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Areas of Research

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The investigators in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have continued to maintain and grow their respective research programs. The Department has made major inroads in its plans to enhance our research capacity, capability, productivity and impact. To that effect, the Department has been able to build an enhanced faculty complement (both basic and clinical) and a significantly larger and more comprehensive graduate program. At the 2014 departmental retreat, faculty members made a commitment to foster growth in research.

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry has identified several areas of research excellence including: Cancer; Cardiovascular, Respiratory Health, and Metabolic Diseases; Infection and Immunity; Musculoskeletal Health; Maternal/Fetal, Child and Family Health; and Neuroscience and Mental Health. Researchers from the Department of Pathology are active participants in a majority of these areas. Other areas of research focus in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine include Environmental Pathology and Research in Education.

Research in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine includes both investigator-driven research, initiated by the core members of the department, and collaborative research with members of other departments. Members of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine are involved with, and key players in almost every signature program of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Listed below are a few specific research programs in which the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is playing a major role.

Cancer research

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine has a strong presence in the field of cancer research in both the experimental and clinical areas. The researchers in this area have received their funding from CIHR, CBCF, ORF and other national and international organizations. Several pathologists are also heavily involved in clinical trials. Department members have produced many high quality publications in basic, clinical and translational aspects of cancer research.

Cardiovascular, Respiratory Health and Metabolic Disease

Cardiovascular biology and metabolic disease researchers have focused their attention on: a) chronic complications of diabetes (Drs. Subrata Chakrabarti, Zia A. Khan), b) cardiovascular disease (Dr. Tianqing Peng; Lawson Scientist/cross-appointee), c) vascular stem cell research (Dr. Zia A. Khan), d) mechanisms of islet development in the pancreas (Dr. Edith Arany; Lawson Scientist/cross-appointee), and e) imaging modalities for pancreatic islets and cardiomyopathy (Dr. Savita Dhanvantari; Lawson Scientist/cross-appointee).  We have also been fortunate to recruit Dr Lisa Cameron to lead a research program in asthma research, and Dr. Stephanie Frisbee to establish a research program in the epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases. 

Infection and Immunity

In the research areas of infection and immunity, our members have strength in multiple foci: transplant (immuno-) pathology, immunology of chronic diseases such as asthma, and spread of viral infections through patients and population.  Research in transplantation (clinical and experimental) is very strong in our Department and has demonstrated further growth during the last year. Dr. Aaron Haig is the Director of the core laboratory of the Multi-Organ Transplant Program’s (MOTP) research arm which resides in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. This group of researchers is funded from CIHR, HSFO, MOTP, NIH, and other national and international organizations. Research in this field has been very productive with many publications in high impact journals.  

One of our newest faculty members (Dr Art Poon) has established a research program on designing and implementing new computational methods to reconstruct the spread and adaptation of viruses from their genetic sequence variation.

Neuroscience and Mental Health

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is home to three neuropathologists, two basic/clinical scientists, and Canadian Brain Tumour Bank.  Researchers in this research area are funded through various organizations including CIHR and ALS Foundation.

Environmental Pathology

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine has a large number of researchers who are involved in environmental pathology research. The research efforts have received funding from Assembly of First Nations-Health Canada Environmental Contaminants Program Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Western University international curriculum funds and most recently, the IDRC.

Research in Education

Education research is an important and valued aspect of our faculty commitment to education scholarship.  Our faculty members and residents continue to play key roles in the development and implementation of innovative methods of pathology education which allow for some unique mixed qualitative and quantitative research and methodologies in our department.  Examples of projects include: evaluating effectiveness of peer learning, testing of curricular models within a Competency Based Medical Education (CBME) framework, examining the utility of technological tools in education and investigating medical students attitudes to pathology.