The Division of Hematopathology

The Hematopathology Division was started in the early 1970's by  Dr. Robert D. Collins. The primary focus of the program is to provide state-of-the-art diagnostic services that integrate morphologic immunophenotypic, molecular genetic and ultrastructural studies.  We provide resident training in the basics of hematopathology and fellowship training that emphasizes the development of academic hematopathologists and research opportunities with the hematopathology faculty.

Current areas of investigation include the molecular basis of leukemias and lymphomas, application of molecular and flow cytometric technology to the diagnosis of hematolymphoid neoplasms, the pathogenesis of myelodysplasia, and the role of extra-cellular matrix receptors in platelet/vascular biology, and the innate immune response.  The division offers a one or two year ACGME accredited fellowship, which emphasizes diagnostic hematopathology in the first year and research in the second year.  Space is available in the divisional core laboratory and in the laboratories of independent investigators for clinical and translational, as well as basic research projects.  The diagnostic immunopathology and molecular genetics laboratories are an integral part of the division and provide opportunities for training and research for both residents and fellows.

Each year, the Hematopathology Laboratory evaluates approximately 5500 Hematopathology cases that include 2000 bone marrows, 1720 cytology specimens and 994 tissue biopsies from Vanderbilt, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, and VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.  In addition, 1300 consults and referral cases and 2700 flow cytometry cases are also reviewed each year.  Data from flow, cytometric analysis and immunohistochemical, cytochemical and molecular genetics studies are integrated into final sign-outs.  Students, residents and fellows participate actively with the faculty and in collaboration with clinical colleagues in clinical conferences and clinical-pathologic case analyses.  Vanderbilt includes a 670-bed tertiary adult care hospital, the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, which is a 282-bed general purpose hospital and the state-of-the-art 216-bed Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital.

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On Saturday May 4, 2024, the annual Regional Hematopathology Conference took place at VUMC’s new Vanderbilt Medical Laboratories (VML) located at the MetroCenter in Nashville.  This is a tradition Dr. Robert Collins began in 1989 where former VUMC faculty and trainees, as well as friends of the program share interesting and challenging hematopathology cases.  The conference host alternates yearly between VUMC and the institution where a former fellow practices.  Sixteen riveting and excellent cases were presented.  Dr. Bill Macon (former Fellow and Faculty member) gave a special presentation honoring the life and legacy of Dr. John B. Cousar who is considered the first “unofficial” Hematopathology Fellow of Dr. Collins.   Conference attendees were also treated to a tour of VML, which has been operational for two months.  Special thanks are due to Holly Spann for organizing the 2024 conference and the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology for supporting this wonderful tradition.