Webinar: Autopsy Insights into the Pathogenesis of COVID-19

Drs. Buja and Vander Heide will discuss up-to-date information regarding the pathobiology of COVID-19 based on their personal experiences conducting autopsies on COVID-19 positive patients in Houston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana, respectively. In addition, they will review information from autopsy series starting to emerge from other US cities as well as other countries. The speakers will present the actual evidence that COVID-19 is a systemic viral disease with multifaceted abnormalities of the lungs and the heart.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the gross and histopathologic lesions in the lungs, heart, and other organs of fatal cases of COVID-19
  2. Recognize the major cardiac pathology findings in COVID-19
  3. Recognize the importance of thrombosis in COVID-19

Featured Speakers

Dr. Buja is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the McGovern Medical School of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. His scholarly focus is on pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. He is an advocate of the importance of the autopsy in medicine and has written several timely articles advocating for the autopsy.


Dr. Vander Heide is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. His scholarly focus is on pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. He is an advocate of the importance of the autopsy in medicine.


Recommended Reading

Dani Zander, MD – ASIP President

Dr. Dani Zander is the MacKenzie Chair of Pathology at the University of Cincinnati and serves as the Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and UC Health’s Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Dr. Zander is a long-time member of the American Society for Investigative Pathology and has served in many leadership roles over the years. She is a long-time member of the ASIP Council, has served as Secretary-Treasurer, and is the current ASIP President. In 2019, Dr. Zander and her husband, Dr. Erik Zander (Adjunct Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine) provided a substantial gift to the ASIP to establish the Dani and Erik Zander Junior Faculty Travel Award. This award will provide support for one or two young faculty members each year to attend ASIP Scientific Meetings.

Dr. Zander earned her MD at the University of Florida, completed an internship in Pathology at Cornell University Medical Center/New York Hospital, and then returned to the University of Florida to complete her residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. Dr. Zander has held tenured faculty and leadership positions at the University of Florida College of Medicine, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Penn State College of Medicine, and the University of Cincinnati. In 2008, she completed the prestigious Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program. She has also served on many DOD and NIH study sections, and on editorial boards for multiple scientific journals, including a stint as Associate Editor for The American Journal of Pathology. Immediately prior to joining the faculty at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, she spent almost ten years as Chair of the Department of Pathology at Penn State College of Medicine. She is the primary designer of the Pathology Leadership Academy, a national leadership course that she has directed and co-directed for several years, which is sponsored by the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC). Dr. Zander recently completed her term as the elected Chair of the Programmatic Panel for the Department of Defense’s Lung Cancer Research Program.  She has also held multiple elected officer positions for the Association of Pathology Chairs and currently serves as the Chair of the Leadership Development and Diversity Committee for this organization.

Dr. Zander is an internationally recognized lung pathologist, and she maintains an active clinical practice in diagnostic pulmonary pathology and cytopathology. In addition, Dr. Zander enjoys her role as a teacher of residents and medical students, and continues to pursue research on lung diseases. She has authored >100 original research articles, reviews, and book chapters, primarily focused upon pulmonary pathology, including many dealing with lung cancer and lung transplantation. She has edited four books on lung pathology and molecular pathology, including the recent second edition of Pulmonary Pathology published in 2017. 

‘Academic’ Means More Than Tenure Track

Gina Shereda

Taken from https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/04/13/we-should-stop-categorizing-careers-academic-vs-nonacademic-opinion

About a year ago, I made a career transition into professional and academic development support for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. I have found the work immensely fulfilling, and as with any other new position, I spent quite a bit of time in my first several months trying to catch myself up to speed on the lingo of the profession.

In particular, given the amount of programming that we develop for graduate students exploring diverse career options, I started tuning in more to how people were talking about the career landscape for doctoral students. As I read more of the literature, I started noticing the frequency of references to “academic vs. nonacademic” positions. As someone who obtained a Ph.D. in microbiology and ultimately pursued a career in higher education administration, this terminology was not new to me; I had heard it many times during my own doctoral education as I weighed various career options. That said, I started to realize that this phrase presents a false dichotomy for students who are considering diverse career options.

To highlight what I mean, I’ll briefly describe my own career trajectory. I knew when I defended my dissertation in 2013 that a tenure-track faculty position was not for me. I was strongly committed to science and teaching, but my heart was not at the bench. After moving to Michigan to be closer to my husband, I cold emailed a physics professor at the University of Michigan to learn more about an educational reform project that he was leading and asked if I could be involved in any way. That email led to my first full-time administrative position at the university as a project coordinator. The connections that I made led to two years as an instructional consultant at the university’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, then a position supporting undergraduates as the associate director of the Science Learning Center.

