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Chair's Welcome to Pathology

Welcome to the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Our mission is to provide exceptional diagnostic care for our patients, educate the future leaders of pathology, conduct cutting-edge research, and improve the health of individuals around the globe, while also promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our department and beyond. Critical to achieving these goals are our world-renowned faculty, our highly talented trainees, and our expert and dedicated staff.

Central to all that we do is our mandate to deliver outstanding patient care. We provide diagnostic services at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and to the surrounding community through Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. In additional, as part of ongoing relationships with the Harvard Medical School and Partners in Health, we provide consultative outreach services to Haiti and Rwanda, giving our work an international reach. Included in our palette of clinical services are several that are focused on the delivery of “personalized” medicine, including innovative next generation sequencing tests to identify driver mutations in cancer and tests performed in situ on tissues to gauge the host immune response to cancer. Performance of these tests depends on our talented information technology team, who are currently working with faculty with expertise in digital and computational pathology to move the use of scanned digital microscopic images into our everyday clinical practice.

Equally important is our passion for teaching and education. For decades, we have endeavored to train the next generation of pathology leaders across the realms of diagnostics, clinical innovation, and research. To enable this, we take a flexible approach that allows trainees to pursue their areas of interest freely within the constraints of the core curriculum, always under the close mentorship of faculty. Education occurs in multiple formats, including numerous didactic conferences taught by our outstanding faculty, and there is also ample opportunity for trainees to themselves teach, particularly within courses at Harvard Medical School, where our faculty have important leadership roles in medical education.

Enabling our clinical care and enriching the educational experience of our trainees is the clinical, translational and basic science research conducted in our department. Connections made between our faculty and the remarkably rich and diverse biomedical ecosystem of the Longwood Medical Area campus (which includes Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School), as well as Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard-MIT Broad Institute, has allowed us to become one of the largest and most successful pathology research programs in the country. Furthermore, many of our faculty are physician-scientists who are engaged in research while also working to accelerate the translation of basic science to novel clinical tests and new therapeutics. To expand upon opportunities for the translation of research to clinical practice, we have established research programs in Digital Pathology and Computation Pathology, using data derived from all areas of pathology to advance personalized medicine.

I would also like to emphasize our commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusiveness. This commitment is evident at every level of our department, including ongoing efforts to recruit women and those who are underrepresented in medicine to our training program and to our faculty, as well as positioning faculty for success through leadership training programs.

As Interim Chair of the Department of Pathology, I am proud of the quality and depth of our services and our talented faculty and trainees, and I invite you to explore the many facets of our department further.

Jon C. Aster, MD, PhD

Jon C. Aster, MD, PhD

Jon C. Aster, MD, PhD

Interim Chair, Department of Pathology, BWH

Professor of Pathology, HMS

See Entire Profile See Jon C. Aster, MD, PhD, Profile


For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

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