A Message from the Interim Chair Dr. Kathleen Montone

Published by Kathleen T. Montone, on January 12, 2023

Dear Members of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Community:

I am excited to lead the transition to a new Chair as I take over the helm of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine from Dr. David Roth on an interim basis. I am committed to sustaining the momentum that the Department has developed over the last ten years. The Search Committee will finalize its decision for a new Chair over the next few months, so I want to take this opportunity to reflect on where we are today and what we have accomplished.

Through the strength and capabilities of each of our faculty members and staff, the Department has seen remarkable growth and has solidified its position as one of the leading academic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Departments in the country across each mission area under Dr. Roth's decade-long tenure as Chair.

Over the past ten years, clinical services have expanded and integrated across the health system, including the opening of the HUP Pavilion, in which Dr. Roth's steadfast leadership played a pivotal role. The Department has witnessed a number of remarkable milestones in the Roth era, as evidenced by: the launch of the Center for Personalized Diagnostics (CPD), the development of a number of new Divisions (Hematopathology, Precision and Computational Diagnostics, Diagnostic Innovation), a move to broaden our diagnostic expertise with digital pathology, the integration of a number of entities such as Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, and Princeton, into our daily operations, the FDA approval of CAR-T Cell Therapy, the adoption of precision medicine and digital pathology in routine clinical care, and the efforts under Dr. Mike Feldmann's initiative toward operational harmonization within a federated system we now call PennLab, to name but a few.

The Department has also grown significantly in size by adding more than 50 full-time faculty members since 2011, of whom at least two dozen are full-time researchers. We have added Vice Chair positions for Clinical Services, Research, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, under the direction of Drs. Feldman, Li-San Wang and Nicole Aqui, to account for the importance of these for our operations. The Department's research portfolio remains exemplary: we are renowned for our research in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, cellular therapies for cancer, immunology, diagnostic innovation, and many other areas, and we continue to consistently rank among the top three in the nation in NIH funding.  

At the same time, we are just emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic that has tested us all and that has forced us to rise to the challenges facing our health system and our patients during a time of great need and uncertainty.

The fact that Penn Medicine is a deeply collaborative institution makes this transition a lot easier for me. The Perelman School of Medicine holds close to 80 active T32 training grants, more than any other institution in the country, and we are running 3,000 active clinical trials across Penn Medicine. We are privileged to be able to build on our legacy of close to 130 years as an academic Department.

Finally, I am confident that we will continue to be able to build on the exceptional expertise, talent and skills of all of our Department members—faculty, staff, and trainees alike—who exemplify the Department's culture of responsibility and service. Together with all of you, I am committed to making sure our next Chair will be equally proud to lead this Department.           

Kathleen T. Montone, MD
Interim Chair