Extremely important changes are occurring in the discipline of pathology as the result of blossoming molecular technology, which has provided exquisitely sensitive tools for the investigation of human disease. Our Department has a strong commitment to basic research in molecular and experimental pathology with a major focus on immunopathology and cancer biology.
A group of investigators, who collectively constitute the Laboratory of Molecular Pathology, provide the setting for residents who seek a career in academic pathology with a dedicated commitment to laboratory research. For those who choose this path, a program can be designed to meet research goals without compromising basic pathology training. This is usually accomplished through the AP3 or CP3 curriculum by adding one or two years of research training under the direction of a faculty mentor (research track).
Research is not limited to the wet bench laboratory. Most faculty members in the Department are engaged in scholarly pursuits within the context of their clinical responsibilities. Although research is not required of the residents, we encourage the residents to become involved in collaborative research projects that arise out of material from their own daily clinical experience. This exercise teaches the application of sound scientific thought and principles to the practice of diagnostic pathology.
Many of our residents present their research at regional, national, and even international meetings. These presentations are reprised for our Department at four resident and fellow research seminars each year. The Arthur G. Weinberg Resident Research Award is given annually to the resident submitting the most outstanding scholarly manuscript for publication.
Regardless of career track, the pathologist will always be a teacher. Our program provides teaching experience through several mechanisms. Residents beyond the first year serve as laboratory instructors in the sophomore pathology course at UT Southwestern Medical School. The residents lead the students in small group case discussions, functioning as junior faculty. The residents also gain teaching experience through the many departmental and interdepartmental conferences in which they actively participate.
Residents also participate in informal teaching of other residents and medical students on a continuing basis. The core rotations in Autopsy, Surgical Pathology, Transfusion Medicine, and Hematopathology mix novice residents with more experienced residents who can provide instruction and support to their juniors. Medical students on third- and fourth-year electives in pathology are also paired with residents for instruction in daily activities.
On multiple occasions during the academic year, each resident presents a brief case presentation and literature review for the anatomic or clinical case presentation conference series (PAPCARS and CP Rounds, respectively). At least once, each resident makes a major formal presentation of a topic of his/her choice to fellow residents and members of the faculty. This "Update in Pathophysiology" conference provides the opportunity for the resident to learn and share new important information with colleagues and to gain valuable experience in conference preparation and presentation. The topic is usually based upon a case encountered by the resident during the course of their daily work with emphasis on the underlying pathophysiology/molecular biology of the disease.
Each clinical service provides a variety of teaching conferences and clinicopathologic correlation conferences as part of the rotation through that particular service. Journal clubs complement the teaching on some services. In addition to these smaller conferences, there are major Department-wide conferences that all residents are expected to attend whenever possible.