CWRU Pathologists in the News

July 28, 2015



Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Ph.D.
Dept. of Pathology
Case Western Reserve University

Recipient of the Inaugural
Richard J. Fasenmyer
Professor of Immunopathogenesis

October 20, 2014

2014 Harry L. Taylor Faculty Scholar
Award Recipients

Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2014 Harry L. Taylor Faculty Scholar Award for Excellence in Academic Pathology.

Guangju Lou, M.D. Ph.D.

Howard Meyerson, M.D.

Raymond Redline, M.D.

2014 Harry L. Taylor Trainee Scholar
Award Recipients

Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2014 Harry L. Taylor Trainee Scholar Award for Excellence in Academic Pathology.

Eva Bashover

Zhenjian Cai

Hong Hong

Chris Ryder

Yan Zheng

October 23, 2013

Ruthann Pfau, Ph.D., Introduced as Director of Cytogenetics and Prenatal Testing

Dr. Ruthann Pfau, Ph.D. We would like to warmly welcome Ruthann Pfau as Director of Cytogenetics and Prenatal Testing in the Laboratory of Human Genetics in the Department of Pathology at Case Medical Center. Dr Pfau comes to us via Nationwide Children’s Hospital / OSU in Columbus where she just completed a Fellowship in Clinical Molecular Genetics. Dr Pfau previously obtained her PhD at Indiana University, Indianapolis, undertook a Fellowship in Clinical Cytogenetics at Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati and then established extensive experience in the field of cytogenetics as Head of the Cytogenetics Laboratory Division of Human Genetics, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati and as Director of Cytogenetics at the Department of Medical Genetics, Children's Medical Center, Dayton. In a unique pairing of complementary skills, Dr Pfau is also a certified Genetic Counselor. In our world of increasing medical sophistication, we look forward to working with Dr Pfau to further enhance our molecular diagnostic capabilities. Please take the opportunity to welcome her to our department.
September 5, 2013

Six researchers receive CTSC pilot awards

Six faculty members and researchers were awarded the 2013 Clinical & Translational Science Collaborative’s annual pilot awards.

The following individuals and their projects were awarded:

  • Li Li: “Human Beta-Defensin-3 (hBD-3): A Novel Biomarker for Early Colon Neoplasia”
  • Matthew Cooney: “Evaluation of alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR) as a Non-Invasive Diagnostic Biomarker for Prostate Cancer”
  • Micheala Aldred: “New therapeutic approaches in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension”
  • Ann Williams: “Diabetes SystemCHANGE(TM): Community-based peer support for people with diabetes”
  • John Kirwan: “Unlocking the Mechanisms of Type 2 Diabetes Remission After Gastric Bypass: Relationship Between Stimulus Secretion Coupling Mechanism, Beta Cell Morphology, and Incretin Secretion”
  • Efstathios Karathanasis: “Early Detection of Micrometastasis Using a Nanochain and MRI”

For more information on CTSC Pilots, email or
February 15, 2013

Polly Hussman, Ph.D., Joins Anatomic Pathology Education Faculty

Dr. Polly Husmann is currently an assistant professor of Anatomy. She has degrees from the University of Notre Dame (BA 2005) and Indiana University (MA 2009, MS 2010, PhD 2011). She has previously worked at the West Virigina School of Osteopathic Medicine where she taught Gross Anatomy and Microanatomy, and at Ashland University where she taught Forensics and Anatomy & Physiology.
Research Interests
Dr. Husmann's research interests are two-fold. Firstly, she does research in the use of satellite imagery software to assess bone geometry in archaeological populations. This may help provide insight into modern osteoporosis. Dr. Husmann is also interested in Anatomy education. Her current project examines correlations between students' study habits and success in the classroom. She is hopeful that this study will help improve awareness for best study practices. Recently, she has also become interested in the admissions process and its effects on the classroom.

