C. Richard Schlegel, M.D., PH.D, Chair

Pathology is a major course that completes the basic science curriculum and is the bridge between basic science and clinical medicine. It is the field that studies the cause and diagnosis of disease. The pathologist is a physician skilled in the diagnosis of disease by microscopic and laboratory analysis. The science of pathology involves the exploration of the mechanisms of disease and how events at the level of the cell affect the patient as a whole.

Pathology is taught throughout the second year. Emphasis is placed on understanding the basic principles and mechanisms of tissue and body reactions to injury and the morphological expression of these reactions. In addition to attending lectures, students regularly meet with instructors in laboratories and participate in clinical-pathological correlation conferences. During the preclinical years, the department offers a variety of electives in subjects such as molecular pathology, immunopathology, autopsy, and neuropathology.

Third and fourth-year medical students continue their study of pathology through special clinical pathology conferences. Further elective courses in diagnostic surgical pathology, molecular diagnostics, autopsy, and research are offered throughout the fourth year. The Department of Pathology is the only department in the medical school that is both a basic science and a clinical program. The Department of Pathology includes the diagnostic services of anatomic pathology (surgical pathology, cytopathology, autopsy, and molecular diagnostics) and the Clinical Laboratories of the Georgetown University Hospital. In addition, the department has exciting research programs involving the molecular and cell biology of cancer, in which medical students on elective rotations can learn the basic principles of medical research.

In addition to the teaching of medical students, educational programs in pathology include a Ph.D. program in Experimental Pathobiology, fully accredited residency training programs in the specialties of anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, hematopathology and transfusion medicine, and postdoctoral training programs in research.