Division of Molecular Pathology

Welcome to the Division of Molecular Pathology

Our Division, based in the James Cancer Hospital and OSUWMC Department of Pathology, provides clinical molecular diagnostics for a wide range of cancers and other heritable disorders. Our mission is to provide cutting edge, clinically responsible and cost-effective diagnostics for the patients of Ohio and beyond. Testing is performed at the Polaris Innovation Center (cancer assays) and at the Ackerman campus (inherited disorders).

Molecular Pathology is a medical specialty that seeks to integrate microscopic findings with the genetic changes associated with diseases such as cancer and inflammatory conditions. Goals of this work in cancer patients include more precise diagnostic classification, improved early detection of cancer and providing help in selecting therapies. Another important goal for Molecular Pathology in some cancers is more sensitive detection of low levels of disease to help guide when to continue or restart treatments to help lower the rates of relapse.

What is Molecular Pathology ...

Our Clinical Laboratories: Leaders in Translational Research

  • Participation in multiple enrollment/targeted therapy cancer trials sponsored by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (Polaris and Ackerman labs)
  • A leader in diagnosis of neuromuscular disorders with participation in the Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center (Muscular Dystrophy Association) and clinical trials and research initiatives for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Ackerman lab)
  • In collaboration with the OSU Department of Genetics, assay development for the NIH-sponsored Molecular Screening for Hereditary Cancer projects (Ackerman lab)
  • Principal testing centers for the Ohio Colorectal Center Prevention Initiative (Polaris and Ackerman labs)
  • Led “Project Cure: SMN2 Copy Number Assay”, funded by the Families of SMA (Ackerman lab)
  • Advanced DNA sequencing methods: Ion Torrent and Illumina Platforms
  • Digital drop PCR
  • Computer-assisted Fluoresence Imaging for FISH
  • Custom gene sequencing panels
  • Integrated molecular cancer panels

Technology Development & Molecular Diagnostics

Informatics & Molecular Diagnostics

The ongoing challenge of Molecular Pathology is to speed the practical application of genomics knowledge emerging from research labs and national initiatives to clinical decision-making in each patient. This involves computer-assisted analysis of sequence data and new methods to display results of genetic tests in the medical record. The Division has initiated a research program to develop new methods for sequence annotation.

dan jones
Dan Jones, MD, PhD

Professor, Division Director

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Dr. zhao
Weiqiang Zhao, MD, PhD

Associate Professor-Clinical

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Dr. prior
Thomas Prior, PhD


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