Division of Anatomic / Surgical Pathology

Donna Hansel, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of Anatomic Pathology

UC San Diego Transfusion Medicine

The Department of Pathology at UC San Diego, including the Division of Anatomic Pathology, has long promoted excellence in diagnostic services, teaching, and research.

Anatomic Pathology services at the UC San Diego encompass surgical pathology, cytopathology, and autopsy pathology. All diagnostic pathology material (including approximately 17,000 surgicals & 25,000 cytologies per year) received from our two major teaching hospitals (Hillcrest Hospital and Thornton Hospital) is triaged to five specialty oriented benches organized by organ system. These centers of excellence include 1) breast pathology, 2) obstetrics and gynecologic pathology, 3) liver and gastrointestinal pathology, 4) renal pathology, and 5) general surgical pathology. Material in these subspecialties is signed out by diagnostic pathologists who have particular subspecialty interest and training in that organ system. This approach provides patients with the best care and physicians with ideal collaborative relationships for bench-to-bedside investigation. The general surgical pathology material is shared by all of the diagnostic pathology faculty, as is operating room coverage and 24/7 night call.

Autopsies are performed by the autopsy service (approximately 150 per year). It is the mission of the autopsy service to determine the cause of death as accurately and completely as possible. In addition, the goal is to search for diseases with implications for surviving family members, support research, educate pathology residents and medical students, scrutinize the clinical history and anatomic findings for implications about how the care of patients could be improved, and to bring these implications to the appropriate forums to maintain and improve patient care.

The clinical practice of Anatomic Pathology at UC San Diego is supported by several core laboratories based at Hillcrest Hospital, including the immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and the fluorescence in situ hybridization. The immunohistochemistry laboratory provides a comprehensive and extensive array of antibodies. The fluorescence in situ hybridization laboratory allows for the study of solid tumors, medical biopsies, and transplant cases utilizing situ hybridization assays. This includes analyses for translocations and gene amplifications that are essential to the practice of surgical pathology in the 21st century. The electron microscopy laboratory supports our renal and neuropathology services. Finally, these core facilities provide research opportunities for pathology faculty and pathologists-in-training.

Resident and fellow training is critical to our mission. Residents and fellows learn by direct participation in the centers of excellence model with all housestaff exposed to the full spectrum of the extensive and diverse diagnostic material. Education efforts are focused on training of residents through the surgical pathology signout experience, case presentation, multiple interdisciplinary conferences, and participation in translational research. Residents are expected to gross in cases, review slides, prepare preliminary diagnosis, sign-out the cases with faculty, dictate final reports and interact with clinicians. The wealth of internal material is supplemented by an active consultation service, a systemic lecture series, a slide teaching collection and reference study sets for all organ systems. Residents and fellows are trained not only tissue diagnosis from the H&E stained slides, but also in the applications of histochemistry, immunohistology, molecular biologic techniques, and clinical pathologic correlations. Resident and fellow experiences are enhanced by a superb team of healthcare professionals, including excellent technologists, gross room PAs and in-house transcription. There is ample time for study and scholarly activity.

Surgical Pathology Fellowships
The Division of Anatomic Pathology sponsors a Fellowship in General Surgical Pathology (see description). Surgical pathology fellows help provide continuity of clinical care by previewing all cases and provide preliminary diagnoses to clinicians via the “hot-seat” fellowship model. Moreover, they supervise the gross room and teach housestaff officers rotating on surgical and cytopathology. Moreover, they assist in preparation of and deliver some organ-specific clinicopathologic conferences.

Description: A one-year fellowship in general surgical (with extensive exposure to cytopathology) is offered by the Division of Anatomic Pathology (UCSD). Up to four positions are available for AP or AP/CP residents who are interested in receiving focused and intensive training in diagnostic surgical pathology and cytopathology. The specific rotations include: 1)Provisional "hot seat" diagnosis (with sign-out of outside consults), 2) Gross Room and Frozen Section Supervisor, 3) Rotation at Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, and 4) Rotation at the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group (~50,000 surgical specimens). Each rotation will comprise one-fourth of the 12-month-long fellowship; and, with the exception of the Kaiser Permanente rotation, all rotations will be at the UCSD teaching hospitals.

Requirements: Two years of anatomic pathology residency before starting the fellowship; eligibility to train in California.

Stipends: As of 2009, $49,095 for PGY III, $50,987 for PGY IV, $52,905 for PGY V.

Staff:Donna Hansel, M.D., Ph.D., Brian Datnow, M.D., Farnaz Hasteh, M.D., Grace Lin, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Peterson,M.D., Ph.D., Ahmed Shabaik, M.D. and Ann Tipps, M.D.

Applications: For applications and additional information, please contact Grace Lin, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Pathology Residents Training Program, Department of Pathology, Mail Code 8720; University of California, San Diego, Medical Center, 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8720.

Phone: (619) 543-2888 • E-mail: g4lin@ucsd.edu

Additional fellowships are planned for the near future.

  • Molecular Pathology and Cytogenetics Fellowship: Planned starting date of July 2014.