Neuropathology Fellowship

Director: Bret C. Mobley, M.D.


The Neuropathology (NP) training program is designed to allow the trainee to develop skills in diagnostic neuropathology as well as skills in neuroscience research related to contemporary neuropathology. The program is also designed to develop the trainee's teaching skills and, to some extent, administrative skills.

During the first year of training, the NP trainee is expected to function primarily in neuropathology service in both surgical neuropathology and autopsy neuropathology, i.e., gross examination and description of surgical and post-mortem specimens, examination and description of microscopic specimens, and formulation of diagnoses under the supervision of one of the neuropathology attending staff. By the end of the first year of training, the trainee is expected to be skilled in handling, preparing, and diagnostically interpreting clinically-related material, to the extent that he or she can also assist in instructing and supervising other trainees such as full-time AP residents or rotating residents.

The NP trainee is introduced to the discipline of neuropathology during the first months of training through the study of teaching materials. This material includes a library of texts on various aspects of neuropathology and a collection of categorized microscopic slides in the teaching collection within the Division.

Although the first year trainee has minimal time to actively participate in research, he/she has the opportunity to explore areas of research interest with the faculty and to begin to develop some focus areas of research of particular interest.

The second year of training is designed to provide increased responsibility for the NP trainee in clinical diagnosis, teaching, and administration as well as to allow the trainee to develop interest and skills in neuropathology research. Toward these goals, the second-year trainee is expected to review all surgical specimens and all brain autopsy cases with a first-year trainee or with AP residents.

With regard to administrative duties, the second-year trainee is responsible for organizing the case composition of the weekly neuropathology autopsy conference.

With regard to research activities, the second year fellow is expected to participate in a research project. The project will be selected by the NP trainee in consultation with the Director of Neuropathology, to be carried out in association with a research laboratory at Vanderbilt, or in association with Neuropathology Division faculty members. It is anticipated that such a project will be underway no later than the third month of the second year. This work may be used, if appropriate, to compose a research grant application.

The relationship of the neuropathology program to the general anatomic pathology (AP) program is integrated so that AP residents are responsible for handling, preparing, and examining neuropathology specimens on each autopsy case. The NP trainee, full-time in the program, works with the AP resident in the preparation and examination of the neuropathology specimens so that both AP resident and the NP trainee share the experience. As the AP resident works up his or her autopsy cases, the NP trainee can review the material, assist in handling and preparation of the specimen, and collaborate with the AP resident in describing the pathology and formulating a diagnosis.

In Surgical Pathology, all neurosurgical specimens are handled and reviewed primarily by the NP trainee while the AP resident in Surgical Pathology reviews this material with the NP trainee. When a surgical specimen comes into the Surgical Pathology Lab from the operating room, the NP trainee is called to carry out frozen section(s), touch preps, etc.; in turn the NP trainee consults with the NP attending staff and reports the preliminary results to the surgeon in the operating room. In subsequent "work-up" of neurosurgical specimens, the NP trainee reviews the case, presents it to the attending, and decides whether further studies are warranted. The NP trainee then composes the provisional diagnosis, presents to the attendings, and determines the final diagnosis during the routine neurosurgical sign-out sessions.

It should be noted that the Division of Neuropathology has a special neurohistology laboratory and  histotechnologists who are available to work with the NP trainees (as well as AP residents) on special histological, histochemical and/or immunohistochemical preparations; this laboratory is supported by the Division of Neuropathology


Paisit Paueksakon, M.D.,  Professor
Jiancong Liang, M.D., Assistant Professor
Bret Mobley, M.D., Associate Professor
Hannah Harmsen, M.D., Assistant Professor



Goals and Objectives of the Program


Currently accepting applications for fellowships starting July 1, 2024.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, Vanderbilt application*, CV, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and ECFMG certificate (if applicable) to:

Tapherine DeVany
Department of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
CC-3322 MCN
1161 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37232


*Application and pertinent information can be found under Graduate Medical Education