Research in the Department of Pathology
In the Department of Pathology, research ranges from basic science investigations of hypertension and cellular communication to more clinically-oriented areas of epidemiology and environmental studies.
Distinguishing it from other basic science disciplines at the College, a significant portion of the Department of Pathology faculty is engaged in clinical patient care at Westchester Medical Center and other affiliated institutions. Faculty perform numerous diagnostic patient care functions, which includes anatomic pathology and its various subsets. In short, any diagnostic test—from chromosomal analysis of solid tumors to the genetic classification of leukemias and lymphomas—that involves a sample of blood, tissue, or other specimen from a patient, requires the diagnostic expertise of a pathologist.
Highlighted below are summaries of current work by research teams in the basic sciences:
Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and pathology, received the 2003 Dean’s Research Award for his work on apoptosis, which applies to a sequence of molecular events leading to cell death, a process by which cells literally commit suicide. He directs the Brander Cancer Research Institute (BCRI) at New York Medical College, working on mechanism of action of anticancer drugs. With colleague Wojciech Gorczyca, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology, he has developed many analytical methods which are now used worldwide contributing to new discoveries in cell biology and cancer research.
Henry P. Godfrey, M.D., Ph.D., professor, focuses on two chronic infectious bacterial diseases, tuberculosis and Lyme disease. His studies of the secreted proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the cause of tuberculosis, aim at analyzing their role in infection of the human host by this intracellular organism. He hopes to develop a clinical diagnostic serological test for identifying patients with active disease using the secreted proteins of the causative organism as a marker. Dr. Godfrey also maintains a vigorous collaboration with Felipe Cabello, M.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and of medicine, studying the regulation of genes coding for surface and other proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease. This collaborative work focuses on the role of these proteins in the ability of this extracellular pathogen to gain a foothold in its hosts and maintain infection despite the host protective responses.
Gary M. Williams, M.D., professor, directs the Medicine, Food and Chemical Safety Program of the Department of Pathology. Working with Michael Iatropoulos, M.D., Ph.D., research professor, he investigates the safety of various types of chemicals to which humans are exposed. The principal focus of his team’s research is on potential effects of chemicals on DNA and the consequences for producing genetic changes and cancer. The group is developing new and more rapid testing procedures to ascertain cellular and molecular responses to toxic chemicals. A related aspect of their research is study of the prevention of chemical toxicity and carcinogenicity. Dr. Williams is looking at the anticarcinogenic properties of compounds commonly ingested by humans, either as food or medicines.
Meena Jhanwar-Uniyal, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology and of neurosurgery, studies Neurosurgery Tumor suppressor genes, p53, PTEN and breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA1, and metastasis related gene, nm23.
Paul Lucas, Ph.D., associate professor of orthopedics and pathology, investigates wound healing and tissue engineering using adult stem cells.
Dumitru A Iacobas, Ph.D., associate professor of Pathology, studies how holistic approaches in understanding organizational principles behind the phenotypic expression and predict consequences of their alteration.