EXPERIMENTAL PATHOLOGY

Experimental Pathology

Research in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Penn is one of the three core missions and encompasses many areas of expertise. The Department's research efforts are organized within these broadly defined scientific divisions: the Division of Cancer and Immunobiology, the Division of Neuropathology, and the Division of Diagnostic Innovation.


Research Summary

More than 100 faculty members are engaged in basic science, translational research, and clinical research across the Penn campus, including research programs at the Perelman School of Medicine, the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Department-wide research strengths include neurodegenerative diseases, immunobiology, cancer biology and therapeutics, bioinformatics, diagnostic technologies, and HIV immunology.

Highlights

Research efforts encompass areas of autoimmunity and allergy, bioinformatics, cancer biology, cytomics, cell biology and signal transduction, developmental mechanisms, developmental, stem cell, and regenerative biology, experimental therapeutics, gene therapy and vaccines, genetics and gene regulation, genomics, HIV and emerging infectious diseases, immune health, immunology, immunotherapy, microbiology, neurodegenerative diseases, proteomics, recombination, class switching, and DNA repair.

A particular emphasis is placed on emerging technologies such as bioengineering, biobanking, diagnostics, integrating multiple domains of biomarkers using advanced computational and statistical models, and using big data to improve diagnostic accuracy at the individual level. Another focus is on precision medicine, using genetic and population differences and individual’s history of exposure, translating next-generation diagnostic research to certified tests in the precision medicine framework, and diagnostics for unknown and rare diseases. More recently, the Department has focused efforts on rapid diagnostic development and test deployment during an emerging public health crisis.

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine hosts nationally and internationally recognized research programs covering diverse themes. Major focused strengths and scientific synergies have emerged within the Department in recent years. As part of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Department is consistently among the nation's top-five recipients of funding for biomedical research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

With a longstanding research focus on fundamental biophysical aspects of diseases, the Department is one of the few places where the basic science divisions and clinical practices are still linked, thus bridging the medical school and health services. Resulting advantages to both include providing resources, intellectual and financial; fostering translational research; ensuring that basic science observations are applied towards patient treatment and diagnosis; and establishing accessibility and dialogue between clinicians and basic scientists.

Division of Diagnostic Innovation

With a longstanding research focus on fundamental biophysical aspects of diseases, the Department is one of the few places where the basic science divisions and clinical practices are still linked, thus bridging the medical school and health services. Resulting advantages to both include: providing intellectual and financial resources; fostering translational research; ensuring that basic science observations are applied towards patient treatment and diagnosis; and establishing accessibility and dialogue between clinicians and basic scientists.

Formed in 2021, the Division of Diagnostic Innovation is the newest division in the Pathology Department in response to challenges in new diagnostic needs and opportunities with advances in technology and informatics. Faculty of the division bring expertise in cytomics, high throughput screening, single cell and spatial omics, microfluidics, image and electronic health record analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and big data and cloud computing.  The division is interdisciplinary and has strong ties with Department of Radiology, Institute of Biomedical Informatics, School of Engineering, Penn Center for Innovation, and other communities in the university with similar interests in diagnostic innovation.  Our research faculty collaborate with practitioners, healthcare professionals and labs in the health system to address their diagnostic needs.  The division and the department develops expertise and resources to translate promising inventions from our faculty into clinically certified diagnostic assays deployed in the health system for everyday use.