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Pathology News Highlights

Cancer Research Awards presented to Ranjit Bindra and Don Nguyen

Ranjit Bindra and Don Nguyen
Ranjit Bindra, MD, PhD, Professor Therapeutic Radiology (left) and Don Nguyen, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Medicine (Medical Oncology) (right).
The Class of 1961 Cancer Research Awards were presented to Ranjit Bindra, MD, PhD, Professor Therapeutic Radiology and Don Nguyen, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Medicine (Medical Oncology). They were honored for their significant accomplishments in cancer research at Yale University as members of the faculty, coupled with the expectation for future outstanding contributions to the cause of cancer and the development of novel cancer treatments.

Yale Pathologist Dr. Harold Sanchez discusses how autopsies have changed during COVID-19

Dr. Harold Sanchez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Yale School of Medicine and a Pathologist for Yale Medicine, appeared on WTNH News 8 to tell about autopsies and what can be learned from them during the COVID-19 pandemic. He discusses how autopsies have changed during the pandemic and what role autopsies have had in giving doctors a better understanding of the damage that the virus can do.

View the video on WTNH.com [3:45 minutes]

National Women’s Hockey League partners with Yale on COVID-19 testing

NWHL game between Buffalo Beauts and Metropolitan Riveters
Photo by Kate Frese

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) is working with Yale to provide saliva-based COVID-19 testing for players and staff during the upcoming season and Isobel Cup playoffs in Lake Placid, New York. The PCR viral RNA testing method — known as SalivaDirect — was developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). It was granted an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after researchers performed clinical validation in collaboration with YSPH, Yale New Haven Hospital, and Yale Pathology Labs (YPL).

read Yale News article here

National Women’s Hockey League Partners with Yale on COVID-19 Testing

NWHL player in action - photo by Kate Frese
Photo by Kate Frese

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) is working with Yale to provide saliva-based COVID-19 testing for players and staff during the upcoming season and Isobel Cup Playoffs in Lake Placid.

Yale Pathology Labs (YPL) was the first to offer SalivaDirect™ to the public and the National Women’s Hockey League is the first women’s professional sports league to implement SalivaDirect™ testing,” said Stephanie Weirsman, physician liaison for YPL. “The NWHL is proud to be working with Yale Pathology Labs,” said NWHL Commissioner Tyler Tumminia.

Additionally, NWHL and YPL are working jointly on a quality improvement initiative which involves obtaining paired saliva and nasal samples for NWHL players and staff for dual testing purposes. This dual testing is beneficial both to the NWHL players and staff who receive two concurrent results, as well as to the clinical lab which can provide additional data for the COVID-19 diagnostic molecular testing program.

read full press release here

High-Impact Publication in Journal “Cell”

Graphical Abstract from publication in Cell

In the article, “Genome-wide CRISPR Screens Reveal Host Factors Critical for SARS-CoV-2 Infection”, Yale Pathology research members Qin Yan, Katerina Politi, Wesley Cai, Shang-Min Zhang, Fernando de Minguel, and Huacui Chen participated in characterization of the epigenetic regulators identified from a genome-wide CRISPR screens in Vero-E6 cells with SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, bat coronavirus HKU5 expressing SARS-CoV-1 spike protein, or VSV expressing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

The research team has identified pro-viral host factors including epigenetic regulators (HMGB1, SWI/SNF, KDM6A, and JMJD6), and receptor ACE2 and protease Cathepsin L. They have demonstrated that HMGB1 regulates ACE2 expression, which is critical for the entry of coronaviruses SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and NL63. The team has also shown that “small molecule antagonists of identified gene” can inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 infection of both human and monkey cells.

