Thoracic Pathology Clinical Fellowship Program

Thoracic Pathology Environment

The section of Thoracic Pathology includes three full time faculty. The section is responsible for the handling of all materials resected from the thorax, including lung/pleura, mediastinum, and heart. These materials are analyzed at UPMC Presbyterian and daily signout with faculty members is accompanied by multiple general surgical pathology and thoracic oriented conferences during the week. In addition to a histology lab which provides routine histochemical and immunohistochemical stains, the department has advanced clinical testing in in situ hybridization, fluorescent in situ hybridization and molecular anatomic pathology. To this end, nearly all thoracic neoplasms are analyzed utilizing these materials. Similarly because the University of Pittsburgh is the largest thoracic transplantation program in the world, laboratory testing is extensively utilized for the immunopathologic analysis of acute and chronic lung rejection, as well as assessment of a variety of rare and unusual infectious organisms. Facilities also include state of the art instrumentation and informatics support, along with several research laboratories.

The section of Thoracic Pathology handles over 5000 specimens per year, each seemingly a difficult and challenging one. In addition, a growing and expanding consultation service, which handles voluminous numbers of cases from around the country and world, allows exposure to rare and unusual, primarily inflammatory, lung conditions. A library containing teaching materials from the upper and lower respiratory tract is available for fellow education, and is shared with fellows in otolaryngic pathology. This library includes numerous teaching sets of rare and unusual pulmonary conditions, which provide basic material to establish a strong foundation in thoracic pathology.

The section has very active collaborations with Jennifer Hunt, MD, Director of Molecular Anatomic Pathology. Her laboratory utilizes loss of heterozygosity analysis, microsatellite instability assessment, methylation assays and DNA sequencing in a translational fashion, allowing integration of histopathological changes in thoracic disease to molecular genetic events and prognostic variables. The importance of this relationship in clinical diagnosis and investigational studies cannot be underestimated. It is a vital and active relationship.