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Translational Pathology Shared Resource Created

May 6, 2011 | Bill Snyder

Kelli Boyd, DVM, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is building a “pathology powerhouse” to translate basic science discoveries into new treatments and prevention of human disease.

The Translational Pathology Shared Resource will consolidate and expand the existing Human Tissue Acquisition and Pathology Shared Resource and the Immunohistochemistry Core, and will add Comparative Pathology services and expertise.

By increasing the efficiency of space, personnel and equipment, the resource will offer new technologies and services to researchers who work with animal models and human tissue, and it will enable the much-needed expansion of human tissue acquisition and banking.

“We’re bringing human pathologists and veterinary pathologists to work together,” said Mary Zutter, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for Integrative Diagnostics, who will serve as scientific director of the new resource.

From animal models and human tissue to imaging and analysis, “it’ll be sort of a one-stop (shop) with expertise in all those areas that can help you,” she said.

Annette Kim, M.D., Ph.D.

The reorganization was made possible by institutional support from the Medical Center, including the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the Division of Animal Care and the Office of Research, as well as a $1.3 million federal stimulus supplement to the Cancer Center Support Grant.

“We also have a great team of pathologists leading this,” said Kelli Boyd, DVM, Ph.D., associate professor of Pathology in the Division of Comparative Medicine. “I think that is going to really bolster the service as far as the scientific impact we can make within the Vanderbilt community.”

Boyd directs Comparative Pathology and Research Histology services, which incorporates the existing Immunohistochemistry Core.

An expert in the pathology of genetically engineered mice, she was associate director of the Veterinary Pathology Core at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis before coming to Vanderbilt in 2009.

Mary Zutter, M.D.

Also in 2009, the arrival of tissue banking expert Annette Kim, M.D., Ph.D., made possible the establishment of Vanderbilt’s first bone marrow tissue bank dedicated to the study of blood cancers. An assistant professor of Pathology in the Division of Hematopathology, Kim joins Justin Cates, M.D., Ph.D., as co-director of the Human Tissue Acquisition services.

Some of the de-identified tissues acquired for Vanderbilt researchers are being procured in collaboration with the Western Division of the National Cancer Institute’s Cooperative Human Tissue Network, a National Cancer Institute program based at Vanderbilt that also collects and distributes biospecimens to researchers around the country.

Kay Washington, M.D., professor of Pathology, is the Western Division’s principal investigator and Kerry Wiles is the coordinator.

Future directions and strategic planning for the resource will be guided by a faculty oversight committee chaired by Vanderbilt’s associate vice chancellors for Research, Susan Wente, Ph.D. and Gordon Bernard, M.D.

Learn more about the Translational Pathology Shared Resource.