Bruce Smoller to Lead Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department

Jun. 11, 2014
Bruce Smoller, M.D.

Effective July 1, Bruce R. Smoller, M.D., an international leader in the study of skin diseases, will take his place as chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“Dr. Smoller is an accomplished clinician, investigator, and educator, and a true titan in the field,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “He brings a deep sense of the opportunities and challenges facing today’s pathologists and the medical centers that train them, both here in the U.S. and around the globe.”

Surely, some of that perspective can be credited to Smoller’s recent term as executive vice president and secretary-treasurer for the 10,000-member United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology—a position he held while also serving faculty posts at both Georgia Regents University (formerly Georgia Health Sciences University) and the Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to that, his career canvassed medical schools affiliated with Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, and the University of Arkansas—the latter at which he enjoyed a fruitful seven years chairing the Pathology department, and was bestowed the Aubrey J. Hough Jr. Endowed Chair.

Smoller, whose appointment is pending final approval from the University Board of Trustees, will oversee URMC’s bustling Pathology and Laboratory Medicine department. The department is responsible for training the next generation of anatomic, clinical, and experimental pathologists; conducting basic, clinical, and translational research studies at its FDA-compliant central laboratory; and processing more than 6.2 million tests annually through UR Medicine Labs, its 24/7 consumer-faced outfit.

“The chair of this department plays a critical role leading efforts across all four URMC missions, and intersecting with virtually every corner of our institution,” said search committee chair,  Jeffrey Lyness, M.D., professor of Psychiatry and the senior associate dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Bruce, besides being widely published, a respected clinician and teacher, and an international expert in dermatopathology, is a skilled leader and inspiring communicator.”

Smoller finished undergraduate studies at Dartmouth, earning his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati before completing an internship and anatomic and clinical pathology residency (including a turn as chief resident) at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In 1987, he went on to a fellowship in dermatopathology downstate at New York Hospital/Cornell University Medical Center.

He currently belongs to a number of professional societies, including the American Society of Dermatopathology, where he took a turn as president and as a board member; the American Society of Clinical Pathologists; and the College of American Pathologists. Smoller also spent five years as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, and is frequently tapped for input on editorial boards other preeminent journals in dermatology, pathology, and dermatopathology. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals—plus thirteen textbooks. His primary research interests revolve around cutaneous T cell lymphoma (a blood-based cancer affecting the skin) and the role of immunopathology as a diagnostic tool.

Smoller expressed enthusiasm for his move north.

“This is an honor,” he said. “I’m very excited to be joining a well-respected department within such a forward-thinking institution. I think that URMC is well-positioned to confront the upcoming challenges that face today’s health care system, and I’m eager to play a part in this effort, in concert with a highly respected and dedicated team of pathologists.”

Smoller and his wife, Laura—a medieval historian who recently accepted a professorship at the University of Rochester’s River Campus—will head to Rochester in the weeks ahead.