During each of those transitions, I reflected on the new skills that I had developed in each role. As a project coordinator, I learned how to lead a diverse team, keep a complex project with multiple moving parts on track, manage a budget and drive organizational change. As an instructional consultant, I gained expertise not only with one-on-one consultations, but also in developing and executing complex programs and events. As an associate director, I managed full-time professional staff.

I also began to carefully track which pieces of my work I found most energizing and fulfilling, as well as those that left me drained. That reflection on my skills and the work that I love to do, along with a long-standing commitment to graduate students and graduate student mental health, led me to UM’s Rackham Graduate School, where I am now happily developing programming for graduate students and postdocs in STEM.

Changing the Discourse

Why am I describing my own career path? Over the course of seven years, I have held four positions that have either required or been strongly benefited by a Ph.D., and each of them has been in the academy. To say this another way, they are positions that are non-tenure-track but academic in nature. One goal that I have for writing this piece is to start to change the discourse of academic vs. nonacademic careers, because it omits a category of fulfilling careers that students might be interested in pursuing.

In a previous “Carpe Careers” essay, “Academic Careers You May Not Have Considered,” David McDonald highlights several academic but non-tenure-track positions including tenure-like roles, library affairs, research administration, diversity and inclusion work, student affairs, academic affairs, institutional research and assessment, and campus relationship building. In another excellent piece, Chris Golde delves further into the wide variety of options open to Ph.D. students in academic administration. One thing I particularly like about the latter article is the section on the value added to such positions by having a Ph.D. Although it won’t be required in every job, individuals with a Ph.D. bring a distinct perspective and skill set to the work required. Aside from the positions and roles I have already mentioned, I also have Ph.D. colleagues at the University of Michigan who work in technology transfer, program evaluation, science policy and outreach, and in research scientist positions in laboratories on campus.

So how exactly does one prepare for academic positions beyond the tenure track? Golde provides great recommendations — to attend career panels, conduct informational interviews and find ways to actually do some of the work that individuals in these positions do on a daily basis. To these, I would add that you should also try connecting with relevant professional organizations. For example, if you are exploring faculty development, you might request to be added to the email list for the Professional and Organizational Development Network, or POD. If you are interested in a position like mine that supports graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, I would explore the resources of the Graduate Career Consortium and Council of Graduate Schools as a starting point. You can unearth more of these professional organizations by adding this question to the informational interviews that you’re conducting. (Because you’ve already set those up, right? If not, see this excellent resource from ImaginePhD to get started.)

Additionally, I encourage students to utilize online career exploration tools like myIDP, ImaginePhD and Versatile PhD. MyIDP is geared toward those in the sciences and provides in-depth assessments on skills, interests and values to help you explore 20 different career paths, many of which can be found in the academy. ImaginePhD, while broadly applicable across disciplines, is more tailored toward students and postdocs in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to providing skills, interests and values assessments like myIDP, the creators of ImaginePhD collaborated with various developers to create a library of job simulations, which can be found on the InterSECT website. (Several of these simulations are for positions in the academy.) A third tool called Versatile PhD provides a tremendous amount of free content, and if you have access to an institutional membership, you might explore the real-life examples, which document sample job postings, as well as full application packets from people who secured those jobs.

As you use these career development tools, continue to read as many job postings as you can to get a sense of what institutions are looking for in these academic, non-tenure-track positions. When I have run workshops on these tools in the past, students comment on how encouraged they are to see the breadth of diverse careers available to them based on their distinct skills and interests. They also tend to cite values clarification activities like this one described by Melanie Sinche (author of Next Gen PhD) as particularly enlightening when thinking about the kind of work that they see themselves doing in the long term.

Last, I encourage students to seek out experiential learning opportunities, even where they might not be broadly advertised. Examples of such opportunities that might exist on your campus include internships, immersion experiences, project or contract-based work, job shadowing, or volunteering. If you are interested in a specific type of academic work (such as educational development, advising or technology transfer), reach out to the unit on your campus or at a nearby institution that does that work and see how you can get engaged.

Such experiences can provide you with a more in-depth and structured opportunity to explore a career of interest. They can help you gain critical skills that you might not otherwise develop in your Ph.D. program, and they can ultimately lead to connections that are instrumental in landing a position in a particular field. Many students who have participated in internship programs through Rackham explain that although it first seemed daunting to take a few weeks or even months away from their dissertation research for an internship, the benefits from the experience far outweighed the risks.

The students who tend to be most successful in such internships set clear expectations with both their site advisers and dissertation advisers, make connections with people across the company (including conducting informational interviews), and think ahead of time about the goals that they have for the internship experience. Experiential learning opportunities are available for academic, non-tenure-track positions, but they might not be as clearly posted as other opportunities, or you might have to help craft an experience where a formal program does not exist. If you have the option, I would recommend setting up an appointment with an adviser (ideally, a career adviser) in your department or graduate school to discuss the options that are available, and how you might start to reach out to units that could help you craft one of these opportunities.

