A two-year ACGME-accredited neuropathology fellowship is available for M.D./D.O. candidates with previous completion of two years of anatomic pathology training, or primary board certification in another specialty (e.g. Neurology, Neurosurgery). The first year of fellowship involves full-time clinical responsibilities for the UCLA neuropathology service. The second year is flexible and usually spent conducting research. Elective rotations in ophthalmic pathology, neuroradiology, and neurology (neuromuscular) clinics are often taken in the second year as well. We are passionate about the central nervous system and neuropathology, and welcome trainees who feel the same way. Our trainees have gone on to diverse positions in academic neuropathology, private practice, and medical administration. We also welcome visiting medical students, pathology, neurosurgery, and neurology residents, and international physicians on our clinical service or in our research laboratories.
Trainees see a broad spectrum of neuropathology ranging from neoplastic to inflammatory to neurodegenerative. Daily frozen section consultations are routine. There is a busy consultation service in addition to in-house cases. The UCLA Brain Tumor Program and Pituitary Center provide strong interdisciplinary experiences for our trainees. UCLA-Ronald Reagan Medical Center Neuropathology also provides diagnostic support for the Kaiser Permanente Health Care system in Southern California, West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopedic Hospital, and Northridge Hospital.
Experience is gained in brain procurement and dissection. The neuropathology fellow is a key component of the weekly UCLA brain autopsy conference. Relevant MRI scans are reviewed and explained by Dr. Noriko Salamon of Neuroradiology. The fellows dissect the brains. As they acquire experience, they supervise and train pathology residents in dissections and write-ups of brain. The neuropathology attending provides relevant didactics on neuroanatomy and neuropathology. The mix of cases includes general medical neuropathology, organ transplant, dementia, and brain tumors. Brain dissections twice a month at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center provide an additional spectrum of autopsy findings.
Perinatal and pediatric autopsy cases provide valuable training material. In addition, as a pediatric brain tumor and epilepsy center, entities such as pilocytic astrocytomas, medulloblastomas, cortical dysplasia, tuberous sclerosis, and Rasmussen's encephalitis are well represented.
Trainees are also involved with the diagnostic work-up of a large number of nerve and muscle biopsy specimens (including muscle enzyme histochemistry, membrane immunocytochemistry, nerve fiber morphometry, analysis of osmicated teased fiber preparations and electron microscopy, as indicated by case material). There is a busy in-house and consult service.
Trainees rotate with Dr. Ben Glasgow, Professor and Chief of Ophthalmic Pathology at the renowned UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute located in the adjacent building on the UCLA campus. Autopsy eye dissections are emphasized.
Laboratory Management and Informatics
Quality assurance and quality improvement projects are highly encouraged. The neuropathology service, neuropathology laboratory, and the Brain Tumor Translational Resource (BTTR) are ideal microcosms for learning about and improving workflow and quality in the neuropathology practice. Nearly all malignant brain tumor cases are routinely digitized into whole slide digital images with an Aperio scanner as are select interesting cases of diverse types. There are about 5000 digitized slides representing ~500 cases. This digital archive is a valuable resource for clinical purposes when tumors recur or for learning purposes.
A key part of neuropathology training is biospecimen banking. The division runs core biorepositories for the Mary S. Easton Alzheimer Disease Research Center at UCLA and for the Neuro-Oncology program. Participation in tissue/fluids collection, storage, and biospecimen research is strongly encouraged as these elements are an essential component of a neuropathologist's practice.
A highly recommended elective rotation with the Neuroradiology service to read CT and MRI scans can provide useful experience in neuroanatomy and diagnostic differentials.
Clinical Neuromuscular Service (Elective)
Trainees have the option to attend the neuromuscular clinic with neurologists on their very active service. There are also weekly clinical neuromuscular conferences.
The second year of fellowship is dedicated largely to research. The Department of Pathology has translational research funds available to support trainee research. The Department takes particular pride in fostering young investigators. The UCLA Neuroscience enterprise as a whole and UCLA Neurology rank highly in NIH funding (Neurology has recently ranked #1). The research infrastructure and collegial, collaborative environment is, in our opinion, phenomenal. Our division is very well funded and also collaborates in large program project grants in stroke, brain tumors, and dementia.
The weather is sunny much of the year and outdoor sports such as tennis, hiking, and golf can be enjoyed even in winter. UCLA is close to many famous beaches including Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Malibu. The internal resident website has convenient links to surf reports. Ski resorts such as Mountain High and Big Bear are less than 2 hours away. Minutes nearby, the Santa Monica Mountains provide hiking and biking trails. For sports fans, UCLA has won 100 NCAA championships and events on campus are plentiful. The professional LA Tennis Open is hosted at UCLA. Multiple pools, the famous John Wooden Sports Center, and tennis courts are available for use on campus. The UCLA aquatic center at Marina del Rey allows for sailing, kayaking, and rowing. NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS games fill the LA year. Musical events and plays are hosted at UCLA or nearby in Westwood. Hollywood Bowl Pops, LA Opera, LA Philharmonic, Broadway plays, Reagan and Nixon Presidential Libraries, Getty and Norton Simon Museums, Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Hollywood music scene, and red carpet movie opening nights are Southern California staples. LA's remarkable ethnic diversity is reflected in its rich mix of restaurants and festivals.
Fausto J. Rodriguez, MD
Fausto J. Rodriguez
Phone: (310) 206-4111 | Email
Phone: (310) 267-1900