The NYU School of Medicine, founded in 1841, has been a pioneer in the field of pathology since its inception, both through its earliest approaches for the dissection and study of human bodies and through the groundbreaking work of William Welch, who helped establish a laboratory for teaching the use of the microscope. In 1881 Welch was appointed Professor of Pathologic Anatomy and General Pathology, the first position of its kind in the country. Around the same time, a laboratory, devoted specifically to the study of the "pathology of many diseases," was founded through a gift from Andrew Carnegie at Bellevue Hospital Medical College. With its stated research focus, this laboratory became the first in the United States for teaching and investigation in pathology.

In the first half of the 20th century, distinguished anatomic pathologists of the Department were instrumental in formulating new classifications of diseases. In the 1950s, under the direction of Lewis Thomas, the Department expanded its focus from academic morphologic pathology to experimental pathology. NYU pathology became, in a very short time, one of the preeminent and most respected departments in the country as a leader in immunological research. During this time, an honors program, which enabled a full year of research through NIH funding for medical students, along with the first NIH supported Basic Pathobiology training program, attracted many residents and trainees who wished to pursue careers combining both anatomic and clinical pathology with experimental pathology.

Numerous outstanding scientists have been a part of pathology at NYU, having begun their training and work here or joining the faculty from around the world. For the last 35 years the Department has consistently rated in the upper five to ten percent for the number of grants obtained from NIH among national pathology departments. The Department has also been recognized by the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) as one of the top Medical Schools for number of abstracts accepted by residents as first authors. In recent decades the Department of Pathology has acquired an unparalleled reputation for its strengths in immunological research, molecular oncology, and experimental pathology, and among its former and current notable faculty members or alumni are many acclaimed clinicians and researchers, including two Nobel Prize winners.

As a vital component in the academic medicine enterprise of the New York University Langone Medical Center, the Department of Pathology is organized around the three basic pillars of medicine, science, and education. It is dedicated to the ideal of a scholarly community built around the shared development, creation, and dissemination of knowledge. Because the practice of pathology is to understand the basic mechanisms of human disease, it is frequently referred to as the most fundamental of medical disciplines. The quality of pathology services affects numerous clinical departments, especially Cancer Centers, since pathologic diagnoses guide medical, surgical, and oncologic treatment decisions.

Clinical studies and translational research will always require the exceptional diagnostic acumen and the perceptive scientific imagination of our pathologists. In the first efforts to search for the causes of AIDS, for example, one of our pathologists at NYU was using an electron microscope to study a tissue sample and recognized signs of retroviral infection in early 1981. The astute powers of observation of another faculty member led to the understanding of the pathogenesis of toxic shock syndrome.

The Department of Pathology is dedicated to fostering imaginative and talented pathologists who will continue its legacy of contribution to human well-being in the fundamental efforts of elucidating and understanding disease mechanisms.

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