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A new pathology chair is named, will arrive in March

Medicine@Yale, 2019 - November December


Chen Liu, MD, PhD, will become chair of the Department of Pathology at Yale School of Medicine and chief of Pathology at Yale New Haven Hospital, effective March 1, 2020.

Liu comes to Yale from Rutgers University, where since 2015 he has been professor and chair of pathology, immunology, and laboratory medicine at New Jersey Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Medical School and chair of the Center for Dermatology at RWJ Medical School. He is also chief of service at University Hospital in Newark and RWJ University Hospital in New Brunswick and chief of the Division of Oncological Pathology at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

After obtaining his medical degree at Tong Liao Medical College at Inner Mongolia University of Nationality in China, Liu did postgraduate training at Peking Union Medical College. He went on to receive his PhD in pathology from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed his residency in anatomical and clinical pathology at Hahnemann University Hospital, an oncological pathology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital, and postdoctoral training at Scripps Clinic.

Before joining Rutgers, Liu was professor and vice chair of pathology, immunology, and laboratory medicine at the University of Florida, where he also held an endowed chair in gastrointestinal and liver research. In his role as chair at Yale, he will succeed Jon S. Morrow, PhD, MD, chair and Raymond Yesner Professor of Pathology.

Liu is motivated by a desire to bring the most innovative research to medicine. He says he chose to specialize in pathology “because it’s really a bridge department. You can do transformational research, bringing discovery to the bedside, and the bedside to discovery. That’s the part that really excited me.”

As a well-recognized gastrointestinal and liver pathologist, he provides expert consultations for physicians and patients. He has several patents and pending applications for his research, which focuses on the epigenetic drivers that cause liver cancer in a virally infected or alcohol-exposed liver. This work has contributed to the understanding of liver cancer carcinogenesis and biomarker discovery for early diagnosis and therapeutic targets. He also is using immunotherapy to treat liver cancer, specifically engineering T cells and natural killer (NK) cells to boost their anti-cancer activity, which will soon be tested in a clinical trial. His research programs have been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies since 2003.

At Rutgers, Liu led the integration of pathology and dermatology programs, expanded dermatology clinics, and increased the size of the dermatology residency program. He also established the Immunology Division, the Center for Medical Microbiology, and the Center for the Studies of Stillbirth and Early Infant Death. During the past four years, the department doubled the number of faculty, and significantly increased clinical revenue, NIH funding, and academic productivity.

Liu is a lifetime fellow of the College of American Pathologists and a two-time recipient of the Technology Innovator Award from the University of Florida. He has received awards for teaching and mentoring from the University of Florida, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and NIH.

At Yale, he plans to continue to pursue innovative research while educating the next generation of investigators and physicians. His goal is to provide exceptional patient-centered care and capture new opportunities in the changing health care landscape. “Yale’s Department of Pathology has a great reputation and a group of very distinguished world-class faculty and staff,” Liu says. “With that foundation, I think we can further elevate its distinction nationally and internationally.”