Marina Nikiforova, MD
Professor of Pathology

Dr. Nikiforova is a member of the Division of Molecular & Genomic Pathology and the Director of the Molecular Genomic Pathology Laboratory..
Office Location:
Room 8033
Division of Molecular Genomic Pathology
Clinical Lab Building, 8th Floor
3477 Euler Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-802-6092
Fax: 412-802-6799


  • MD - 1985, Belorussian State Medical University, Minsk, Belarus

Clinical Expertise

As Director of the UPMC Molecular & Genomic Pathology laboratory and member of the MGP Division, Dr. Nikiforova supervises clinical, developmental and regulatory activities of the MGP laboratory and performs clinical sign out of molecular tests, including next-generation sequencing.

She focuses on applying next generation sequencing (NGS) and other high throughput technologies for molecular diagnostics in the area of molecular oncology and cancer genetics. Dr. Nikiforova's specific areas of expertise are in molecular diagnostics of thyroid cancer and brain tumors. She has authored and co-authored more than 100 publications and several book chapters. Dr. Nikiforova currently serves as Chair of Clinical Practice Committee at the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) and Laboratory Practice Committee at the American Thyroid Association (ATA), and she is on the Board of Directors at the AMP.

Research Interests

Dr. Nikiforova's research efforts are focused on the areas of molecular diagnostics in solid tumors. Her main directions are:
  • developing next-gen sequencing (NGS) based approaches for detection of rearrangements in cancer
  • applying next generation sequencing (NGS) and other high throughput technologies for molecular diagnostics in the area of molecular oncology
  • studying microRNA dysregulation in cancer, with emphasis on identifying novel microRNA markers for thyroid cancer
  • developing novel diagnostic and prognostic molecular markers for brain tumors


The American Board of Pathology - Clinical Pathology

Selected Publications

View Dr. Nikiforova's publications on PubMed

Related to Thyroid Cancer and microRNA Studies

Nikiforova MN, Stringer JR, Blough R, Medvedovic M, Fagin JA, Nikiforov YE. Proximity of chromosomal loci that participate in radiation-induced rearrangements in human cells. Science 2000, 290,138-141.

Nikiforova MN, Caudill CM, Biddinger PW, Nikiforov YE. Prevalence of RET/PTC rearrangements in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and papillary thyroid carcinomas. Int J Surg Pathol 2002, 10:15-22.

Nikiforova MN, Biddinger PW, Caudill CM, Kroll TG, Nikiforov YE. PAX8-PPARγ rearrangement in thyroid tumors: RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analyses. Am J Surg Pathol 2002, 26:1016-1023.

Nikiforova MN, Lynch RA, Biddinger PW, Alexander EK, Dorn II GW, Tallini G, Kroll TG, Nikiforov YE. RAS point mutations and PAX8-PPARγ rearrangement in thyroid tumors: evidence for distinct molecular pathways in thyroid follicular carcinoma. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003, 88: 2318-26.

Nikiforov YE, Steward DL, Robinson-Smith TM, Haugen BR, Klopper JP, Zhu Z, Fagin JA, Falciglia M, Weber K, Nikiforova MN. Molecular testing for mutations in improving the fine needle aspiration diagnosis of thyroid nodules. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009, 94:2092-2098.

Nikiforova MN, Tseng GC, Steward D, Diorio D, Nikiforov YE. MicroRNA Expression Profiling of Thyroid Tumors: Biological Significance and Diagnostic Utility. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008 93(5):1600-8.

Nikiforova MN, Chiosea S, Nikiforov YE. miRNA expression profiles in thyroid tumors. Endocrine Pathology 2009 20(2):85-91.

Dacic S, Kelly L, Shuai Y, Nikiforova MN. miRNA expression profiling of lung adenocarcinomas: correlation with mutational status. Mod Pathol. 2010 Dec;23(12):1577-82.

Nikiforova MN, Gandi M, Kelly L, Nikiforov YE. MicroRNA Dysregulation in Human Thyroid Cells Following Exposure to Ionizing Radiation. Thyroid. 2011 Mar;21(3):261-6.

Yip L, Kelly L, Shuai Y, Armstrong M, Nikiforov YE, Carty S, Nikiforova MN. MicroRNA Signature Distinguishes the Degree of Aggressiveness of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. Ann Surg Oncol. 2011 Jul;18(7):2035-41.

Nikiforov YE, Ohori NP, Hodak SP, Carty SE, Lebeau SO, Ferris RL, Yip L, Seethala RR, Tublin ME, Stang MT, Coyne C, Johnson JT, Stewart AF, Nikiforova MN. Impact of Mutational Testing on the Diagnosis and Management of Patients with Cytologically Indeterminate Thyroid Nodules: A Prospective Analysis of 1056 FNA Samples. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011, 96:3390-7.(recipient of the Endocrine Society’s International Award for Publishing Excellence in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2011).

Nikiforova MN, Wald AI, Roy S, Durso MB, Nikiforov YE. Targeted next-generation sequencing panel (ThyroSeq) for detection of mutations in thyroid cancer. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Aug 26.

Roy S, Durso MB, Wald A, Nikiforov YE, Nikiforova MN. SeqReporter: Automating Next-Generation Sequencing Result Interpretation and Reporting Workflow in a Clinical Laboratory. J Mol Diagn. 2014 Jan;16(1):11-22.

Dettmer MS, Perren A, Moch H, Komminoth P, Nikiforov YE, Nikiforova MN. MicroRNA profile of poorly differentiated thyroid carcinomas: new diagnostic and prognostic insights. J Mol Endocrinol. 2014 Mar 6;52(2):181-9.

Related to Brain Tumors

Horbinski C, Kofler J, Kelly L, Murdoch GH, Nikiforova MN. The diagnostic utility of IDH1/2 mutation analysis in routine clinical testing of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded glioma tissues. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2009 68:1319-1325.

Horbinski C, Kelly L, Nikiforov YE, Durso MB, Nikiforova MN. Detection of IDH1 and IDH2 Mutations by Fluorescence Melting Curve Analysis as a Diagnostic Tool for Brain Biopsies. J Mol Diagn 2010 J Mol Diagn. 2010 Jul;12(4):487-92

Horbinski C, Oakley GJ, Cieply K, Mantha GS, Nikiforova MN, Dacic S, Seethala RR The prognostic value of Ki-67, p53, epidermal growth factor receptor, 1p36, 9p21, 10q23, and 17p13 in skull base chordomas. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2010 Aug;134(8):1170-6.

Pollack IF, Hamilton RL, Sobol RW, Nikiforova MN, Lyons-Weiler MA, Laframboise WA, Burger PC, Brat DJ, Rosenblum MK, Holmes EJ, Zhou T, Jakacki RI. IDH1 mutations are common in malignant gliomas arising in adolescents: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Childs Nerv Syst. 2011 Jan;27(1):87-94.

Horbinski C, Kofler J, Yeaney G, Camelo-Piragua S, Venneti S, Louis DN, Perry A, Murdoch G, Nikiforova M. Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 1 Analysis Differentiates Gangliogliomas from Infiltrative Gliomas. Brain Pathol. 2011 Feb 14. Sep;21(5):564-74.

Medical School - 1998, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Hamilton RH. Molecular Diagnostics of Gliomas. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2011 May;135(5):558-68.

Horbinski C, Nikiforova MN, Hobbs J, Bortoluzzi S, Cieply K, Dacic S, Hamilton RL. The importance of 10q status in an outcomes-based comparison between 1p/19q fluorescence in situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction-based microsatellite loss of heterozygosity analysis of oligodendrogliomas. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2012 Jan;71(1):73-82.