Donna Hansel, MD, Ph.D., joins MD Anderso


image: Donna Hansel, MD, Ph.D.
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Credit: Courtesy of Oregon Health and Science University

HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today announced that Donna Hansel, MD, Ph.D., has been named Division Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. A pathologist, researcher and distinguished leader, Hansel will join MD Anderson on September 12.

Hansel will lead a team of 650 people, including more than 130 clinical and research faculty, in four departments that serve as a bridge between basic research, translational research and clinical care at MD Anderson. The Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine plays a vital role in MD Anderson’s mission by providing high-quality patient data to guide clinical care, managing transfusions and blood products for hundreds of patients daily, and conducting cutting-edge multidisciplinary research.

“After an extensive national search, we are thrilled to have Dr. Hansel join MD Anderson and share his wealth of experience with our community,” said Peter WT Pisters, MD, President of MD Anderson. “She is an exceptional leader with strong academic and professional skills, and she is a model of our core values ​​– all core traits that will serve her and our institution well as she leads this essential team. “

Hansel is currently a professor and chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland. In this role, she significantly increased the number of faculty in the department, developed the anatomical pathology subspecialty, and reestablished previously outsourced microbiology laboratory services, which positioned the department to become a key partner in the response to the Oregon Health Authority to the COVID-19 pandemic. She currently oversees more than $46 million in public funding for research and services, including epidemiological surveillance, sewage testing, genomic sequencing and surveillance, testing of K-12 schoolchildren, as well as testing and outreach in underserved and disproportionately affected communities.

At OHSU, Hansel also led the construction of a digital pathology and informatics nucleus, established multidisciplinary research initiatives, created subspecialty fellowship programs in anatomical pathology, and popularized student programs in medicine in pathology. These efforts have resulted in a tripling of grant and contract revenue, a doubling of submitted research manuscripts, and a dramatic increase in the number of OHSU medical student applications for pathology residencies.

“I am delighted to join MD Anderson as Division Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine,” said Hansel. “It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to work with so many outstanding faculty, trainees and staff within the division and the institution. I look forward to supporting excellence in the division and developing innovative new programs to advance our efforts to eliminate cancer.

Hansel began her career at the Cleveland Clinic, where she rose from assistant professor of anatomical pathology to associate professor over four years, with cross appointments at associate cancer centers and institutes of genomics and urology. She then joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego as a professor and head of the division of anatomical pathology. During her tenure at these facilities, Hansel led system-wide efforts to improve access for people with disabilities, increase supports for working mothers, address gender equity issues, and establish services well-being and spiritual and emotional care for students, staff and faculty.

“Dr. Hansel has distinguished herself as a researcher, leader, and advocate for diversity and well-being throughout her career,” said Welela Tereffe, MD, Medical Director. that same commitment to MD Anderson, working to advance pathology and laboratory medicine while ensuring an inclusive and equitable workplace for all.”

Hansel received his medical and doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine through the Medical Scientist Training Program. She also completed her clinical training there, including a pathology residency, a clinical fellowship in genitourinary pathology, and a postdoctoral fellowship in gastrointestinal pathology-pathology. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Pathology and Genetics from Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

Hansel has subspecialty clinical expertise in urological pathology, including bladder, prostate, kidney and testicular cancer. His laboratory research focuses on identifying targetable pathways in advanced bladder cancer, with a focus on mTOR signaling and novel downstream targets involved in cell motility and invasion. This research has been translated into clinical practice, impacting World Health Organization (WHO) and American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) categorization and staging changes for bladder cancer. His work has resulted in over 160 articles in peer-reviewed publications. She is the author of six textbooks and has written 19 book chapters. She sits on the editorial boards of several professional publications and is associate editor of the journal Archives of pathology and laboratory medicine.

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