Department of Pathology
Professor and Chair
Sanford A. Stass, MD
The mission of the Department of Pathology is to advance knowledge that will increase the understanding of disease process and mechanisms. This knowledge will directly aid the development of better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human diseases. This goal necessarily includes the instruction and training of students to become biomedical researchers, physician practitioners of pathology, physician researchers, and allied health professionals in pathology and pathology related disciplines. Our mission is achieved through an experiment-based approach to disease. We believe that pathology is a crucial discipline to carry out translational research that directly bridges basic biomedical science to the patient. Our goals also include continuing the education of health professionals in current concepts and technologies of pathology.
Students achieve this goal in three phases: 1) by acquiring the basic principles of pathology and applying those principles to the diagnosis and study of health care delivery expressed in diagnostic areas such as surgical pathology, clinical pathology, forensic pathology and autopsy pathology; 2) by establishing a philosophy of critical evaluation and judgment concerning the problems of health and disease in humans; and 3) by developing a sense of personal responsibility and ethics for the practice of medicine.
The Department maintains that the study of disease include both structure and function and is conducted from the molecular level to clinical application. Students are exposed to anatomical and clinical hospital pathology services with additional training at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other local hospitals.
Undergraduate Medical Program
The Department of Pathology faculty teach during both the first- and second-year blocks. However, primary involvement occurs in the second-year with the “Immunology, Host Defenses and Infectious Disease, Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine” block, and in the “Pathophysiology and Therapeutics” block. Pathophysiology and the study of the mechanisms of disease as well as morphology are stressed.
Elective course offerings supplement the core program for medical students. These Pathology courses are: Laboratory Medicine, Anatomic Pathology, Laboratory & Anatomic Pathology, Autopsy Pathology, Surgical Pathology, Research in Pathology, Special Topics in Pathology and Forensic Pathology. During these electives, students have access to Pathology seminars by guest speakers who are leading authorities in their fields.
Research efforts in the Department of Pathology focus upon the translation of research in pathobiologic mechanisms of human disease at the cellular, subcellular and molecular levels into clinical application. Current projects involve a broad spectrum of diseases, which include cancer, immunologic disease, transplant pathology, transfusion medicine, hematopoiesis, heart disease, shock, and infectious disease.
Cancer research efforts examine the biology of tumor growth and include the role of growth factors and their receptors in tumor cell proliferation, the mechanisms of apoptotic cell death of tumor cells, genetic changes with tumor progression in human epithelial and hematopoietic neoplasms, and the development and validation of cancer biomarkers. Other studies address problems in cancer treatment including basic immunology and the use of gene therapy in cancer treatment using animal models.
The Department also has a large program devoted to the development of novel and sensitive tests that would ultimately be useful in a clinical setting or for epidemiological research. Such studies include an investigation of biochemical markers for the acute coronary syndromes and reperfusion after thrombolytic therapy and the development and characterization of new markers of myocardial ischemia and injury for use in risk stratification. Another major emphasis is on the development, refinement, and optimization of assays for HIV, hepatitis, herpes viruses, and prions. Other studies are aimed at developing molecular techniques to improve molecular diagnosis and for studying genetic changes in aging; the delineation of the mechanism by which microbes invade and destroy human cells; and the analysis of the events leading to cell death.