Department of Pathology News

Congratulations, Denis Wirtz!

Denis Wirtz, Ph.D.Denis Wirtz, vice provost for research and a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a secondary appointment in Pathology, has been elected a foreign member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium for his body of scientific work. He is the first engineer and non-MD to be elected.

A member of the 2019 class of inductees, Wirtz will be formally introduced during a ceremony Saturday in Brussels. He also has been invited by the King and Queen of the Belgians to present a public lecture there next year.

My election as a member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium is a truly special recognition as it comes from my country of origin... It also recognizes the prodigiously creative work of my students and fellows over the past 25 years at Johns Hopkins." Denis Wirtz, Ph.D.

The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium, which is made up of 100 full and associate members, was founded in 1841 and advises the Belgian government on matters pertaining to public health.

Wirtz studies the molecular and biophysical mechanisms of cell motility and adhesion, as well as the nuclear dynamics in health and disease. He collaborates extensively with faculty in the Department of Pathology, including studies of the 3D architecture of cancer.

~January 2020

Passing of Dr. Belur Bhagavan

Belur BhagavanIt is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of our dear friend, colleague and mentor, Belur Bhagavan (Belur Shamanna Babu Bhagavan Das).

Belur was born in 1934 in India to a family of progressive Bramin theosophists. He graduated from R.G. Kar Medical College, Calcutta, India in 1958 and the following year he married Leela, the love of his life. Belur and Leela had two children, Minni and Manu.

Belur completed his residency in pathology in 1966 at Sinai Hospital here in Baltimore under the guidance of Drs. Tobias Weinberg and Howard D. Dorfman. Belur rose through the ranks at Sinai, and was their Pathologist in Chief and Director of the Laboratories from 1985 to 1999. After one year in New York at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Belur returned to Baltimore as an Associate Professor of Pathology here at Hopkins.

Over the many years he was associated with Hopkins, Belur taught our medical students, residents and fellows, contributed to the diagnostic gastrointestinal pathology service, and was a friend and mentor to many of us. His command over anatomic pathology was most impressive. He would solve diagnostic challenges starting from embryology, moving to histology and finally histopathology. Most impressive was the breadth of his knowledge- as a pathologist he focused on a field (such as pediatric pathology, renal pathology and GI pathology) and mastered it, and then moved on to a new field. Belur was always eager to learn and willing to teach. He had a wonderful, mischievous sense of humor, and a playful smile. His selflessness and wise philosophy were unmatched. He will be dearly missed.

A service is being planned.

~January 2020

Dr. Ashley Cimino-Mathews Appointed to USCAP Board

Ashley Cimino-MathewsCongratulations Dr. Ashley Cimino-Mathews! Ashley was just elected to the Board of Directors of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology! She starts her three-year term in this important leadership position on April 1st. Also joining the board is our former resident Dr. Anil Parwani.

~January 2020

Congratulations, Norm Barker!

Norman BarkerCongratulations to Norm Barker, Professor of Pathology & Art as Applied to Medicine, for his work's recognition in the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition! Norm and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue collaborated to capture this stunning image of zebrafish embryos.

Nikon Small World Calendar celebrates its 45th year in 2020. This year's contest drew imagemakers from 98 different countries, as well as from a diverse range of academic and professional disciplines. The winners came from many different fields such as chemistry, biology, materials research, botany, and pathology.

The photomicrograph shows several genetically engineered zebrafish embryos expressing green and red fluorescent proteins. This low-power image is captured with a combination Fluorescence and Differential Interference Contrast technique. The photomicrograph was first published in the book Hidden Beauty: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science, which was a collaboration between an artist and scientist. Norm and Chris worked together on this beautiful coffee table book. The traveling exhibit from the book is still on tour and currently on view at the State University of New York in the Adirondacks.

The image shows how animal models are an important tool in a medical researcher's arsenal to study disease. One such animal model relies on the species Danio rerio, a popular aquarium fish that is better known as zebrafish. Zebrafish models are particularly useful for studying embryologic development because the embryos are translucent, permitting the visualization of organ development. In this example, researchers have applied cloning methods to incorporate genes that express fluorescent proteins into the zebrafish genome. Red fluorescent proteins are produced in all cells of the zebrafish embryo, whereas green fluorescent proteins are produced only in the cells that develop into the eye, brain and pancreas. x20

zebrafish embryos
click image to enlarge

~January 2020

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