February 24, 2012
Original text appeared February 24, 2012 Dean's Announcement

I hope by now that many of you have seen the full-page advertisement we placed in today's The Plain Dealer. If you have not, it is on the back of the A-section, and congratulates Professors Gary Landreth and James Anderson for their recent research discoveries. As many of you know, Professor Landreth's promi3sing results with bexarotene in mice have inspired tremendous interest and hope among Alzheimer's patients worldwide. Professor Anderson, meanwhile, was part of a prestigious, multi-institutional research team that performed a first-in-humans test of a microchip implant that distributes medication wirelessly. Because of its potential to benefit patients with a wide range of chronic diseases, this work too has drawn tremendous media attention worldwide.

February 22, 2012

Claire W. Michael, M.D., Recruited to Serve as Director of Clinical Research Program and faculty Career Development/Mentorship

The Department of Pathology is pleased to announce that Claire W. Michael, MD, currently professor of pathology at the University of Michigan has agreed to take on the position as professor of pathology, University Hospitals, with a tentative start date of July 1st, 2012.

Dr. Michael was recruited to lead the Clinical Research Program and Faculty Career Development at the Department of Pathology, University Hospitals.

She is certified in anatomic and clinical pathology as well as cytopathology. She received her medical degree from Ain Shams University Medical School, Cairo, Egypt. She completed AP/CP residency at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan and fellowship in cytopathology at Wayne State University, Detroit Medical Center. She joined the University of South Alabama between 1993-1995 as assistant professor and director of cytopathology. Consequently she joined the University of Michigan in 1995 and served as Director of Cytopathology since 1997.

Her clinical expertise is the pathologic diagnosis of disease with special emphasis on cytopathology, breast and pulmonary pathology. Her research interest is focused on cytopathology of effusions, lung and mesothelioma; fine needle aspiration; and the implementation of new techniques to cytopathology. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Claire Michael to the department.

July 5, 2011
Original text appeared July 5, 2011 Dean's Newsletter


Renewal Grant to Examine Role of Novel TNF-like Factors in Disease Inflammation

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestives and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to study intestinal inflammation. The five-year grant from the institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will enable the continued advancement of ground-breaking research, ultimately fueling the development of new treatments for conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD, the Hermann Menges, Jr. Chair in Internal Medicine, and, director of the Digestive Health Institute at University Hospitals Case medical Center, and, Theresa Pizarro, PhD, associate professor of pathology, are principal investigators of the grant

July 5, 2011
Original text appeared July 5, 2011 Dean's Newsletter


Joseph C. LaManna, PhD, professor of Physiology and Biophysics in the school of Medicine with joint appointments in Neurology, Neurosciences, and Pathology, was elected president of the Federation of the American Society of Experimental Biology (FASEB). LaManna was previously serving as vice president of the FASEB before being elected president. FASEB is the nation's largest coalition of biomedical researchers, representing 23 scientific societies and over 100,000 researchers from around the world. FASEB is now recognized as the policy voice of biological and biomedical researchers. Its mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.
LaManna was also elected secretary of the International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM). He previously served as a board member. ISCBFM promotes the advancement of education in the science of cerebral blood flow and metabolism throughout the world.

April 4, 2011
Original text appeared April 4, 2011 Dean's Newsletter


The School of Medicine has received a $1.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study how tumor cells avoid detection by the body's immune system, allowing cancer to develop and spread. The five-year National Institute of Health grant will enable researchers led by Alex Y. Huang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, pathology, and biomedical engineering at the School of Medicine, and a hematologist and oncologist at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital at UHCMC, to examine "immune tolerance." The process keeps tumor cells from being detected by the immune system. The study will also test whether modifying the environment in which tumor cell-immune cell interactions take place, using inflammatory chemokines, will activate unresponsive immune cells into fighting off cancer. The research will provide greater insight into the potential therapeutic utilities of inflammator chemokines, thereby providing a new direction for the development of immunotherapies that are capable of fighting cancer at the most basic cellular level, Dr. Huang says. Researchers will work to leverage the immune system's unique ability to generate immune memory to eradicate any future cancer cell development that is derived from a primary tumor. They will use an advanced imaging technique developed in Dr. Huang's lab, called intravital 2-photon laser scanning microscopy, to directly visualize tumor cell and immune cell interactions in real-time using basic research models.

