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Alumni Q&A: Dr. Jorge Yao



Dr Jorge YaoJorge Yao, M.D. is a former URMC Pathology fellow-turned-faculty member. He first came in 2003 as a genitourinary pathology fellow and was offered a faculty position in 2004.

He worked closely with the Urology Department on research and clinical projects, helping to set up the institutional biospecimen repository. After a productive decade, he left in 2013 as an associate professor with an MBA from Simon Business School. He now works for Pathline Emerge in Ramsey, New Jersey.

Education & Training

Dr. Yao received his MD from University of the East - Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center and completed an internship in general medicine at St. Luke’s Medical Center in the Philippines. He did residency in pathology at Brooklyn Hospital Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital and completed internships in surgical pathology and cytopathology at New York University.

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in the Philippines and came to the U.S. to finish my training.


Wife, Grace Candelario

What first sparked your interest in pathology?

My uncle is a pathologist and visiting him at work sparked the interest, but I like anatomic pathology mainly because it is like being a consulting detective.

How would you describe your job to someone who’s never heard of it before?

I push around bits of people under the microscope then write a report about it. 

How do you like to spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies/interests?

I have become a kaizen nerd lately, so most of my free time is spent reading and trying to find small improvements I can implement in my life. I used to have hobbies but they are getting together to file a class action suit for neglect.

What’s one piece of advice you have for up-and-coming pathology trainees looking to start their careers?

The best piece of advice I can give to new pathologists is that no matter how specialized the field becomes, there will always be a need for anatomic pathologists with a good grasp of basic pathology and an excellent foundation of general surgical pathology.


Pathology Grad Students Present Results of CTSI Incubator


Christopher Farnsworth,  Ashlee MacDonald, and Eric Schott pose in  front of the podium at the Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting.Results from the 2015 CTSI Incubator project suggest there is a connection between gut microbes in obesity and impaired musculoskeletal health. Members of the Incubator project team presented results at the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) Annual Meeting this week that suggest manipulating the gut microbiome in obese animals can slow osteoarthritis and speed healing after fracture.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes have been known to delay fracture healing and accelerate erosion of joint cartilage in osteoarthritis. The 2015 Incubator project, led by Michael Zuscik, Ph.D., associate professor of Orthopaedics; Robert Mooney, Ph.D., professor of Pathology; and Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell, Ph.D., associate professor of Orthopaedics, aimed to understand how and why this occurred.

The group found that all of these negative effects of obesity were linked to changes in the gut microbiome. Feeding mice a high fat diet to mimic obesity and type 2 diabetes altered the types of bacteria in their colon, favoring pro-inflammatory bugs. This coincided with greater systemic inflammation, which may have contributed to accelerated osteoarthritis and delayed fracture healing.

Not only did the team find a link between the obese gut microbiome and impaired musculoskeletal health, but they think they can reverse it. In preliminary studies, obese mice were fed a fiber supplement that they cannot digest, but that certain helpful gut microbes love. Despite continuing to feed the mice a high fat diet, the non-digestible fiber shifted their microbiome back toward the non-inflammatory bacterial profile seen in lean mice.

That microbiome shift in the obese mice also reduced systemic inflammation, slowed osteoarthritis progression, and restored fracture healing. Essentially, the non-digestible fiber completely reversed the negative effects of obesity on the musculoskeletal system, making the obese mice indistinguishable from their lean counterparts in terms of musculoskeletal health.

Members of the Incubator project team presented these and other related results this week at the ORS Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.  Christopher Farnsworth and Eric Schott, both graduate students in Pathology, gave podium talks and Ashlee MacDonald, Orthopaedics resident, presented a talk as part of a special Late-Breaking session.  

Schott also earned a young investigator travel award to present his research about the effect of the obese microbiome on osteoarthritis at next month’s Osteoarthritis Research Society International Meeting, where he will be featured in a special session and an award ceremony.

