Successful 15th Annual New Frontiers in Pathology Held at The Graduate

By Lynn McCain | October 31 2023

Steve Smith NFP sq 500.jpgJulie Jorns NFP sq 500.jpgThe weather was unseasonably warm as pathologists and trainees gathered at The Graduate Hotel in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the 15th Annual New Frontiers in Pathology Conference on October 26-28. For two and a half days, attendees heard 20 case presentations by a variety of Michigan Medicine Pathology specialists and participated in break-out sessions for deeper dives into selected subspecialties. Plenary speakers, Steven Smith, MD, PhD, from Virginia Commonwealth University, and Julie Jorns, MD, from the Medical College of Wisconsin, both alumni of our pathology training programs, gave attendees in-depth reviews of oncocytic kidney tumors and metastatic serious carcinoma in the breast. Jorns, also a former member of our faculty, discussed some of the changes that can be seen in breast tissue for transgendered individuals who have undergone gender-affirming chest surgeries and hormone therapy.

Drs. Celina Kleer, Ellen Chapel, Susan Lester, Rouba Ali Fehmi, Sara Abbott, Jeffrey Myers, Mustafa Yousif and Julie JornsSusan Lester, MD, PhD, from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she served for 25 years as chief breast pathologist, presented the A. James French Lecture on Saturday morning, a day focused on breast diseases. In her lecture, she reviewed the history of mastectomies with and without nipple sparing surgery, then presented seven case studies of benign tumors and neoplasms of the nipple and the characteristic features found in this structurally unique location. She commented on the conference, “It is truly marvelous how the presenters utilized whole slide imaging to engage the audience. Active learning is so important, and this is a key tool for learning. Participants could scan a QR code and have a microscope in their hands on their cell phones. I have really enjoyed this aspect of the conference.”

In addition to case studies, Dr. Moustafa Yousif and Dr. Steven Hrycaj described technological advances in Pathology. Yousif gave an excellent overview of quantitative image analysis and its use in breast pathology. Hrycaj discussed multiplex staining with some of the new chromogen stains, which will be particularly useful in conjunction with digital pathology processes once approved by the FDA.

Hittson, Jeff - NFP sq 500.jpgJeff Hittson, MD, a pathologist from Alaskan Native Medical Center, Anchorage, rode a bicycle from Kansas City, Missouri to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the New Frontiers in Pathology Conference. “This is a trail I have always wanted to ride,” said Hittson, who also expressed his appreciation for the conference, “Thanks for everything. The lectures are a gift. The presenters shared thoughtful cases and as they went through them, I thought, ‘I’ve missed that…I’ve missed that, too’.” Hittson will be heading back to Anchorage after the conference, this time taking a flight instead of biking.

“It is good to be back in person for New Frontiers in Pathology,” said organizer Dr. Jeffrey Myers. “We had to take a couple years off due to the pandemic.” Looking back over the history of New Frontiers, Myers recalled, “Our first A. James French Lecturer in 2007 was Dr. Thomas Colby. He is an alumnus of our medical school and attributed his career in pathology to Dr. Henry Appelman, so he was a great choice.” Appelman, who recently retired, served as a GI pathologist at Michigan Medicine Pathology for more than 50 years.

The conference wrapped up with a panel discussion with Drs. Susan Lester, Melissa Pilewski, Associate Professor, a breast surgeon, and the Director of the Breast Care Center at Michigan Medicine, and Dr. Monika Burness, Assistant Professor and a breast oncologist, from Michigan Medicine. The panel was moderated by breast pathologists Drs. Rouba Ali-Fehmi and Celina Kleer, also from Michigan Medicine.

This year’s conference was held in a hybrid format and slides from the conference can be seen at the New Frontiers webpage. Next up is the New Frontiers companion meeting, Michigan Meets Malpighi Pathology Academy in Florence, Italy, to be held November 8-10. This conference is currently sold out but click through for more information or to be added to the waiting list. The 16th Annual New Frontiers in Pathology Conference will be held at the Graduate Hotel again in Ann Arbor, Michigan next fall. Save-the-date cards will be sent out in early 2024. To be added to the contact list, be sure to email Shirley Hoffman.