Dr. Celina Kleer- Physician Scientist, dedicated mentor, ASIP Outstanding Investigator Awardee 2020

Celina G. Kleer, M.D. is the Harold A. Oberman Collegiate Professor of Pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School. She is the co-director of the Breast Pathology service and principal investigator of an NIH and DOD funded research lab at the Rogel Cancer Center. She was honored with the 2019 AACR Outstanding Investigator for Breast Cancer Research Award, and the 2020 ASIP Outstanding Investigator Award.

Dr. Celina G. Kleer

Dr. Celina G. Kleer received her medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1993. Her passion for disease and pathological changes began as she was a histology teaching assistant, and worked in the laboratory of Dr. Amanda Pellegrino de Iraldi, one of the most renowned scientists in Argentina, where she learned to perform electron microscopy. Upon coming to the U.S., Dr. Kleer began her residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and continued her residency and surgical pathology fellowship training at the University of Michigan, specializing in breast pathology with Dr. Harold A. Oberman, a pioneer in the field, and an advocate for women in medicine. In 1999 she joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Department of Pathology and was extremely fortunate to work with Dr. Sofia D. Merajver, a clinician scientist who inspired her lifetime dedication to breast cancer research. In November 2007 Dr. Kleer became the first Harold A. Oberman Collegiate Professor of Pathology at age 36, and reached the rank of full Professor with tenure in 2011.

In conjunction with her clinical work, Dr. Kleer is the principal investigator of a federally funded research laboratory at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center working to understand mechanisms of breast cancer invasion and metastasis, and to develop useful breast tissue-based biomarkers. Her work bridges basic science and clinical application, with 150 peer reviewed papers. Of particular interest are non-canonical functions of the Polycomb group protein EZH2 in breast cancer metastasis, in particular using novel mouse models and molecular biology approaches. A main focus of the lab has been elucidating the underlying mechanism of metaplastic breast carcinomas, the most aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer.

Dr. Kleer is a dedicated mentor to medical students, graduate students, and physician residents both in the laboratory and in surgical pathology. She has enjoyed mentoring high school and undergraduate students in the lab and instilling the enthusiasm for medicine and science that has fueled her life. In particular, she has been an advocate for women and minority trainees many of whom have been persons of color, or from families where the trainee may have been the first one to attend college. Because of her dedication to education, she received the 2018 Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award by the University of Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, which recognizes mentors across disciplinary boundaries in pursuit of science, from across the University of Michigan.

She is a permanent member of the NIH/NCI Cancer Prevention Study Section and participates in scientific Editorial Boards including serving as Associate Editor of JCI Insight and Breast Cancer Research. She has served in the Editorial Board of AJP for several years. Dr. Kleer is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

Celina Kleer, M.D., honored by AACR, makes history in cancer research

Every year, the American Association for Cancer Research selects one American researcher to recognize for their work which has contributed a new or significant impact on the etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of breast cancer. This prestigious award highlights the most pivotal and game-changing research in the field.

Women in Pathology


Women in Pathology 2021 Spotlight Page

Women in Pathology Month 2021

Women in Pathology is a community within the membership of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) that is focused on issues that face women …

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Women in Pathology Leadership

Confident leadership requires time and self-reflection about one’s current strengths, as well as areas for development. Putting energy and intention toward developing these areas can help us not only build our authentic leadership presence and voice, but also result in greater interpersonal effectiveness and impact. In this interactive 1-hour workshop with Leadership Coach Deb Elbaum, attendees will get clearer about their current leadership skills and identify where they can put attention to be even more successful in their current or future role. Register Today!


Women in Pathology – Leadership Development Event – Part II

Session Description: This 1-hour session will follow-up and build upon Part I of this Leadership Development Event. The Co-Chairs will guide discussion and assist participants in developing practical strategies for improvement of leadership skills and increased confidence when these skills are applied to real-life career situations.


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ASIP Presents our New Group – Women in Pathology

Women in Pathology is a new community within the membership of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) that is focused on issues that face wo…


Women in Pathology is a community within the membership of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) that is focused on issues that face women in science, and is committed to recognizing women’s scientific achievements and fostering their career development and advancement in pathobiology research. Women in Pathology addresses challenges for women in science at every stage of career and life – as trainees, as active biomedical researchers, during transitions into career breaks required for family life, during transitions back into professional life as a mother, and as advanced investigators. Women in Pathology provides innovative opportunities for engagement by women in science to participate in productive networking, development of meaningful professional partnerships, and mentoring.