April 4, 2011
Original text appeared April 4, 2011 Dean's Newsletter


Wen-Quan Zou, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and associate director of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, and his co-workers recently provided new insight into a possible cause of memory loss in patients with Alzheimer's disease. In a manuscript published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on March 10, Dr. Zou and his co-workers explain how the interaction of the amyloid beta42 (Aβ42) peptide with the prion protein (PrP) could be a key factor in the development of Alzheimer's. He led a team of researchers to demonstrate that Aβ binds preferentially to an insoluble form of PrP (iPrP) in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer's, identifying two types of Aβ binding sites on the human PrP molecule. The findings suggest that iPrP is the major PrP species that interacts with Aβ in Alzheimer's disease and that there may be several types of associations between the two molecules. These interactions are likely associated with the deterioration of memory and cognition, he says. Dr. Zou's laboratory previously identified iPrP in uninfected human brains, a form similar to that associated with transmissible prion diseases including Creutzfeldt-Jakob, a degenerative brain disease in humans, and mad cow disease and scrapie in animals.

April 4, 2011
Original text appeared April 4, 2011 Dean's Newsletter


Neena Singh, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology, and her colleagues, have identified the first disease-specific biomarker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), a universally fatal, degenerative brain disease for which there is no cure. The finding, published in the March 9th issue of PLoS ONE, provides a basis for developing a test to diagnose sCJD while patients are still alive. Presently, the only definitive diagnostic test for the disease requires brain tissue be obtained by biopsy or after death. In their study, Dr. Singh and her team found that levels of the iron-transport protein transferrin (Tf) are significantly decreased in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with sCJD well before the end stage of the disease, potentially allowing for earlier diagnosis. The decrease in Tf is significant enough to distinguish sCJD from dementia of non-CJD origin with an accuracy of 80 percent, Dr. Singh reports. When combined with the currently used non-disease-specific biomarker T-tau, the diagnostic accuracy increases to 86 percent, suggesting that the two biomarkers represent separate disease processes, and complement each other as diagnostic biomarkers, Dr. Singh explains. Being a part of the sCJD disease process, CSF Tf is likely to be a more precise indicator of sCJD than the current tests, she says.

February 7, 2011
Original text appeared February 7, 2011 Dean's Newsletter


An on-campus memorial service for Mark A. Smith, PhD, professor of pathology is scheduled for Monday, February 14, 2011, at 5:15 pm. The service will be held in the Amasa Stone Chapel at 10940 Euclid Avenue (Euclid Avenue just west of Adelbert Road). Parking is available in lots on campus; please visit for locations. A reception will follow in the first floor of Crawford Hall. For questions or additional information, please contact: Kathy Malone at (216) 368-3109 or or Barbara Nicol at (216) 368-5515 or

February 7, 2011
Original text appeared February 7, 2011 Dean's Newsletter


Culminating an extensive national search, Clifford V. Harding, MD, PhD, accomplished researcher and pathologist in the fields of immunology, oncology, and infectious disease, has been named chair of the Department of Pathology at the School of Medicine and UH Case Medical center.
Dr. Harding, who became the department's interim chair in May 2008, assumed his new post as department chair in late December. He has been a distinguished member of the School of Medicine and University Hospitals communities for nearly 18 years, as a noted researcher and active educator. He has a long-standing productive NIH-funded research program centered on the immunology of infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis and HIV infection.

In his new role as chair, Dr. Harding will lead a rapidly growing department, building upon his accomplishments as interim chair, which included recruiting 12 new faculty members, enhancing collaboration across multiple university departments, and increasing external research funding by 30 percent. In addition to serving as chair, Dr. Harding is the director of the prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), the founding director of the Clinical and Translational Scientist Training Program (CTSTP), and the founding chair of the Immunology Training Program at the School of Medicine. Dr. Harding joined the School of Medicine in 1993 as an assistant professor of pathology with a secondary appointment as as assistant professor of oncology in the Division of General Medical Sciences.

