PaLM Educational Leadership Appointments


The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine would like to announce the following educational leadership appointments effective January 1, 2024.

Art Poon, PhD

Graduate Chair, Research-Based Programs

Dr. Art Poon (he/him) will Chair the Graduate Education Committee for research-based programs, succeeding Dr. Zia Khan. In this role, Dr. Poon will work closely with faculty, staff, students and decanal leaders in support of graduate education in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Dr. Poon joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in 2016 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2023. He specializes in developing new computational methods to reconstruct the spread and adaptation of human RNA viruses, with a particular focus on HIV-1. Dr. Poon completed an MSc in mathematical biology at UBC and a PhD in experimental evolution at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He continued as a postdoctoral fellow in HIV bioinformatics at the UCSD Antiviral Research Centre, and then as a research scientist at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, where he was the recipient of a CIHR New Investigator Award and a Michael Smith Foundation Scholar award.

Dr. Poon has trained more than ten graduate students since 2016, and has contributed over 100 peer-reviewed research articles, including publications in the Lancet journals and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on CIHR's Doctoral (CGS-D) award and Fellowship review committees for six years, as well as review panels for CIHR and the National Institutes of Health. He is also a member of several national pandemic response working groups, including the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network.

A sincere thank you to Dr. Zia Khan for his outstanding and exemplary contributions to the Graduate Chair role during his tenure from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2023.

Andrew Zhang, MClSc-PA(ASCP)CM

Program Director, Masters of Clinical Science, Pathologists’ Assistant (PA) Program

Andrew Zhang will Chair the Graduate Education Committee for the PA Program, succeeding Dr. José Gomez. In this role, Andrew will oversee all of the academic and clinical aspects of the PA training program.

Andrew is a graduate of the MClSc-PA program at Western University and was employed as a Pathologists' Assistant at London Health Sciences Centre upon completion of his degree in 2015. He has been an influential clinical preceptor for almost 8 years and as the inaugural Education Coordinator, has consistently cultivated a supportive and integrative learning environment for his trainees. His passion for teaching and education innovation was recognized in 2023 with a Schulich Excellence in Education Award (Graduate and Postgraduate Education). Andrew is the first ASCP-certified PA to hold the title of Program Director at Western University and we are excited for him to begin the next chapter in his career.

A sincere thank you to Dr. José Gomez who served as PA Program Director from May 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023. During this time, Dr. Gomez led the PA Program through a successful NAACLS accreditation and was an advocate for trainee wellness and well-being.

José Gomez, MD FRCPC

Medical Director, Masters of Clinical Science, Pathologists’ Assistant (PA) Program

Dr. José Gomez will serve as Medical Director for the PA Program, succeeding Dr. Elena Tugaleva. In this role, Dr. Gomez will work with Andrew Zhang, the Program Director in overseeing the clinical aspects of the program.

Dr. Gomez joined London Health Sciences Centre and Western University in 2006 from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where he completed a fellowship in Genitourinary Oncology Pathology before working as a staff pathologist. Dr. Gomez underwent residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. He has over 40 peer-reviewed publications and a keen interest in Genitourinary Pathology, grossing, and teaching.

We extend our gratitude to Dr. Elena Tugaleva for serving as Medical Director for the PA Program since July 2015, and notably, during the pandemic. Dr. Tugaleva has contributed extensively to the PA admissions process and to trainee mentorship in autopsy services.

Please join us in extending congratulations and gratitude to our valued colleagues.