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Pathology Welcomes Record Eight New Faculty

Eight New Faculty

The Department of Pathology had an exceptionally successful recruitment season this past Fall/early Winter.  We are welcoming a record eight new faculty colleagues over this summer, leading to significant expansion of our programs    and strengthening of all of our missions.  As a group, they come to us at various stages of careers, diverse career paths and a range of experiences.  They include 4 assistant professors (3 straight from their clinical fellowships), 2 associate professors and 2 full professors.  We have 4 clinical-track faculty and 4 tenure-track faculty (including 2 physician-scientists).  We have 4 faculty with MD degrees who will be heavily invested in laboratory-based research and one faculty with a PhD who will build a clinical career.  We have a renal pathologist, a neuropathologist, a clinical chemist, a hematopathologist and a surgical pathologist.  We have scientists focused on cancer biology, immunology, neural development and cardiovascular and renal diseases.  In our first-round search for our endowed chair positions, we collaborated with the CCOM Scholar initiative to recruit established, senior scientists with an excellent track record of publications and funding.  We are very excited to have our inaugural appointees to the Endowed Chair in Immunology Research as well as the Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.  Please stop by and say hello to your new departmental members as you see eight new faces in the hallways and at meetings! 

Here is some introductory information in the order of their starting dates:

Dai Dao Fu New Faculty ImageDao-Fu Dai, MD (started on 5/30/17) received his medical training in Taiwan at Kaohsiung Medical University and moved to the United States in 2005 to pursue his PhD training in Molecular Biology at the University of Washington, Seattle. He completed his thesis work in 2009 and remained as a Senior Research Fellow for an additional two years. His PhD and post-doctoral work was under the direction of Drs. Peter Rabinovitch and Michael MacCoss, and focused on the role of mitochondria and oxidative stress in myocardial dysfunction. Upon completion of his post-doctoral work, Dr. Dai performed an Anatomic Pathology Residency, a Renal Pathology Fellowship and a Cardiovascular Pathology Fellowship at the University of Washington. Since 2016, he has been working as a Renal Pathologist at Arkanalab in Little Rock. He will bring diagnostic experience to our renal pathology division. His recruitment was part of our ongoing physician-scientist search to further enhance our basic and translational research.



Bhagavathi Sharathkumar New Faculty ImageSharathkumar Bhagavathi, MD (started 6/26/17) received his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB, BS) degree from MR Medical College in Gulbarga, India in 1988.   He subsequently completed a residency in Pathology at J. N. Medical College in Belgaum, KA, India in 1993 earning an MD degree. After serving as a Faculty member/attending Pathologist in India, he came to the United States in 2004, completed an AP/CP residency at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI and then completed two fellowships: Hematopathology at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2009 and Molecular Genetic Pathology at the University of Alabama in 2010. Before joining us, he was an Assistant Professor of Pathology and the Director of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ since 2011.  Sharath’s primary role will be to provide clinical service in Hematopathology and Coagulation.




Jian Zhang New Faculty ImageJian Zhang, MD (started 6/30/17) was recruited through our national search for an Endowed Chair in Immunology Research in collaboration with the CCOM Scholar initiative. Dr. Zhang received his MD and Neurology training at Hunan Medical University in China. In 1994 he moved to Ontario, Canada to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship in immunology with Dr. Terry Delovitch, and has focused his career on basic research ever since. Upon completion of his training, Jian moved to Chicago where he held faculty positions at Rush University and The University of Chicago. Since 2012, he has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Infection and Immunity at The Ohio State University. Jian has a number of interests in both adaptive and innate immunity, with an emphasis on lymphocyte signaling, autoimmune disease, and more recently, infectious disease.  His program has hit a stride with 3 recently awarded R01 grants and a paper in Nature Medicine.  Jian will be a natural collaborator with various members of the Immunology and Inflammation groups and moves here with 7 lab members, including visiting scholars, a PhD student and Hui Guo, who is his wife and lab manager.



