Overview of UPMC Neuropathology Fellowship Training & How to Apply

The objective of the Neuropathology fellowship is to prepare the trainee to be a successful subspecialists including satisfying all of the ACGME professional competencies. In addition to developing a foundation in clinical and basic sciences related to neurological disease, a neuropathologist must be able to carry out their professional responsibilities while continuing to learn and stay abreast in their field. It is the central goal of the fellowship to prepare the developing professional to assume a broad spectrum of clinical and research responsibilities utilizing acquired skills and knowledge.

The Neuropathology fellowship is individually tailored to the fellow's career goals. In general fellows are ultimately expected to be eligible for the ABP neuropathology board exam, which requires 2 years of training beyond primary board certification (i.e. Anatomic Pathology, Neurology, Neurosurgery).  Currently, neuropathology board eligibility also requires that they:

  • complete neuropathological examination of 150 autopsy brains
  • complete 50 intra-operative consultations, and an adequate number of neuromuscular, and CSF examinations (precise number not currently specified)
  • and in the future will probably require formal training in ophthalmic pathology

During the 2-years of ACGME approved training fellows will also participate in Neuropathology Division activities. These activities help develop skills essential for a successful academic career and include:

  • Monthly staff meetings
  • Quarterly individual meetings with the fellowship director
  • Quarterly group fellow meetings
  • Weekly QA conferences
  • Weekly conference in neuropathology research topics
  • Monthly NP Journal Club
  • Assorted Department fellowship requirements (annual pathology department presentations)
  • Presenting at local and national meetings (at least 1 per year)
  • Medical, graduate, resident, and fellow teaching exercises

Recent advances in molecular neuroscience have raised the importance of a solid knowledge base in molecular pathology.  In addition to offering electives in this subspecialty we are offering select candidates the option of triple board eligibility through combined training programs.

To be eligible to take the Neuropathology Boards, applicants can apply for either a 4- or 5-year AP/NP training program. Additionally, individuals who will be board-eligible in a primary medical specialty (Anatomical Pathology, Neurology, Neurosurgery or Psychiatry) can apply for 2 years of Neuropathology training only. While formally a 2-year fellowship, additional training and support is available for fellows in the Academic/Research track through either the Department based Pathologist Investigator Residency / Research Training (PIRRT) program or other fellowships if desired.

The clinical/service work of the University of Pittsburgh Division of Neuropathology is divided into 2 parts. Service-1 includes all surgical specimens and intraoperative consultations, while Service-2 handles neuromuscular, ophthalmic, and autopsy pathology. Fellows in the academic track will divide this time between Service-1 and Service-2, along with one month of electives, one month of vacation and one week of conference time per year. Fellows in the research tracks will divide their time similarly, however have additional months to engage in goal directed research.  After 6 months of clinical training fellows in either track may be eligible to take evening and weekend call for one week a month during the remaining portion of their training.

When and how to apply for Neuropathology Fellowship training.

If interested in Neuropathology training it is best to notify the Fellowship Director Dr. Julia Kofler (email: koflerjk@upmc.edu) of your intent to apply so that she can answer any early questions. Formal application to the fellowship is accepted beginning in July up to 2 years prior to initiation of fellowship training. After receipt of the complete application a decision to interview is made and applicants are invited to visit Pittsburgh and speak with faculty and fellows from 36 to 6 months prior to the proposed start date. Admission is done on a rolling basis, so applicants are encouraged to apply early in their training.