Dr. Zu-hua Gao, Professor and Head Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

From the Department Head

Since my arrival in November 2021, I was greeted by the heavy rains, flood, followed by snow around the Christmas/new year time. At the same time, the world was hit by a wave of Omicron variant of Covid virus. My natural way of coping is to hide myself in the subbasement office of the university hospital and pray. No, that was not what happened. It was you, your dedication, your positive attitude, and your support have completely switched my mind set. I was able to work with the team to deal with our challenges and making some solid steps forward.

First, studying the landscape. I have met over 100 medical scientific staff members and received many insightful suggestions. I toured the labs at St Paul’s hospital, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the Royal Columbian Hospital site and met via zoom our colleagues in the Island Health Authority, the Interior Health Authority and the Fraser health authority. I was overwhelmed by the level of academic and clinical excellence in those places. The marathon of fact finding will continue….

Second, building a leadership team. Following the Department’s 2021 equity, diversity and inclusion survey recommendation, we made an open call for position of Vice Chair of Research, Vice of Education, Vice Chair of Research, and Director of David F. Hardwick Pathology Learning Centre. I am very pleased that Professor Cheryl Wellington has accepted the Vice Chair of Research appointment and Professor Michael Nimmo has accepted the appointment of Vice Chair of Education. Both of them have already started working on the strategic planning for the next 5 years. The two reins of our departmental academic mission are in good hands. We are currently in the selection process for the Director of the David F. Hardwick Pathology Learning Centre.

Third, regaining financial stability. The department’s financial situation had been very fragile with a structural deficit. In order to maintain and enhance our academic excellence, our management team has been working very hard to to seek finance support from the Dean’s Office, cutting costs, and raise funds from different directions. Your help and support in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all of us. The clinical workload has increased significantly for those colleagues in the frontline. Our teaching programs and research scientists also faced some unique challenges in recruiting and supervising students due to contact restrictions. And yet, our department was still able to fulfill all of our teaching mandates and at the same time excel in research productivity. I want to express my sincere appreciation to all of you, students, staff and faculty members, for your dedication, hard work, innovation, and willingness to help and support each other at difficult times. Together, we are building a brighter future.

In this issue of the department’s newsletter you will learn about highlights in our educational programs, the Academy of Translational Medicine’s role in supporting researchers to accelerate progress through the pipeline from research discovery to patient impact and the advances our researchers have made both in transplant medicine and in understanding the recent resurgence of syphilis around the world. The newsletter also introduces you to our newest faculty members and staff and shares recent publications from clinical and academic faculty members. Many thanks to our Database and Information Systems Manager for creating this newsletter.

Pathology Education News and Insights

We help students unlock their potential

Featured Research News

scientific advances on important topics

The Academy of Translational Medicine

We are entering a golden age of biomedical discovery, where new classes of therapeutics are expected to transform human health and drive economic growth over the next century.

Organ Transplantation

A New Approach to Suppresses Immune Response Locally to Make Organ Transplantation Less Burdensome.

Genetic Study Suggests Global Resurgence of Syphilis

The BCCDC Public Health Laboratory has had a long standing interest in syphilis diagnosis, public health response and in understanding the characteristics of the Treponema pallidum which causes syphilis disease.


showcasing the work of our faculty members

Postdoctoral Life

This is opportunity for our Postdocs to share their unique stories and skills as well as ongoing research ventures at the department, knowing which can stimulate more collaborations within the community.


Anthony Hsieh was a Postdoctoral Researcher in Dr. Cote's Lab but moved to Oxford for another Postdoc in December 2021. Congratulations!




Meet our new Assistant Professor Leandro Venturutti. Dr. Venturutti is a Scientist at Terry Fox Laboratory & Centre for Lymphoid Cancer and Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UBC

Did you know?

The UBC Aquatic Centre uses rainwater harvested from the building’s roof to replenish their pools, saving approximately 2.7 million litres of water annually!

PathDay May 27, 2022

We are excited to bring the pathology community back together. PathDay will be held in person May 27, 2022 at the Holiday Inn, 711 W. Broadway @ Heather St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3Y2.

newly promoted faculty members

  • Adegbola, Tunde - Clinical Assistant Professor (Nanaimo Regional Hospital)
  • Moshref-Razavi, Habib - Clinical Assistant Professor (Surrey Memorial Hospital)
  • Salina, Davide - Clinical Associate Professor (Royal Jubilee Hospital)
  • Vice, Francis - Clinical Assistant Professor (St. Paul's Hospital)
  • Yousefzadeh-Davani, Ehsan - Clinical Assistant Professor (Penticton Regional Hospital)
  • Yan, Matthew - Clinical Associate Professor (Canadian Blood Services/Fraser Health)

notable accomplishments

Dr. James Lan and Dr. Ali Bashashati: recipients of 2021 MSFHR Scholar Awards

Sorensen Lab

Poul Sorensen,Molecular Oncology, Cancer Research

Molecular Oncology BC Cancer

From Dr. Roth, Dr. Park. Dr. Shah and Dr. Aparicio

Integrative Oncology Department, BC Cancer

Kevin L. Bennewith

The Granville Lab

David Granville, Associate Dean, Research, Faculty of Medicine, UBC; Executive Director, VCHRI

Community Pathologists

David Grynspan, Vernon Jubilee Hospital


Ali Bashashati, Director of AI Research, OVCARE at BC Cancer/UBC