The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota Medical School is committed to bringing leading-edge basic and applied research and innovation to patient care.

The research-intensive faculty within the department have several major focus areas including cancer, immunology, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, diabetes, and genetics. The faculty consist of tenured associate and full professors, several of which currently hold endowed chairs or professorships. They interface with University of Minnesota departments and centers such as the Center for Immunology, Masonic Cancer Center, and the Institute for Translational Neuroscience.

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News

Cohn appointed to HHS advisory committee

Claudia Cohn has been appointed the Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability. 

CCACBTSA is a 31-member federal advisory committee that provides advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the Assistant Secretary for Health on a range of policy issues related to blood, blood products, and tissues including:

  • identification of public health issues through surveillance of blood and tissue safety issues;
  • identification of public health issues that affect availability of blood, blood products, and tissues; broad public health, ethical and legal issues related to the safety of blood, blood products, and tissues;
  • exploring the impact of various economic factors (e.g., product cost and supply) on safety and availability of blood, blood products, and tissues;
  • analyzing risk communications related to blood transfusion and tissue transplantation; and
  • identification of infectious disease transmission issues for blood, organs, blood stem cells and tissues.

Education

Neuropathology Fellowship now available

The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota now offers an ACGME accredited Neuropathology Fellowship program

The program will prepare trainees to practice as academic or community-based neuropathologists who are highly qualified for independent practice in neuropathology. The fellowship is designed to guide trainees in the development of diagnostic skills in autopsy and surgical neuropathology, including the use of histopathological and molecular diagnostic methods.

Another program objective is to develop or expand the fellows’ basic neuroscience investigative skills, with particular emphasis on linking that research to neuropathological mechanisms, where possible. State of the art ancillary laboratories, including Molecular Diagnostics and Cytogenetics, expose the fellows to new diagnostic and prognostic studies. While the first year of training is devoted to refining clinical skills, the second year will be dedicated to completing a comprehensive clinical or basic neuroscience research project, culminating in publication of an abstract or paper and/or presentation at a conference.   LMP will sponsor fellows' travel to present their work at national meetings.

The Neuropathology Fellowship will have two tracks, either as a stand-alone program following completion of an AP or AP/CP residency, or as a combined AP/NP residency program.  

Research Spotlight

Nelson to investigate potential biomarker and therapeutic target in breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer, with 266,000 new cases diagnosed in 2018 and an estimated 41,000 deaths from the disease in the U.S.  No clinical biomarkers based on functional mechanisms of invasion and metastasis currently exist largely because breast cancers are heterogeneous malignancies.  LMP assistant professor Andrew Nelson and his fellow investigators hope to change that.Andrew Nelson

Breast cancer biomarkers would be clinically valuable for two reasons, according to Nelson.  “First, to better characterize early stage disease that would benefit most from aggressive management, and second, to identify additional therapeutic approaches that could limit invasion and metastasis,” he said.

Nelson has been awarded a three-year American Cancer Society Clinical Scientist Development Grant totaling $437,000 for “Investigating RHAMM contributions to breast cancer progression.”  He and his colleagues see RHAMM (Receptor for Hyaluronan Mediated Motility) as an attractive candidate biomarker for invasion in breast cancer. RHAMM is a protein with many functions, one of which serves to promote malignant progression in several types of cancer by stimulating cell proliferation and migration.   

“Increased expression of RHAMM is associated with poor outcome in breast cancer patients,” Nelson said.  He and his research team will investigate how RHAMM functions regulate the ability of breast cancer cells to migrate and invade through their surrounding environment, looking for specific functions that could serve as predictive biomarkers in the clinic.  They will also assess the potential of RHAMM as a therapeutic target because phamacologic peptides can disrupt RHAMM binding activity. 

“The collaborative and supportive environment created by LMP and the Masonic Cancer Center has been extremely important to my development and success as a clinician-scientist,” Nelson said.  “We are grateful for this generous funding from the American Cancer Center as well as the continued support of the Minnesota Masonic Charities to pursue new ways to better understand and treat breast cancer.”