Anna Merrill New Faculty ImageAnna Merrill, PhD (started 7/24/17) received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014.  She subsequently entered and finished a two-year Commission on Accreditation in Clinical Chemistry (COMACC) – accredited Clinical Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Washington-Seattle in June of 2017. The fellowship training at University of Washington included extensive exposure to mass spectrometry-based testing for endocrinology, therapeutic drug monitoring, and toxicology applications. This is an expertise that does not currently exist in our department. Anna will add technical expertise and much-needed depth to our Clinical Chemistry section at the UIHC core clinical laboratory. She will also be integral to an initiative for the Iowa City VA Hospital to serve as a regional center for mass spectrometry-based toxicology testing to support efforts to better monitor pain management services.




Marco Hefti New Faculty ImageMarco Hefti, MD (started 7/31/17) received his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 2008, and then completed a surgery residency at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston.  Following this residency, Marco worked for two years as a postdoctoral research fellow in surgery and pathology at Harvard Medical School before completing an anatomic pathology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess in 2015.  He completed a 2 year fellowship in Neuropathology at Mount Sinai, this June.  His research interests are in the general areas of pediatric brain injury and sudden unexpected death in early childhood.  He is focusing on the study of tau isoforms in the context of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic injury. Marco will provide coverage for a broad spectrum of neuropathology services, including neurosurgical specimens and autopsy brain evaluation.





Stephanie Chen New Faculty ImageStephanie Chen, MD (starting 8/28/17) received her medical degree from the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine in 2011 and her medical school years included a one-year externship in our department.  She subsequently completed residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the University of Michigan Health System in 2015 and returned to UIHC to complete a fellowship in Surgical Pathology in 2016. She then completed a Dermatopathology Fellowship at the University of Michigan Health System this past June. Steph will provide coverage on the Surgical Pathology Service and will also provide coverage for dermatopathology cases.




Jiang Bing-Hua New Faculty ImageBing-Hua Jiang, PhD (starting 9/29/17) was recruited through our national search for an Endowed Chair in Cancer Research in collaboration with the CCOM Scholar initiative. He received his undergraduate degree in China, and his PhD at Mississippi State University (1994). He then performed two post-doctoral fellowships. The first was at Johns Hopkins with Dr. Greg Semenza (HIF-1) and the second at the Scripps Research Institute with Dr. Peter Vogt (oncogenes). It was at Scripps where Bing developed his focus on cancer. Dr. Jiang started his academic career at West Virginia University in 2000 and remained in Morgantown for 10 years. In 2010 he moved to Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia where he is currently a full Professor and Director of the Center for Molecular Carcinogenesis. Bing’s cancer research program is multifaceted and includes the role of signaling pathways (PI3K), reactive oxygen species and microRNAs in tumor angiogenesis and therapeutic resistance. He is also exploring the underlying oncogenic properties of arsenic and chromium exposure. Bing has an extensive publication record and is currently funded by two R01 grants. He is planning to move here with 6-7 lab members that include visiting scholars, a research assistant professor, a postdoc and couple of graduate students.


Liu Ling-Zhi New Faculty ImageLing-Zhi Liu, MD, PhD (starting 9/29/17) received her MD and PhD training in China. In 2006 she came to the United States and worked as a Research Fellow with Dr. Jiang at the University of West Virginia. She subsequently moved with him to Thomas Jefferson University in 2010. From 2010 to 2016 she was a Research Assistant Professor, and became a tenure track Assistant Professor in June of last year. Taken together, Dr. Liu has been in a faculty position for the past 6+ years. Her cancer research program parallels that of Dr. Jiang and focuses on the role of signaling pathways (PI3K), reactive oxygen species and microRNAs in tumor angiogenesis and resistance to cancer therapies. She has an extensive bibliography that reflects a multifaceted program. She is currently funded by an ACS Research Scholar Award (2016 – 2020).