History of Pathology & Cell Biology at Columbia

antique microscopeThe Department of Pathology and Cell Biology has had a long and very distinguished history. Its former members had large roles in introducing new ideas to American medicine, including the techniques of pathology, the introduction of the germ theory of disease and modern public health practices. The Department of Pathology itself has a history going back to the mid 19th Century. The Department of Anatomy has an even longer history, dating back to the founding of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1767. The two departments merged in 2005 to form the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.

In June 2012, we threw a big party in Low Library, an iconic Columbia space, to celebrate the progress of the last 25 years, during which Dr. Michael Shelanski has been Chair. It was an entertaining event and you can see some of the photos in the Newsletter (Fall, 2012). We took advantage of the party to reminisce about our past and you can see the result in the Special Edition Newsletter of June 2012 that is available on this site.

We have reproduced other articles on our history on this webpage. Dr. Michael Gershon, for many years the Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and one of Columbia's preeminent researchers and teachers, reviewed the history of Anatomy at Columbia. Dr. Karl Perzin describes his first 56 years at Columbia. Other inspiring contributions of people who served long ago and also presented here. We assume that past is prologue, especially now that the merged department has such a strong basic research arm.

Contact the Pathology Webmaster at PathWebMaster@columbia.edu