New Chair of Pathology Named at University of Rochester Medical Center

July 09, 1998

Steven L. Spitalnik, M.D. has been appointed chair of the department of Pathology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Formerly co-vice chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Spitalnik began his medical career at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1978 as an intern and assistant resident in pathology. He continued on as chief resident and instructor of pathology and pursued a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular biology at the University of Rochester, completing his clinical training in 1983. Dr. Spitalnik earned his A.B. at Princeton University in 1974, and his M.D. at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine in 1978.

Dr. Spitalnik focuses his clinical work primarily on blood transfusion and therapeutic apheresis -- a method of removing unwanted blood components -- for patients with autoimmune disorders and diseases of the blood. The work includes the transplantation of healthy stem cells into the bone marrow of patients receiving radiation therapy, replacing cells which the therapy has damaged.

The biochemistry, cell biology, and immunology of cellular proteins and sugars comprise Dr. Spitalnik's main area of research. Specifically, he is trying to determine how cells gather these sugars onto proteins and transport them to a cell's surface. By understanding this process, Dr. Spitalnik hopes to improve the treatment and prevention of rabies, malaria, and Alzheimer's disease.

"I'm delighted to have Dr. Spitalnik join the faculty of the Medical Center's Department of Pathology," says Jay H. Stein, M.D., senior vice president and vice provost for Health Affairs and Medical Center and Strong Health System CEO. "His achievements as a physician, a researcher, and a teacher make him an outstanding choice for this appointment."

At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Spitalnik received numerous teaching awards for his outstanding instruction in pathology, transfusion medicine, and immunology. These honors include the Peter C. Nowell and Penn Pearls Teaching awards, and six teaching commendations by the student body. He is also a member of the American Society for Investigational Pathology, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American Association of Blood Banks.

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