When I think back to what started to shape my career, I realize that it was a love of teaching. I sought teaching opportunities as an undergraduate, and as a graduate student, I took courses in pedagogy and pursued a teaching certificate through the Delta program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the wealth of academic jobs available to me that would allow me to teach in some capacity. But every role that I have held since graduate school has included a teaching component.

My Ph.D. colleagues across the university would likely tell you something similar if asked the same question. Maybe it wasn’t teaching, but they were drawn to academe because of a love of research, supporting students, engaging in outreach opportunities or something else entirely. Although many of us recognize this only in retrospect, thinking about what you find most fulfilling in your current work, completing values assessments like those mentioned above and/or reading a resource like Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans might help you identify these themes earlier.

The truth is that colleges and universities can support myriad career paths and not just tenure-track faculty positions. If you find yourself drawn to aspects of academe but do not want such a position, take heart that you can find many rewarding careers in the academy beyond the professoriate.

***Interested in contributing original content to the blog? If so, email Morgan at mpreziosi91@gmail.com

Asma Nusrat, MD – Women in Pathology

Asma Nusrat, MD

Dr. Asma Nusrat has been a member of The American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) since 2003, and is currently serving on the ASIP Council as immediate Past President (July 2019-June 2020). Dr. Nusrat served as President of the Society from July 2018-June 2019. Prior to that, Dr. Nusrat provided leadership to the ASIP on the Program Committee and as Program Committee Chair, as a long-time member of the ASIP Council, and she continues to serve as a leader of the ASIP Vascular and Mucosal Pathobiology Scientific Interest Group.

Dr. Asma Nusrat earned her medical degree from the University of Punjab (Lahore, Pakistan), and then completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA). Dr. Nusrat remained at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital for a fellowship in Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary pathology, as well as a research fellowship in epithelial pathobiology. While at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Nusrat began investigating fundamental mechanisms of epithelial barrier regulation and wound repair. She became an Instructor in Pathology in 1992 and then an Assistant Professor in 1997 at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nusrat was subsequently recruited to Emory University (Atlanta, GA) where she rose to the rank of Professor in 2007. In 2015, Dr. Nusrat was recruited to the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School (Ann Arbor, MI) as the Aldred Scott Warthin Professor and Director of Experimental Pathology. She is now the F. Peyton Rous Professor of Pathology and continues to serve as Director of Experimental Pathology.

The research in Dr. Nusrat’s laboratory focuses on the biology of epithelial cell migration and mechanisms by which epithelia regulate intercellular junctions and transcellular permeability. In the intestine, for example, surgery and inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and infectious colitis are associated with ulceration and increased permeability across the epithelium. Rapid resealing of small mucosal wounds occurs by migration of epithelial cells, a process termed “restitution.” Restitution has also been observed in other systems such as renal, urinary and pulmonary epithelia. The long term objective of Dr. Nusrat’s laboratory is to (i) determine molecular mechanisms of epithelial cell migration, (ii) identify factors that promote restitution, and (iii) ascertain mechanisms of intercellular junction regulation and permeability across the epithelium. Their hypothesis is that the migration of intestinal epithelial cells during wound closure is driven by lamellipodial extensions at the leading edge and is dependent on dynamic cytoskeletal remodeling with modification of intercellular junctions. To model these events they have taken an in vitro reductionist approach using cultured epithelial cell lines. They have shown that Scatter factor/hepatocyte growth factor markedly enhances intestinal epithelial cell migration and wound closure by modifying intercellular junctions and focal cell matrix associations of epithelial. Epithelial cells, unlike other cell types such as fibroblasts and hematopoietic cells, migrate as sheets of cells with modified intercellular junction associations. Dr. Nusrat’s group found that lamellipodia of migrating intestinal epithelial cells are enriched in actin filaments and actin modifying proteins, villin and gelsolin. Such actin binding proteins likely play an important role in mediating rapid F-actin turnover, lamellipodial extrusion and epithelial cell migration. To investigate these possibilities they have generated epithelial cell lines overexpressing gelsolin. They have also shown that the Rho family of small GTP binding proteins play an important role in regulating permeability across the intestinal epithelium by influencing the organization of tight junction associated proteins and the actin cytoskeleton. They are dissecting the mechanisms by which the Rho family of GTP binding proteins regulate organization of intercellular junctions and their associations with the cytoskeleton. Potential benefits of this work include a better understanding of epithelial cell migration and regulation of intercellular junctions/permeability across the epithelium. Such an understanding could facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies aimed at enhancing epithelial cell migration and wound closure.

