Pathologist Investigator Residency / Research Training Program - PIRRT Current Trainees

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Katherine Killian, DO

Kat grew up in Tennessee and completed her BA in Japanese and World Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In undergrad, she participated in research focused on methods of Pseudomonas's virulency and exposing potential mechanisms involved in its survival and growth rate, specifically in Cystic Fibrosis patients.

Kat is spending her PIRRT research year working with Dr. Tim Oury and Dr. Timothy Perkins, investigating the role of the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) in lung disease. This transmembrane protein receptor has been historically linked to several inflammatory mediated chronic diseases and is most abundantly expressed in the lungs. She has also been awarded a position in the Pittsburgh Innovation in Collaborative Training of Residents alliance, or PICTOR alliance program. She has been granted an R-38 in the basic translational track to pursue the role of RAGE in airway inflammation.

Kat plans on pursuing a career as a physician scientist focused on obstructive airway disease and pulmonary pathophysiology. In her free time she likes to spend time with her cats and her husband playing video games, table-top gaming, mushrooming, and gardening.

Dimitrios Korentzelos, MD

Dimitrios was born in Greece and obtained his M.D. from the School of Health Sciences in the University of Patras. While in medical school, he developed an early interest in Pathology as well as Cancer Biology. After finishing a year of pathology training in Greece, he pursued a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center focusing on prostate cancer under the mentorship of Timothy C. Thompson, PhD. His main area of interest was the development of resistance mechanisms to androgen receptor inhibition therapy as well as the emergence of treatment-induced neuroendocrine prostate cancer. Through the collaboration with a genitourinary pathologist, Patricia Troncoso, MD, his passion for Pathology was fueled even further and in 2018 he started his Anatomic and Clinical Pathology residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dimitrios is conducting his PIRRT research in the lab of Alan Wells, MD, DMSc. His focus is on metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer immunotherapy in an effort to link the underlying biology to the disease and develop novel therapeutic approaches. Dimitrios plans on pursuing fellowships in Genitourinary Pathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology. Outside of the lab/hospital, he enjoys playing tennis at Highland Park, watching films and reading literature.

Lauren Skvarca, MD, PhD (University of Pittsburgh 2017)

Lauren grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and completed her B.S. in biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. She then moved to Pittsburgh where she completed her MD and PhD degrees at the University of Pittsburgh/CMU Medical Scientist Training Program. Her graduate work with Neil Hukriede focused on elucidating the mechanisms of renal regeneration during acute kidney injury in zebrafish. During medical school clerkships, she became interested in understanding how complications during pregnancy affect the kidney and can ultimately predispose women to chronic kidney disease later in life. This fueled her interest in placental pathology, and she is currently interested in pursuing an academic career in pediatric and perinatal pathology. When not in the lab, she can be found exploring the many beautiful Pennsylvania state parks with her family.

Lauren is completing her PIRRT research year at Magee Womens Research Institute under the co-mentorship of Carl Hubel Ph.D. and Janet Catov Ph.D. Her main project focused on using digital pathology to evaluate novel immunohistochemical markers of placental vascular alteration in preeclampsia. She was excited to present her work as a poster presentation at the Pathology Informatics Summit, for which she received a travel award from the Association of Pathology Informatics, in May 2019. Upon returning to residency training as a PGY2, she will apply for subspecialty/fellowship training in perinatal pathology.

Tanner Freeman, MD, PhD(Vanderbilt University MD/PhD, 2016)

Tanner Freeman, MD, PhD, grew up in Houma, LA prior to attending the University of Notre Dame and obtaining his B.S. in Biochemistry. While at Notre Dame, he worked in the laboratory of Richard Taylor, PhD on the total organic synthesis of a putative anti-cancer agent. Tanner then joined the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) in which he earned his PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology in R. Daniel Beauchamp's laboratory. For his thesis work, Tanner focused on mouse models of colorectal cancer and the role of TGF-? signaling in tumor progression. It was through his PhD training that Tanner found his love for Pathology as he worked with a gastrointestinal pathologist, Kay Washington MD, PhD, on his project and appreciated the impact that pathologists are able to have both in patient care and advancing research. Tanner's current research interests lie in understanding the signaling pathways implicated in normal differentiation and avenues to restore these pathways in transformed tissues. Tanner plans on pursuing fellowships in Molecular Genetic Pathology and Gastrointestinal Pathology. During his training in Nashville, he married Megan Culler Freeman, a fellow MSTP trainee and budding virologist, who is currently pursuing Pediatric residency training at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. In their spare time, they enjoy culinary adventures whether it be trying a new recipe at home or dining at a recently discovered restaurant, walking their dog (Yazoo), and exploring the Bourbon Trail. Tanner also enjoys running and Notre Dame Football.

Tanner is currently finishing his first year back in the residency program after his PIRRT research year.