Match Day Results: 2017


After a very successful interview season, the Pathology residency program at URMC is pleased to announce that it has filled all 6 open spots for the coming academic year. 

Meet the PGY-1 residents for 2017-18: 

Wilson BennettBennett Wilson
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences 




Anna Karoline IsraelAnna Karoline Israel
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena Medizinische Fakultät





Phoenix BellPhoenix Bell
St. George's University School of Medicine





NumbereyeNumbereye Numbere
University of Ibadan College of Medicine




Xin ZhangXin Zhang 
Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University





Chelsea MilitoChelsea Milito 
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine 






Chief, Associate Chief Residents Named for 2017-18


The Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Resident Education Committee (REC) has selected Dr. Shira Winters to be chief resident for the 2017-18 academic year.

Dr. Winters has chosen Drs. Caroline Bsirini and Sohaib Abu-Farsakh to be co-associate chief residents.

Congratulations to the new team!

Shira Winters



Shira Winters, M.D.

Caroline Bsrini





Caroline Bsirini, M.D.

Sohaib Abu-Farsakh




Sohaib Abu-Farsakh M.D.



New FDA Donor Testing Lab Streamlines Organ Transplant Process



One hour can make a big difference when it comes to helping organ transplant recipients. Saving five hours makes an even bigger difference.

For people who have opted to become organ donors, the moment when this wish becomes a reality often comes after an unexpected trauma or illness. In those moments, every step must move quickly to make a transplant successful. 

The Serology Laboratory at Strong Memorial Hospital performs a wide range of tests. Some of their most specialized testing is performed in conjunction with Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network (FLDRN) to screen potential organ donors for a variety of infectious diseases, as required by national policy. Until recently, some testing had to be sent 5-6 hours away to an offsite lab in Philadelphia, PA.

This changed in February 2017, when Serology’s donor testing lab at Strong expanded their services and began performing Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Now, all of the required donor screening tests can be performed under one roof. The testing is performed after a potential donor has been identified, medically evaluated and consent/authorization for donation has been obtained.

For recipients who are waiting for an organ to become available, every minute counts. Having access to new testing capabilities helps the coordinators at the FLDRN who work around the clock to coordinate transplants.

“It also assists our transplant program by being able to turn these tests around more quickly so the donation process and organ recovery can take place sooner,” said Dan Wheeler, supervisor of Serology, Immunology and Molecular Virology at URMC. “The longer the process drags on, the more opportunities there are for complications.”

For example, a donor’s heart and lungs must be transplanted into a recipient within four hours of the time they are recovered from a donor; a donor’s liver must be transplanted within 12 hours and their kidneys must be transplanted within 24 hours. The donor testing lab, led by supervisor Lindsay Ryan, is staffed by five transplant technologists who are on-call 24/7/365 when new cases come in. The sooner the serology results are reported, the sooner the actual organ transplants can begin.

Rob Kochik, executive director of the FLDRN says that until now, New York State has never had a laboratory that performs NAT testing on a 24-hour stat basis. Kochik and Marilyn Menegus Ph.D., Associate Director of Microbiology at URMC, have been working collaboratively to establish the lab at Strong Memorial Hospital.  

Kochik says it’s exciting to have access to a local lab for all pre-transplant testing since this expansion saves hours of travel time that used to delay the transplant process.

“This saves us five or six hours of waiting, in particular, when we’re trying to move as quickly as possible to coordinate a donation,” said Kochik. “Literally, this will help us save more lives. We could not be more excited and appreciative of the hard work that the lab is doing to put this in place.”

In addition to partnering with FLDRN, Strong plans to perform testing for other organ procurement organizations in Buffalo and Albany.

Pictured above: The team of medical technologists at the new sereological donor testing lab includes (from left) Ryan Sorensen, Lauren Brooks, Lindsay Ryan, Nicole Desisto, Alycia Haueise, and Baltazar Yeban Calunod Jr. 


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