Women in Pathology is led by a diverse group of scientists – Dr. Pilar Alcaide (Tufts University), Dr. Jennifer Sanders (Brown University), Nakisha Rutledge (PhD candidate at Northwestern University), and Dr. Francisco Carrillo-Salinas (Tufts University). These co-leaders reflect the cross section of scientists within the ASIP membership and provide strong connections to the ASIP membership at-large, its elected leadership, and professional staff. Each of these co-leaders is actively engaged in the ASIP, contributing to the Society’s many activities and events, and currently serves (or has served) in its leadership.

Any ASIP member (woman or man) from any membership category (Regular, NextGen, Trainee, etc.) who supports the mission of Women in Pathology is eligible for membership and is encouraged to join. If you are a current ASIP member and would like to join, please email Lisa McFadden. Otherwise, you can elect to join Women in Pathology when you renew your membership through MemberClicks.

Women in Pathology can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media outlets. We encourage all of our members to like the Facebook page and follow the other social media sites to receive information of interest and updates from the group.

Moving forward, we anticipate that Women in Pathology will contribute substantially to our scientific meetings by co-organizing scientific sessions (in conjunction with various Scientific Interest Groups), as well as educational and career development events (in conjunction with the Committee for Career Development and Diversity and the Education Committee). We also look forward to development of various programs to recognize the research achievements and promote career progression of ASIP members affiliated with Women in Pathology.

About the Leaders of Women in Pathology:


Maria Pilar Alcaide, PhD

Maria Pilar Alcaide, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Immunology at Tufts University School of Medicine (Boston, MA). Dr. Alcaide is a current member of the ASIP Council as a Councilor At-large. She received the ASIP Cotran Early Career Investigator Award in 2018. This award recognizes early career investigators with demonstrated excellence. Dr. Alcaide received her PhD in Molecular Biology from Universidad Autonoma of Madrid, Spain, where she studied the immunological aspects of Trypanosoma cruzi infection, the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease. As a recipient of a Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Alcaide trained in vascular biology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she studied the mechanisms regulating immune cell trafficking to sites of inflammation. After completion of her postdoctoral research training, Dr. Alcaide was appointed to Instructor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, where she successfully competed for a “Pathway to Independence NIH K99/R00 Award”. In September 2011, Dr. Alcaide joined the faculty at the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, and started her independent research program as an Assistant Professor. In May of 2016, she joined the Department of Immunology at Tufts University as an Associate Professor. Dr. Alcaide’s research focuses in understanding the role of T lymphocytes in heart inflammation and their impact in the progression of heart failure, with the ultimate goal of unveiling new pathways that can potentially be targeted in therapeutic useful ways. Her research has been continuously funded by grants from the American Heart Association (AHA), the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and other private foundations. In addition to research, Dr. Alcaide is committed to teaching and mentoring. She is the Director of the Inflammatory Chronic Diseases course at the Tufts Sackler School for Graduate Studies and actively participates in graduate education and mentoring. Most of her trainees have received awards from the AHA, the NIH, FASEB, and ASIP. Dr. Alcaide serves in NIH study sections, including the Mentored Transition to Independence (MTI), which discusses scientific applications of the new upcoming independent research scientists. Dr. Alcaide is also a member of the AHA Early Career Committee, with the mission of promoting career development of young scientists, and a participant mentor of the ASIP Mentoring Program.


Jennifer Sanders, PhD

Dr. Jennifer Sanders is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Pediatrics at Brown University. Her research is focused on the signaling pathways and gene expression networks that regulate fetal liver development and liver regeneration to provide insight into the liver’s response to injury and dysregulated cell growth that occurs during the development of cancer.

