Faculty Highlights

Activities, Highlights, and News in the Department

Dr. Dwayne Lawrence of the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island uses telepathology to support medical centers in Zambia, Bangladesh, and Kenya.

Dr. W. Dwayne Lawrence, MD, MSc, Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine:: "I really enjoy helping out from 8,000 miles away...This fulfills part of our mission."Dr. W. Dwayne Lawrence, MD, MSc, Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine:: "I really enjoy helping out from 8,000 miles away...This fulfills part of our mission."

"Pathologists have been reviewing glass slides under a microscope for 150 years, as demonstrated by the collection of antique microscopes in Dr. Lawrence's office. However, the process of making a slide is time consuming, and the glass slides themselves can be easily damaged or destroyed. Digital technology is revolutionizing the entire field of pathology..."

Click here to see the entire article in the Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island Philanthropy Report 2012


Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr. Marcella Thompson leads study on chemical exposures of childbearing-aged women:

Marcella Thompson, Ph.D.: “We carry a history of our environmental exposures throughout our lives.” Credit: David Orenstein/Brown UniversityMarcella Thompson, Ph.D.: “We carry a history of our environmental exposures throughout our lives.” Credit: David Orenstein/Brown University

"In a new analysis of thousands of U.S. women of childbearing age, Brown University researchers found that most exceeded the median blood level for two or more of three environmental pollutants that could harm brain development of fetuses and babies [...] The study, published in advance online Nov. 15 in the journal Environmental Research, identified several risk factors associated with a higher likelihood of a median-or-higher “body burden” for two or more of these chemicals."


Click here to see full press release on the Brown University Featured Events and News Page.

Dr. Jake Kurtis awarded COBRE grant: "Immune-Based Interventions against Infectious Diseases"

Dr. Jake Kurtis at the Pesigan Memorials Schistosomiasis Laboratory in Palo, Leyte, The PhilippinesDr. Jake Kurtis at the Pesigan Memorials Schistosomiasis Laboratory in Palo, Leyte, The Philippines

Infectious diseases continue to represent major causes of death and disease worldwide. Our strategy to address the challenge of new and emerging infectious diseases is to build a critical mass of investigators in infectious diseases immunology, committed to collaboration and innovation. The overall objective of this COBRE, “Immune-Based Interventions Against Infectious Diseases,” is to advance the development of a multidisciplinary and trans-institutional research program in infectious diseases of global importance. The unifying scientific theme of the COBRE is translational research at the interface of the pathogen and host. This COBRE represents a partnership between the Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed) at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus, and the Center for International Health Research (CIHR) at Rhode Island Hospital. Both groups have established NIH-funded research programs in infectious diseases, immunology, and global health; their shared interests and close proximity in Providence present an ideal opportunity to create a synergistic research team. The Specific Aims of this COBRE are:

1. Establish an integrated research community to provide leadership in translational infectious diseases immunology research to the Rhode Island community.
2. Build infrastructure for immunology research through support for Research Cores in Statistics and Data Management, Cell Analysis and Sorting, and Luminex High-Throughput Analysis.
3. Recruit promising junior investigators and provide mentoring by established NIH-funded researchers.
4. Support a multidisciplinary research program led by junior investigators in translational infectious diseases immunology.

Dr. Jake Kurtis will lead as Principal Ivestigator of the High throughput Immunology Core and as a Mentor to Project 3- "Novel Vaccine Candidate for Pediatric Falciparum Malaria"


Dr. Lundy Braun's Interdisciplinary Research

Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory medicine and Africana Studies, Dr. Lundy Braun, whose research focuses on the historical production of concepts of race in public health and medicine, announces her latest book: Breathing Race into the Machine. Breathing Race explores the history of the racialization of spirometric measurements. Used extensively in clinical diagnosis of respiratory disease to assess lung function, commercially available spirometers “correct” or “adjust” for race. Beginning in the antebellum South, this book uncovers the previously unexamined roots of the scientific consensus that races differ innately in the capacity of their lungs.


Spotlight on: The Kane Laboratory

Research Overview

New engineered nanomaterials are being developed for use as environmental sensors, in-site catalysts for detoxification of chemical wastes, and diagnostic and drug delivery devices. The potential human health effects of occupational and environmental exposure to nanomaterials in unknown. The Kane Lab is collaborating with Professors Robert Hurt and Huajian Gao in the School of Engineering on nanotechnology and nanotoxicology. An interdisciplinary research team of scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students are working together to synthesize and characterize model nanomaterials, to investigate the nanomechanics of target cell interactions, and to develop short-term screening assays to assess their potential toxicity. The Kane Laboratory is led by the Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Agnes Kane, M.D., Ph.D. Members of the lab include: Annette von dem Bussche, Ph.D., Charlie Vaslet, Ph.D., Pranita Katwa, Ph.D., April Rodd, and Norma Messier.



Dr. Joseph Sweeney, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and colleagues in Brown’s Department of Internal Medicine, hosted the international symposium, The Science of Platelet Transfusion, held in Providence in October, 2012.  Experts from around the world gathered to present the most recent findings on the function and physiology of platelets, and the clinical best practices in transfusion of platelets.  A series of lectures and poster presentations covered broad topics in the basic science of platelets, translational research, and new clinical guidelines.  Dr. Michael Murphy from the University of Oxford, delivered the Herbert Fanger Lecture in Cancer Biology, which  a keynote address of the symposium.


 Dr. Herbert Chase (former Deputy Dean for Medical Education at Yale University) and Beverly Fanger Chase, Dr. Murphy, and Dr Sweeney, after the Herbert Fanger Lecture.



                Three new faculty with special areas of expertise have joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Lifespan (Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital) this year.  Dr. Kammi Henriksen, from University of Chicago, joined the department in July 2012 as a surgical pathologist with special expertise in renal pathology.  She has also assumed the directorship of the electron microscopy lab at Rhode Island Hospital.  Dr. Yihong Wang joined the department in August 2012 as a surgical pathologist with special expertise in breast cancer and breast pathology.  She most recently was on the faculty of Albert Einstein University, and now leads the breast pathology clinical and academic efforts at Lifespan.   Dr. Weibiao Cao joined the department in November 2012 as a surgical pathologist with special expertise in gastroenterology.  He leads a research program in the pathogenesis of Barrrett’s esophagitis, a metaplastic abnormality of the esophagus caused by acid reflux, and associated with a high risk of cancer.  His work has demonstrated the role of acid-induced generation of activated oxygen species in carcinogenic pathways, and in collaboration with colleagues in Gastroenterology (Internal Medicine) has shown that patients with the condition have similar pathway activation.