Division of Neuropathology

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 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 Member Name Current Title Summary of Research
Charleen T. Chu, MD, PhD Professor (with tenure) Molecular cell biology of neurodegeneration in Parkinson spectrum diseases and frontotemporal dementias. Kinase signaling, mitochondrial quality control & autophagy.
Julia Kofler, MD Associate Professor Director of adult and pediatric neurodegenerative brain bank.  Co-director of Alzheimer’s disease research center at University of Pittsburgh Research interests include association of neuropathological endophenotypes with genetic risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease; Genetic and molecular correlates of white matter pathology in Alzheimer’s disease; neurobiological substrates and resilience factors for the occurrence of psychosis in Alzheimer’s disease; Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Scott Kulich, MD, PhD Professor Dr. Kulich's laboratory studies the interaction between oxidative neurotoxins and intracellular signal transduction cascades in the context or neurologic diseases.
David Lacomis, MD Professor of Neurology & Pathology Cerebrospinal fluid and blood biomarkers in ALS; Clinical drug trials, epidemiology, and non-invasive ventilation in ALS; Histopathology of autoimmune and critical illness myopathies.
Daniel Marker, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Neuro-oncology and neuroinflammation.
Thomas Pearce, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Machine learning and neurodegeneration.
Clayton Wiley, MD, PhD Professor (with tenure) 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.