Skip Navigation

MUSC Bulletin | College of Graduate Studies

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Section Contents
Program of Study | Research Facilities | Admissions | Curriculum | Faculty Research Interests | Course Descriptions

Program of Study
Of all the medical sciences, pathology most closely bridges the gap between clinical medicine and the basic sciences. The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine offers advanced study leading to a Ph.D. degree in Experimental Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The objectives of this program are to provide an in-depth understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms of human disease processes, and to provide the skills and critical thinking required to perform scientific research. Clinical and basic scientists interact within the department in the study of disease processes, with research emphasis on: progression and treatment of cancer, gene expression in cancer and disease and pathogenesis and molecular biology of hearing loss. The latest biochemical, molecular and cellular techniques are being used to resolve these research problems. 

Research Facilities
The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is composed of four divisions: anatomic pathology, laboratory medicine, research pathology and pathology education. The department employs 52 full-time faculty and is responsible for the operation of diagnostic laboratories in surgical pathology, autopsy pathology, forensic pathology, molecular pathology, cytology, cytogenetics, immunopathology, hematology, transplantation and transfusion medicine, diagnostic immunology, clinical chemistry and clinical microbiology. The combination of the clinical and basic sciences in the department keeps students in close touch with current medical problems as they initiate and perform their research.

Research facilities available in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine reflect the diversity of the department. Research laboratories and the pathology education division are located in the Walton Research Building and other buildings across campus, with anatomic pathology and laboratory medicine facilities located in the Children’s Hospital. Major equipment and facilities include:  molecular biology facilities, protein purification and analysis equipment, transmission and scanning electron microscopy, tissue culture and tissue bank facilities, histopathology facilities, image processing and analysis facilities including laser scanning confocal microscopy, microscopy fluorometry, single-cell microinjection, and timelapse video imaging. 

Admission to the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is through the College of Graduate Studies Admissions Office. To view the requirements for admission, please see the website at 


Students acquire a broad education in the medical sciences in course work taken during the first two years of the program. The first year of the curriculum consists of the Core Curriculum offered by the College of Graduate Studies. Students also gain experience in scientific methodology in the first year by rotating through research labs throughout the University. At the end of the first year, students in the Pathology program take a Selective course in Histology that provides an understanding of the microscopic architecture of the human/animal body. The General Histology course is a prerequisite for the General & Systemic Pathology course that is taken in the second year. The general pathology course is designed to provide students with an understanding of basic mechanisms of disease.

Students begin formal seminar presentations in their second year, and these are repeated annually until graduation. An understanding of research problem-solving is gained as students define, develop and complete an independent research project under the mentorship of a member of the Graduate Faculty in the department. An advisory committee, selected by the student and their mentor, also helps to guide the student to successful completion of their proposed research.

Graduate Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at or by using the myGrants search tool at

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Course Descriptions
The number of semester hours is designated by s.h.

PATH-700. Seminar in Pathobiology. Students and faculty present seminars on their research projects. Required for all pathology and laboratory medicine graduate students. 1 s.h. Fall/Spring.

PATH-725D. Topics in Cancer Research. Two presentation formats will be used for the course. Initially, a faculty member will introduce and direct all students in the discussion of selected literature concerning a single topic. Subsequent topics will be presented by individual students in Journal Club style. Each student will have two opportunities to present selected topics during the course and will be active discussants when other students present. Topics to be covered include:

Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes
Cell Migration
Cell Proliferation and Cycle Control
Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes
Tumor Invasion
Cell Adhesion
Cell Migration
Signal Transduction and Growth Regulation
Molecular Profiling
Translation Applications
Transgenic and Knockout Models
Prerequisites: None. 3 s.h. Fall

PATH-730. Principles of Targeted Cancer Drug. As we enter the age of "personalized medicine" strategic choices for therapies can be made based on the identification of the molecular parameters determined by profiling a patient's tumor. This course seeks to explain this principle. 3 s.h. Spring.

PATH-771. Principles and Techniques of Biological Electron Microscopy. Students are given hands-on experience in all aspects of biological transmission electron microscopy. This includes learning strategies of fixation, tissue processing, ultramicrotomy, staining procedures and ancillary techniques. Students also become familiar with the theory and operation of a transmission electron microscope, which includes column design, vacuum, electromagnetic lens systems and photography. These goals will be accomplished by the integration of assigned or selected laboratory projects with ongoing lectures. By the end of the course, the student will have processed a target tissue through the various steps and procedures and will have produced suitable electron micrographs. 4 s.h. Summer. 

PATH-781. Topics in Cancer. Topics in Cancer Biology/Journal Club format students will present using faculty approved articles and will be expected to participate in discussion with other students, post-doctoral fellows & faculty members.  Students will attend each week and present one journal article per semester.  1 s.h. Fall/Spring.

PATH-784. General and Systemic Pathology for Graduate Students.  This course is designed for Ph.D. pathology students to build on the General and Systemic Pathology course for dental students (PATH 623) by examining current research and emerging topics in pathology. 5 s.h. Spring.

PATH 789.  General Histology. This course will provide the graduate student with the opportunity to learn to visualize the microscopic architecture of the human/animal body. A main goal is to teach basic and organ histology as a prerequisite for graduate student participation in a general pathology course. For graduate students in fields other than pathology the course will provide a practical understanding of histology. The primary resource for this course is WebMic, a Virtual Microscope and a Companion Manual of Histology Exercises. WebMic mimics the use of the microscope in learning histology. Emphasis will be placed on guided self-directed learning with ample opportunity for interaction with the instructors. Interaction with instructors is possible through direct viewing of specimens with microscopes, the use of dual viewing microscopes, and TV microscopy. This course is planned to be managed and administrated online via WebCT. Examinations will be both oral, written and practical questions administered by computer via WebCt.  3 s.h. Spring.

PATH-790. Laboratory Research Problems. Offers the student an opportunity to rotate through various laboratories in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and investigate different research problems and learn different techniques ongoing in the Department. Variable s.h. All.

PATH 792 - Anatomy, Histology and Histopathology of the Laboratory Mouse. This three credit hour course is offered as an elective course during the first three weeks of the summer semester. The anatomy, histology, and histopathology of the laboratory mouse will be presented. Emphasis will be placed on differences between human and mouse so future investigators who may use a mouse model of a human disease will understand approaches to developing new models as well as limitations of a given model.  Lectures will present anatomy, histology, basic principles of pathology and unique mouse pathology.  Lab sessions will be used to demonstrate the proper way to perform a pathological examination on properly euthanized animals. 

Tutorials using glass and virtual slides will be included.  Students will learn and execute a necropsy (term for post-mortem examination in veterinary medicine) of the mouse.  Two Genetically Engineered Mouse (GEM) models will be introduced by Drs. Awgulewitsch and Spyropoulos at the end of the course to reinforce the significance of understanding differences between mouse and human anatomy, histology and pathology.  Due to the brevity of the course, only a limited number of pathological entities will be included.  Lectures (12 hours) will be Monday - Thursday.  Six, 2 hour Labs (12 hours) - Wednesdays and Fridays.  Course contact time is 28 hours (inclusive two 2 hours exams).  Time for independent study of virtual slides is estimated to be 6 hours/week, total 18 hours. Prerequisite: PATH 789 Graduate Histology: Introduction to Pathology, or CELL 609: Medical Histology, or by permission of the course director. 
PATH-970. Research. Variable s.h. All.

PATH-980. Thesis. Variable s.h. All.

PATH-990. Dissertation. Variable s.h. All.

Last Published with Edits:May 2, 2016 2:23 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: July 2015

© 2016  Medical University of South Carolina | Disclaimer