Duncavage and Heusel to Lead Two New Department Sections

In an effort to enhance clinical genomic services at Washington University School of Medicine, the Department of Pathology & Immunology is pleased to announce the formation of two new sections; Clinical Cancer Genomics and Constitutional Genomics. Eric Duncavage, MD will serve as the inaugural head of Clinical Cancer Genomics and Jonathon Heusel, MD, PhD will serve as the head of Constitutional Genomics. The transition to more subspecialized clinical genomic services will provide greater access to personalized care and resources for our providers and research community.

“We are excited to move forward with this initiative. I have no doubt that by establishing our new translational laboratory and organizational model we will be able to develop and implement advanced genomic tests for our clinical colleagues both within and outside the boundaries of Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH),” said Joseph Gaut, MD, PhD, Division Chief of Anatomical and Molecular Pathology.  “It is a testament to the significant depth of expertise in the Department of Pathology and Immunology that we are able to lead this important effort in advancing personalized patient care.”

As head of Clinical Cancer Genomics, Dr. Duncavage will lead the department’s molecular oncology diagnostics service by building on the success of MyeloSeq, expanding solid tumor NGS testing to provide advanced diagnostics for all cancer patients. In addition, the department is inaugurating the Molecular Oncology Translational and Experimental Laboratory under Dr. Duncavage’s direction, which will develop new diagnostic technologies for cancer precision medicine. He also serves as the Section Head of Hematopathology, and is the principal investigator on several translational science grants.        

As head of Constitutional Genomics, Dr. Heusel will oversee the development and operation of germline genomics testing in support of patient care, clinical trials, and commercial contracts requiring clinical-grade testing services. He also serves as the director of Clinical and Translational Genomics within the Department of Pathology & Immunology, and works closely with the Institute for Informatics and the McDonnell Genome Institute, where he served as the founding medical director for its clinical NGS facility.

“Drs. Duncavage and Heusel are leaders who will revitalize our department’s partnerships with clinical colleagues to integrate genomic diagnostics into patient care, research, and post-graduate medical education,” said Charles Eby, MD, Division Chief of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine. “Eric and Jon have been working closely on a new vision for molecular diagnostics services for more than a year now, and I expect they will continue to make sure our department is well positioned to provide coordinated and robust testing as we move forward in precision medicine.”

Philip R.O. Payne, PhD, Janet and Bernard Becker Professor and Director, Institute for Informatics (I2) & Chief Data Scientist, hailed the reorganization saying, the evolution of precision medicine from theory to practice will have a profound impact on the care we deliver to our patients at Washington University and BJC Healthcare, both now and well into the future. By evaluating patients at the biomolecular, clinical, behavioral, and environmental levels, and making sense of those assessments using the best available evidence, we will improve the quality, safety, and outcomes of healthcare.