Eberhart carries award-winning traditions to Johns Hopkins

By Russell Rian

Dr. Charles Eberhart, Class of 1997, was already winning awards in a multitude of fields – including Merck and March of Dimes graduate fellowships — before ever leaving UT Southwestern Medical School.

It’s no surprise, then, that Dr. Eberhart has continued his prominence. He recently was named director of the neuropathology division in the department of pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he oversees the clinical, teaching and research programs. He is also chief of ophthalmic pathology at The Wilmer Eye Institute, focusing largely on running the clinical service, teaching residents, and facilitating clinical and translation research involving the eye.

“Most rewarding is using my training and experience to ‘connect the dots’ between science and medicine,” said Dr. Eberhart, associate professor of pathology, ophthalmology and oncology at Johns Hopkins. “Trying to work as a clinician while also running a moderately sized research laboratory has been quite hectic, but I cannot claim that was unexpected.”

Dr. Charles Eberhart

His M.D. and Ph.D. training at UT Southwestern helped prepare him for success, said Dr. Eberhart, whose father, Dr. Robert C. Eberhart, is professor emeritus of surgery at the medical center.

“Most important was the truly outstanding training in basic science I received as a graduate student. My thesis focused on developmental biology and Drosophila genetics, and I learned how to rigorously frame and test scientific questions,” Dr. Charles Eberhart said. “I also feel that our clinical training at Parkland Memorial Hospital and the other teaching hospitals associated with UT Southwestern did a very good job preparing me for residency.”

After graduating from UT Southwestern 12 years ago, Dr. Eberhart headed to Johns Hopkins to complete a residency in anatomical pathology and a fellowship in neuropathology. He joined the faculty there in 2001. He studies how brain and eye tumors can be better classified and treated.

“I could never choose between my interests in medicine and basic science, so I decided not to make a choice and do both,” he said.

Dr. Eberhart directs a research laboratory focused on understanding the molecular genetics and pathobiology of cancer.

He and colleagues have described several new pediatric brain tumor variants. Research specifically has focused on how developmental signaling pathways drive the formation and growth of common brain tumors such as pilocytic astrocytoma and medulloblastoma in children and glioblastoma in adults. More recently, he has begun to study tumors, such as melanoma, that arise in the eye.

Dr. Eberhart has published more than 80 research articles and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, Brain Pathology and the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. He returned to campus a few years ago as the Jean D. Wilson Distinguished Alumni Lecturer for the UT Southwestern Medical Scientist Training Program.

His efforts have continued to garner national recognition, including a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Physicians, career awards from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the National Institutes of Health, and scientific awards for presentations at national meetings of the American Association of Neuropathologists and the Society for Neuro-Oncology.