Department of Pathology Shines at 2021 Virtual USCAP Meeting

By Camren Clouthier | March 24 2021

The Department of Pathology was well represented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP), held March 13-18, 2021. This year's event was reconstructed into a fully virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with participants able to tune in and contribute from all over the world. The event featured 12 live interactive microscopy courses, 37 short courses, one long course, three special topics courses, 17 evening conferences, and 31 companion society meetings. The conference also incorporated various poster sessions, live Q&A segments, a virtual exhibit hall and many social events. Several of our faculty and trainees were featured at this year's conference. Let's take a moment to recap some key highlights from #USCAP2021.

Dr. Joel Greenson, a GI and Hepatobiliary Pathologist, presented this year's Rodger Haggitt Lecture, a talk which focused on life hacks and career-based guidelines. "As GI pathologists, we spend a great deal of time adorning adenomas with irreproducible descriptors," explains Dr. Greenson.

Other faculty including Drs. Sandra Camelo-Piragua and Laura Lamps reflected on their experiences as a whole. "The virtual conference allowed me to participate in several sessions that otherwise I would not have done due to time constraints. However, I still miss mingling with the attendees and get to know trainees and faculty," notes Camelo-Piragua. Currently serving as the President of USCAP and a leader behind the Honors Ceremony, Dr. Lamps described her involvement in this year's conference. "I am very grateful to the USCAP staff for the truly wonderful virtual platform that they have created. We all miss the interaction with our colleagues, but it’s been great to be able to watch the content on one’s own time, and the fact that it’s available until May makes it easier on trainees and faculty who are on service during the actual USCAP week, because they can still see all the sessions. We are hopeful that we can take all the good things we learned from the virtual platform and take them with us when we are back to in-person meetings."

Another major participant in the USCAP events was Dr. Liron Pantanowitz, Director of Anatomic Pathology, who gave three different lectures over the course of the week. The initial short course focused on Telepatholgy for ROSE. "It's much easier and cheaper to move an image than a cytopathologist," says Pantanowitz. His subsequent lectures discussed what digital pathology AI tools are available in today's market, as well as the practice of anatomic pathology and how pap tests can be used to assist with health screenings.

Dr. Julianne Szczepanski, a second-year resident within the department and with assistance from Drs. Maria Westerhoff and Margaret Fang, placed as the first runner-up for the 2021 Hans Popper Hepatopathology Society Trainee Best Abstract Award. "I am so honored to receive this recognition and would like to say thank you to the selection committee of the Hans Popper Hepatopathology Society," she says. Her talk focused on the sinusoidal growth patterns of metastatic melanoma and its relationship to the liver.

Dr. Rohit Mehra also spoke, delivering the Arthur Purdy Stout Lecture. In addition to discussing his personal projects and practices, Dr. Mehra commented on the progression of the role of a pathologist over time. "I think pathologists have undergone considerable evolution from conventional microscopy, to an important member of the radiation oncology and patient care team."

Additionally, Rahul Mannan, a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan Medical School, in collaboration with Drs. Rohit Mehra, Jeffrey Myers, Arul Chinnaiyan and Liron Pantanowitz, presented on several research initiatives in the platform and poster sessions. Topics ranged from renal cell carcinoma, to tumor biology, to gene fusion lung cancer assessments.

Other participants at this year's USCAP conference included Drs. Richard Cantley, Carol Farver, David McClintock, Aleodor Andea, Rajiv Patel, Madelyn Lew, Erika Hissong, Mustafa Yousif, Evan Farkash, Batoul Aoun, Emily McMullen, Julia Dahl, Lauren Smith, Anamarija Perry, Xiao-Ming Wang, Lin Zhang, and Aaron Belknap.

All in all, the 2021 USCAP Virtual Conference was a success, demonstrating palpable knowledge, insight from real-world pathologists, educational opportunities, and access to connections from all across the country. 

A full overview of the USCAP 2021 Annual Meeting can be found here.