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The Department

Welcome from the Head of the Department of Pathology and Immunology

Welcome to the web site of the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine! On behalf of the entire Department's faculty, trainees, and staff, I invite you to explore these pages to learn more about our commitment to research, patient care, and training in pathology and immunology.

Since its inception in 1910, our Department has had combined excellence in research, training, and clinical service. Our conviction that basic science research leads to exceptional training and high quality clinical service has made our Department a vital bridge between the basic sciences and other clinical disciplines at Washington University. We are a vital and ever-evolving group of scholars dedicated to human pathobiology and the care of those afflicted with disease.

The Department of Pathology and Immunology has four divisions: Anatomic and Molecular Pathology, Immunobiology, Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, and Neuropathology. This web page contains links to each of these divisions. The Division of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology is headed by Peter Humphrey, Andrey Shaw heads the Division of immunobiology, Barry Sleckman heads the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, and Robert Schmidt heads the Division of Neuropathology. John Pfeifer is the Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs.

Through the pages accessible on this website you can visit our divisions and faculty, our clinical laboratories, and important programs at Washington University in which our Department plays a key role. These include graduate school programs within the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, the Program in Immunology, the Center for Genome Sciences, the Midwest Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, our Physician Scientist Training Program, the Siteman Cancer Center, our many fellowship and other training programs, and our consultation services and clinical laboratories.

This year we will have a special celebration to mark our 100th anniversary. In response to the 1910 Flexner report our Department underwent a complete reorganization and emerged as one of the first departments built on the principle that basic discovery research is fundamental to the mission of Pathology departments. The 100 years since have seen the Department establish itself as a top center for research, training, and clinical care. Eugene Opie was the Head from 1910 to 1923 and established the central research mission of the Department, linking fundamental research into the pathogenesis of disease with patient care. This focus has been maintained by subsequent Department Heads. Leo Loeb (1923-1938) was a pioneer in the field of histocompatibility and organ transplantation. Paul Lacy (1961-1985) conducted ground-breaking research on diabetes and transplantation of islets of Langerhans. Emil Unanue (1986-2006), a pioneer in studies of antigen presentation and the immunology of infection, expanded the Department's efforts in immunology research, establishing an internationally recognized center of excellence.

In addition to a century-long focus on the relationship between the basic science of immunology and disease, the Department is one of the major centers for academic pathology and laboratory medicine in the nation. In parallel with the research in the Department, these divisions have played major and pioneering roles in surgical pathology and laboratory medicine.

Our faculty enthusiastically embraces its responsibility to train the next generation of medical scientists and clinicians. We offer contemporary and comprehensive training programs for graduate students, postgraduate trainees, and medical students. Exceptional resources combine with carefully crafted curricula to prepare our trainees to succeed, whether in the competitive world of academic medicine, in cutting edge basic research, or in demanding clinical sub-specialties.

Welcome to the Department!

For more history, click here.

Herbert Virgin, MD, PhD
Mallinckrodt Professor and Chair - Pathology and Immunology