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

Jan Czyzyk Joins LMP 

The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology announces the appointment of Jan Czyzyk, MD to our renal pathology staff effective March 31. He will be sharing the renal pathology service with Dr. Bu including conference presentations and teaching.

Jan CzyzykCzyzyk, an associate professor, most recently was on the faculty in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester, New York. He received his MD from the University of Warsaw, Poland and spent three years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Czyzyk received his anatomic pathology residency and fellowship training in renal pathology at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was a research scientist at Yale for ten years prior to taking a faculty position in Rochester.

Czyzyk’s research is focused on autoimmune diseases, particulary Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), and renal disease. T1D is characterized by inflammatory destruction of small clusters of insulin producing cells called the islets of Langerhans. Czyzyk and his colleagues study how both normal function of the islets and their inflammation are regulated by islet sensing signals that are generated in the surrounding exocrine tissue - a process, which they believe is regulated by proteases. 

Studies in Czyzyk’s laboratory suggest that an immune response to the serpin B13 protease inhibitor and the consequent increase in protease activity is unique in that it is protective during the diabetogenic destruction of pancreatic islets. Protocols that enhance protease activity regulated by serpin B13 may be beneficial to diabetes by both suppressing islet inflammation and promoting regeneration of insulin-producing cells that is independent of autoimmunity.

In their renal studies, Czyzyk and fellow investigators have found that serum response factor (SRF) and two of its co-factors are vital for maintaining the structure and function of podocytes, highly specialized cells of the kidney glomerulus that help regulate glomerular filtration.   

Guo et al., “Serum Response Factor Is Essential for Maintenance of Podocyte Structure and Function,” J Am Soc Nephrol. 2018 Feb;29(2):416-422. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2017050473. 

Online education

The Nature of Disease: Pathology for Allied Health Students

LAMP 4177 (3 credits, Summer 2018)

The online course for undergraduate students is a study of the mechanisms of human disease. Students receive a substantial foundation in the pathobiology of human disease and medical terminology. The course covers general pathology followed by organ system pathology. 

Summer registration for LAMP 4177 spring semester starts March 8th.

LAMP 4177 is a good foundation course for a degree in the Health Sciences including:

  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Health & Wellness ICP
  • Spring semester online
  • Summer semester online
  • Grading: A/F or S/N

Non University of Minnesota students are welcome and can register through the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS), University of Minnesota.

Register 

image for lmp online pathology course for allied health students

Research Spotlight

Flanagan focuses on aging and dementia

LMP neuropathologist Maggie Flanagan specializes in investigating neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging.  She is the department’s lead investigator for the Nun Study of Aging and Alzheimer's disease, a longitudinal study of Catholic nuns who donated their brains to research. 

Margaret FlanaganThe study was launched in 1986 to determine the causes and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, other brain diseases, and mental and physical disability associated with old age.  Nearly 700 School Sisters of Notre Dame have participated.

Flanagan and Laura Hemmy, Department of Psychiatry, spoke about the Nun study in a recent LMP Research Forum.  Since the study was initiated investigators have found:

  • Variability in correspondence between clinical state and brain pathology
  • A single copy of the APO e4 genetic allele is associated with a higher risk of dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease together with vascular brain lesions have a compounding effect
  • High levels of linguistic ability earlier in life may protect against cognitive decline in old age

Flanagan said the Nun study is “fundamental to our knowledge of brain aging” in part because about 90 percent of study participants consent to brain autopsy following their death, making possible both anatomical and molecular studies of brain tissue. She said she is “extremely grateful for the ongoing contributions of the sisters.  I am just so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing and scientifically critical cohort of women.”

Flanagan and Hemmy are featured in Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN story on aging and Alzheimer’s disease involving the Nun study. The story has been shown in Europe and will air in March in the US.  Flanagan appears at the 2:04 mark of the link below. 

http://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2018/02/01/vital-signs-the-nuns-devoted-to-understanding-alzheimers-b.cnn