In conclusion, the research teams’ above findings are critical for further understanding of the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and treatment of COVID-19.

access journal article here

Sacred Heart, University of Saint Joseph roll out saliva-based COVID-19 test for students, staff

students wearing masks

The University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford began using the SalivaDirect testing method for COVID-19 this past Monday. On Tuesday, Sacred Heart University (Fairfield) also rolled out the testing. With rising concerns of possible outbreaks, the both universities aim to increase the number of students tested and with more rapid results.

read full Hartford Courant news article here


SHU Moves to Saliva Testing for Covid-19

Angelique Levi, MD
Associate Professor of Pathology
Director, Pathology Outreach Program

Sacred Heart University is now working with Yale to begin saliva-based COVID-19 testing beginning this week. The testing method SalivaDirectTM will be used. The method, less invasive and less expensive than nasal-swab testing, was developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH). Clinical validation was performed in collaboration between YSPH, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale Pathology Labs (YPL). YPL is the first lab to offer SalivaDirectTM to the public, and Sacred Heart is among the first educational institutions to adopt SalivaDirectTM testing. "YPL’s Outreach Program is committed to bringing these standards of excellence to local communities and beyond,” says Angelique W. Levi, M.D., YPL Outreach director and associate professor of pathology.

read full news article here


Yale designates labs in three states to provide SalivaDirect™ COVID-19 test

YPL logo with staff


Yale has designated three independent laboratories to perform the university-developed SalivaDirect™ COVID-19 test. Along with Yale Pathology Labs — the first to offer the test — Access Medical Laboratories, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), and Mirimus, Inc., represent the initial wave of providers for the innovative testing method. They will make SalivaDirect™ available to people in Florida, Minnesota and New York by late September.

see more: Yale News Article


New COVID-19 testing process, SalivaDirect™ and receiving recent FDA authorization

Dr. Pei Hui

Pei Hui, PhD, MD
Professor of Pathology and of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences;
Director, Gynecologic Pathology;
Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratories

Quick and affordable saliva-based COVID-19 test developed by Yale scientists receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization

The Pathology Clinical Molecular Diagnostic Lab, Directed by Dr. Pei Hui, has been authorized by FDA to test Covid-19 using saliva specimen as part of the FDA EUA, Led by Nate Grubaugh and Anne Wyllie from Yale School of Public Health. This lab would be the first laboratory to offer this test in the coming days. Congratulations to Dr. Pei Hui's leadership for this great achievement and thank the entire team for their efforts and contributions! This success represents an example of how our pathology clinical laboratory can closely collaborate with basic scientists to rapidly bring research to clinical diagnosis.

$15M NIDA Grant Awarded to Serena Spudich, Mark Gerstein, and Yuval Kluger

$15M NIDA Grant Awarded to Serena Spudich, Mark Gerstein, and Yuval Kluger

Principal Investigators Dr. Serena Spudich, MD, MA (Neurology), Dr. Mark Gerstein, PhD (Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry), and Dr. Yuval Kluger, PhD (Pathology) were recently awarded a $15 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to establish a Data Center to coordinate, analyze, and make accessible single-cell and other molecular data sets generated by Single-Cell Opioid Responses in the Context of HIV (SCORCH) and other NIDA-funded HIV and substance use disorder projects. The grant will commence on August 1st, 2020 with a project period of five years. This prestigious award is for a multi-disciplinary proposal and will involve Principal Investigators and key personnel: Drs. Ya-Chi Ho, MD, PhD, MMS (Microbial Pathogenesis), Anita Huttner, MD (Pathology), Nenad Sestan, MD, PhD (Neuroscience), and Le Zhang, PhD (Neurology). According to the project narrative:

Opioid use disorder (OUD) and HIV infection can affect cognition and behavior both independently and in combination, but knowledge is limited regarding how brain cells and circuits are altered in association with these conditions. Furthermore, HIV can persist in the brain long term, though the precise cellular locations of HIV infection and whether this infection is worsened by coexistent OUD and HIV are also unknown. The work proposed in this application will help determine which cells and which areas of the brain are involved in these conditions separately and together, thus improving our understanding of the brain effects of OUD and HIV.