Current projects in her laboratory include understanding how epigenetic regulation of the cellular phenotype of fetal hepatocytes contributes to the ability of these cells to repopulate injured adult liver and elucidating mechanisms of hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Dr. Sanders joined ASIP in 2010 and is an ASIP Ambassador, a member of the Program Committee and received a Summer Research Opportunity Program in Pathology award to fund an underrepresented undergraduate in her laboratory this summer. Dr. Sanders received her PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Brown University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Gastroenterology at Rhode Island Hospital and then joined the Pediatrics faculty at Brown University. Dr. Sanders is committed to graduate education and mentoring. She is co-Director of the Pathobiology Graduate Program at Brown University and has been involved in developing grant programs for junior faculty members at Rhode Island Hospital. She also serves as a mentor in a summer enrichment program designed to expose high school students from nontraditional backgrounds to careers in basic and translational research through the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Brown University.


Nakisha Rutledge

Nakisha Rutledge is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University (Chicago, Illinois). Nakisha currently serves on the ASIP Committee for Career Development and Diversity. She received a BS in Biochemistry from Spelman College (Atlanta, GA) in 2013. Her undergraduate research focused on the identification of natural products as potential therapeutic targets for prostate cancer. During the summer of 2013, Nakisha worked as a research assistant at the Perinatology Research Branch at Wayne State University. Nakisha’s PhD research is centered around the characterization of the adhesion molecule CD99L2 as a regulator of inflammation (funded through a National Research Service Award-F31 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute). She has been a member of ASIP since 2017 and received the Promoting Diversity in Science Travel Award to attend the ASIP 2018 Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology. Nakisha strives to increase diversity in STEM through actively mentoring underrepresented minorities through scientific community outreach and volunteerism.


Francisco J Carrillo-Salinas, PhD

Francisco J Carrillo-Salinas, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the department of Immunology at Tufts University School of Medicine (Boston, MA). Dr. Carrillo-Salinas is a current member of the ASIP. He has been the recipient of the ASIP Experimental Pathologist-in-Training (EPIT) Award in 2019, ASIP GALL Trainee Scholar Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Research in 2018 and 2020 and ASIP A.D. Sobel Trainee Scholar Award in 2020. Dr. Carrillo-Salinas received his Master in Neuroscience and PhD in Neuroscience from Universidad Autonoma of Madrid, Spain, where he studied the therapeutic efficacy of cannabinoid derivatives in experimental models of multiple sclerosis, and the role of gut microbiota in a viral model of multiple sclerosis. Then, he joined the Alcaide lab at Tufts University to study the role of gut microbiota alterations in T cell activation and in the progression of heart failure. During this time, Dr. Carrillo-Salinas was awarded with an American Heart Association Postdoctoral fellowship, which contributed to the development of his project. He has made one of his personal and professional objectives to be involved in mentoring activities and the incorporation of under-represented groups to STEM fields. He is a faithful supporter of women in STEM and participates in initiatives helping women bridge the STEM gender gap.


We are excited to welcome a new year and new leadership for Women in Pathology. Please help us welcome Francisco J Carrillo-Salinas, PhD and Jennifer Sanders, PhD as new Co-Leaders of Women in Pathology. Both have a passion for advocacy and will be a great asset. Nakisha Rutledge and Maria Pilar Alcaide, PhD will remain as excellent Co-Leaders.
One of our co-leaders, Linda McManus has retired from academic life and is taking a step back. We want to give special thanks to Dr. McManus for her service and wish her well on her new endeavors.

Linda McManus, PhD

Linda McManus, PhD, is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Pathology and Periodontics at the University of Texas Health San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) where she also serves as the Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Dr. McManus is a longstanding member of the ASIP and has served many years in leadership, including as President, Secretary-Treasurer, member of Council, and Chair of several committees (many years as Education Chair). Dr. McManus also served in the leadership of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), where she was Treasurer. At UT Health San Antonio, Dr. McManus has directed a NIH-sponsored research training program (T32) for postdoctoral fellows in cardiovascular pathobiology for over 2 decades. Presently, she directs a NIH training program (TL1) that supports trainees in translational science, as well as an institutional K12 program (IRACDA) for postdoctoral trainees. She currently serves on the GREAT Group Postdoctorate Leaders Section Steering Committee of the AAMC and represents ASIP on the FASEB Training and Career Opportunities Subcommittee. Dr. McManus received her PhD in Experimental Pathology from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1978, completed postdoctoral training at UT Health San Antonio in 1980, and then joined the pathology faculty. Her main research interests focus on the cellular and molecular regulation of inflammatory events in tissue injury and regeneration.