The three coequal missions of the UNC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine are to 1) provide exceptional, comprehensive pathology and laboratory medicine clinical services; 2) teach clinical and scientific concepts of pathology and laboratory medicine, and mechanisms of disease to a wide variety of learners; and 3) advance the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine, and the knowledge of diseases and disease mechanisms through innovative research spanning the spectrum from basic to translational to clinical.
In partnership with McLendon Clinical Laboratories of UNC Hospitals, the goals of the clinical mission of the Department are to provide state of the art pathology and laboratory medicine services that are optimum for patient care and disease prevention, to facilitate operations by other clinical units, and to contribute to the financial integrity of the UNC Health Care System. Clinical services include all standard anatomic and clinical pathology services, as well as more specialized services such as molecular genetic pathology, cytogenetics, human progenitor cell harvesting, histocompatibility testing, and apheresis services. Many opportunities exist at UNC for interdisciplinary clinical and translational research, some facilitated by the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute that is funded through an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).
As the only Department at UNC that is both a basic science and a clinical department, the teaching mission is complex and serves an extremely diverse spectrum of learners, including but not limited to medical students, dental students, clinical residents and fellows, postdoctoral research fellows, predoctoral students in the Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Pathology and other graduate programs, and a variety of undergraduate students in multiple Health Affairs and Academic Affairs courses and programs. The teaching mission also includes very active participation in continuing medical education at the local, regional, national and international levels.
The combined basic science and clinical expertise in the Department results in an extremely eclectic array of research ranging from fundamental basic discovery research to translational research to applied clinical research. To sustain the research mission the faculty are successful in pursuing extramural funding. Departmental expertise in evaluating diseases and mechanisms of disease is in ever increasing demand by clinical and basic science faculty in other departments and centers, and collaborative contributions to multidisciplinary research at UNC is considered to be an important component of the overall research mission. As custodians of fluid, cell and tissue samples utilized in the Department’s clinical mission, another element of the research mission is to facilitate the proper and authorized use of this invaluable resource for research in order to benefit patients in the future. Individual projects span the breath of biomedical sciences from mechanistic studies of essential cellular processes, using model systems in vitro as well as animal models, to clinical intervention studies in human populations. Examples of some but not all areas of research are mutagenesis and carcinogenesis, thrombosis and hemostasis, cardiovascular pathobiology, pathophysiology of renal glomerular diseases, renal transplant pathophysiology, molecular genetics, tissue differentiation and regeneration, animal models of human disease, discovery of new drugs against infectious agents, and development of new diagnostic methods. Many of these investigations involve collaborations with members of other departments and centers on campus, as well as investigators at other national and international institutions. Pathology and laboratory medicine faculty are active in many of the research centers at UNC, including the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Carolina Center for Genome Sciences, McAllister Heart Institute, Neuroscience Center, Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility, and Kidney Center. The UNC Chapel Hill campus provides truly extraordinary opportunities for biomedical research.