September 7, 2010
Original text appeared in the September 7, 2010 Dean's Newsletter.


A new sporadic prion protein disease has been discovered. Variably protease-sensitive prionopathy (VPSPr), as it has been named, is the second type of complete sporadic disease to be identified since Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) was reported in the 1920s. The landmark finding from the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center at Case Western Reserve University is published in the August issue of Annals of Neurology.

In 2008, Pierluigi Gambetti, MD, professor of pathology and director of the center, and Wen-Quan Zou, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and associate director at the center, with collaborators, reported the discovery of this novel disease, which affected patients who exhibit only one of the three types of the prion protein gene. In this follow-up study, they discovered that all three genetic groups can be affected by this novel disease which now joins sporadic CJD (sCJD) in displaying this feature. However, VPSPr is associated with an abnormal prion protein that exhibits characteristics very different from those of sCJD, as well as other prion diseases, suggesting that it may be caused by a different mechanism, perhaps more akin to other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. This finding may exemplify, for the first time, the possibility that the prion protein affects the brain with different mechanisms.

September 7, 2010
Original text appeared in the September 7, 2010 Dean's Newsletter.


Mark A. Smith, PhD, professor of pathology was recently recognized with two prestigious awards. The first is the 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology Outstanding Investigator Award, which recognizes mid-career investigators with demonstrated excellence in research in experimental pathology. The second is the 2011 Goudie Lecture and Medal, which is presented to a distinguished active scientist who is making seminal contributions to pathological science and the understanding of disease mechanisms.

March 1, 2010
Original text appeared in the March 1, 2010 Dean's Newsletter.


The Alzheimer's Association has awarded $200,000 over three years to Mark Smith, PhD, Professor of Pathology, for his project, "Xanthine Oxidase in AD: Mechanistic and Therapeutic Opportunities." This research grant award will examine whether inhibitors of xanthine oxidase warrant further study as potential treatments to slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

March 1, 2010
Original test appeared in the March 1, 2010 Dean's Newsletter.


On February 11th, the annual Scholarship in Teaching Awards were presented to 30 faculty, residents, and medical students. The program is designed to recognize contributions to education in the preceding year and promote teaching as a scholarly activity.
2009 "Recognizing Educators" [...]
Graduate Seminar Course Emphasizing Independent and Critical Thinking
Neil Greenspan, MD, PhD
Derek Abbott, MD, PhD

January 4, 2010
Original text appeared in the January 4, 2010 Dean's Newsletter.


Mark A. Smith, PhD, Professor of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has been awarded the distinction American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

As part of the Section on Medical Sciences, Dr. Smith, who is also the executive director of the American Aging Association, was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to the field of neurodegenerative disorders, particularly the role of oxidative stress and cell cycle alterations in Alzheimer's disease.

June 12, 2009
Original text appeared in the June 12, 2009 edition of the Case Daily.

Brian Cobb, assistant professor of pathology, received the 2009 Pfizer-Showell Travel Award at the annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists in May. The award recognizes the professional promise of an early career investigator, and a single award is made each year. Award decisions are based on career progress and the submission of an outstanding abstract selected for presentation at the annual meeting. Cobb is the director of the AAI-John H. Wallace Program for Middle and High School Science Teachers, the 2005 scholar in the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation Scholars Program in the Basic Sciences, and a recipient of a 2008 New Innovator Award from the Office of the Director of the NIH. Learn more.

Seminar Announcements

Pathology Research Seminar Series

Mondays at noon in the Wolstein Research Building Auditorium, unless otherwise noted.

Immunology Seminar Series

Tuesdays at noon in the Wolstein Research Building Auditorium, unless otherwise noted.

Immunology Journal Club

Thursdays at noon in Wolstein Research Building, Room 5136, unless otherwise noted.

Neurodegeneration Journal Club

Fridays at noon in Wolstein Research Building, Room 5136 or the Institute of Pathology Amphitheatre. Please see schedule for details.