained from all affiliated hospitals. Access to these brain tissues is essential for ongoing institutional research in neurological disorders.

Teaching

In addition to excellence in neuropathological service and research, the Division of Neuropathology provides strong administrative direction for the academic mission of the Department of Pathology. Neuropathology faculty participate in the Department's Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Program. Academic instruction in the Division includes medical students, pathology residents and neurology and neurological surgery residents in diseases of the nervous system and their clinical, anatomic, and radiographic correlates. The Division co-directs weekly continuing medical education conferences for neurologists and neurosurgeons in the region. We continue our extensive teaching with the Medical Examiner's office to support the study of Forensic Neuropathology.

Training

The Division of Neuropathology is accredited by ACGME for 4 concurrent fellowship positions. Fellows elect training in one of two tracks: Academic/Anatomic and Academic/Research. The former track will develop academic neuropathologists whose primary focus is clinical work (including general pathology) and teaching. The latter track will mentor fellows into academic positions with independent research funding, protected research time, and neuropathology-exclusive service work. Service responsibilities are tailored to best prepare fellows for one or the other track. Fellows in the Academic/Anatomic track are supported during both years by Graduate Medical Education funding. Fellows in the Academic/Research track will be supported during their clinical training by Graduate Medical Education funding and during their research training by their own or their mentor's research funding.

Visit the Division of Neuropathology Website