State of the Department

Published by David B. Roth, MD, PhD, on February 15, 2015

The launch of our new website provides a good moment to reflect on what has happened over the last year and where we are going as a Department.

Because of our outstanding faculty, our research is going strong, with impactful publications coming out every week. Our NIH portfolio is now in first place, ahead of Johns Hopkins by about 800K. Two large NIH grants were announced last year: a renewal and a new grant, to the tune of $10 and $12.6 million, respectively.

In fact, our budgetary position remains solid: the Dean’s budget meetings for the new fiscal year went well, and we made budget this year—thanks to the strong efforts of everyone in the Department. Penn leadership understands our financial issues and is invested in ensuring our continued success. Immunotherapy, Cancer/CPD, and Pathology Informatics—these are all on the Dean’s radar, as an interview with him and CEO Ralph Muller in a recent Penn Medicine Magazine [PDF] confirms.

I can tell you that over the last year, we have made significant investments in increasing our staff, which, in turn, has made the Penn Medicine clinicians happy. Our outreach efforts continue and are beginning to bear fruit, including connections with such faraway places as Guangzhou and Shanghai, China. Our investments in new infrastructure will help, too. The new Anatomic Pathology facilities on 6 Founders have opened and they are ready for business. The Apheresis/Infusion unit expansion opened in September and the new chemistry equipment at PPMC, PAH, and HUP is live. We have expanded into New Jersey with laboratory services for Woodbury Heights and Cherry Hill.

Image of New Surgical Pathology Suite

All of these successes can be attributed in large part to the tireless commitment by our colleagues, who have been willing to take on leadership roles. I am especially grateful to Drs. Cooper, Montone, Pear, Spinner, and McGrath, who have all volunteered to shoulder additional responsibilities, and I would especially like to thank Dr. Vivianna Van Deerlin for her steadfast support during our times of transition. 

To recognize individual faculty contributions, we have promoted three faculty members, Drs. Mourelatos, Levine, and Pizzini, and were able to create two new endowed Chairs, the Richard W. Vague Professorship in Immunotherapy for Carl June and the Barbara and Edward Netter Professorship in Cancer Gene Therapy for Bruce Levine. We have also recruited eight new faculty members to guarantee that we can synergize the Department’s strength and potential for years to come. 

Another important trend is that diagnostics on the whole is on the rise. We need to stay at the forefront of this development. Penn is a great and innovative place, so I am confident we have what it takes to shape the future of pathology together.

I will be in touch with more details for you over the next coming months in this forum, so stay tuned!

(Image above: new state-of-the-art surgical pathology suite in 6 Founders)


David B. Roth, MD, PhD, is the Simon Flexner Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these blog columns are those of the authors or other attributed individuals and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Department, Penn Medicine, or the University of Pennsylvania. Health information is provided for educational purposes and should not be used as a source of medical advice or diagnosis.

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