Dr. Nusrat’s laboratory has been continuously funded for many years through grants from the NIDDK/NIH and private foundations, including the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and has been extremely productive. Dr. Nusrat has published >200 original articles, reviews, and book chapters, including 17 papers in The American Journal of Pathology. Dr. Nusrat is frequently invited to speak at international symposia related to her field, and has served on numerous NIH Study Sections. Dr. Nusrat is also a practicing Gastrointestinal and Liver Pathologist and has contributed to mentoring and teaching graduate and medical students, residents, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty. She has directly supervised 5 graduate students, 32 postdoctoral fellows, and 27 clinical fellows. She served on dissertation committees for 25 other graduate students, and has mentored 7 junior faculty. She is an Associate Editor for Molecular Biology of the Cell, previously served as Associate Editor for Gastroenterology and The American Journal of Pathology, and served as Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Nusrat is an elected member and previous President of the Pluto Society (the American Association of University Pathologists).

Pat D’Amore, PhD

Patricia A. D’Amore, PhD, MBA

Patricia A. D’Amore grew up in Everett, Massachusetts and received a PhD in biology from Boston University in 1977. She conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Physiological Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she was appointed Instructor in 1979 and Assistant Professor in 1980. Dr. D’Amore returned to Boston in 1981 to join Dr. Judah Folkman in the Program in Vascular Biology at Boston Children’s Hospital (then the Surgical Research Laboratories), where she has since served as a Research Associate in the Department of Surgery. Additionally, she obtained an MBA from Northeastern University in 1987. Dr. D’Amore was appointed Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School in 1989. In 1998 she became Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and also joined Schepens Eye Research Institute (an affiliate of Harvard Medical School) as a Senior Scientist. In 2012 she was appointed the Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Director of Research at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear. In 2014 she was appointed Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, as well as the Director of the Howe Laboratory and the Associate Chief for Ophthalmology Basic and Translational Research in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Dr. D’Amore is an internationally recognized expert of vascular growth and development, and has been at the forefront of angiogenesis research for over three decades. Among her foremost transformative contributions is the identification of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) as the elusive “Factor X” that causes pathological blood vessel growth in blinding neovascular eye diseases. These investigations formed the scientific foundations of anti-VEGF therapies, which were first approved for clinical use in 2004 and are currently used to treat various cancers and intraocular vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dr. D’Amore also developed a widely used mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy, which has served as the cornerstone of many basic scientific investigations of vascular development and preclinical studies of vascular-targeting agents. More recently, Dr. D’Amore’s studies have also uncovered important physiological roles of vascular growth factors – yielding crucial insight into the safe use of anti-angiogenic therapies. Her current research focuses on understanding the regulation of the development and stabilization of the microvasculature. She is also investigating the pathogenesis of AMD with a focus on inflammation.

The D’Amore laboratory has a long-standing interest in the regulation of vascular development and pathology. One major area has involved investigating the role and regulation of VEGF in adult vascular and non-vascular cells. More recently, her laboratory has been examining the regulation of inflammation at the level of the vasculature. The laboratory is currently focused in three general areas. Two of those relate to understanding the molecular basis of blood vessel stabilization. One project is examining the role of Notch signaling in the stabilization of the microvasculature. A related project is aimed at elucidating other mechanisms that may mediate pericyte stabilization of the capillaries. Studies in both research areas are utilizing genetic model as well as tissues culture systems. A second project is examining a novel endothelial-specific molecule endomucin in the regulation of leukocyte-endothelial interactions, a central and early step in the inflammatory process. Dr. D’Amore’s research program has been very productive. She has published more than 235 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters, and is editor or co-editor of four books. Dr. D’Amore is also recognized as an exceptional mentor and she has supervised the research of >60 trainees over the years.

Dr. D’Amore is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Alcon Research Institute Award, the Cogan Award from ARVO, the Rous-Whipple Award from the American Society of Investigative Pathology, the Endre A. Balazs Award from the International Society for Eye Research, and the Proctor Medal from ARVO. For her contributions to the development of anti-angiogenic therapy for retinal disease, Dr. D’Amore was a co-recipient of the 2014 António Champalimaud Vision Award, the highest distinction in ophthalmology and visual science. In 2018, Dr. D’Amore was elected as a Fellow of American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Medical Sciences.

Dr. D’Amore currently serves the American Society for Investigative Pathology as Vice President, and she will become the President-elect in July 2020. She is a long-time member of the ASIP Council, and previously served as Chair of the ASIP Publications Committee.

Patricia A. D’Amore, PhD, MBA
Charles L. Schepens Professor of Ophthalmology
Harvard Medical School
Vice Chair, Basic and Translational Research, Department of Ophthalmology
Co-Director, AMD Center of Excellence
Member, PhD Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Harvard University
Mass. Eye and Ear
Director, Howe Laboratory
Associate Chief of Basic and Translational Research
MGH ECOR Ophthalmology Representative
Senior Scientist (Schepens Eye Research Institute)

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Mass. Eye and Ear Profile

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