Anatomic Pathology Residency

Pathology residents Ryan Sappenfield, MD, and Brooj Abro, MD, talk in the Gross lab at the BJC Institute of Health on January 23, 2019. MATT MILLER/WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

The Anatomic Pathology-only (AP-only) residency track provides a three-year training experience. This track is well-suited for the trainee who is planning a career in academic pathology. It may be combined with a fellowship and research experience under the pathology Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP).


The Anatomic Pathology curriculum is structured around subspecialty modules, which consist of:

    • Breast Pathology
    • Gynecologic Pathology
    • Cytopathology
    • Hematopathology
    • Pediatric Pathology
    • Molecular Pathology
    • Genitourinary Pathology
    • Gastrointestinal Pathology
    • Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology
    • Cardiothoracic Pathology
    • Neuropathology
    • Head and Neck Pathology
    • Dermatopathology

Residents also rotate on Autopsy, with the majority of the rotation spent performing medical autopsies, and additional experience at the St. Louis Medical Examiner office. In their second year, Anatomic Pathology residents help run the Intraoperative Consultation service, learning to provide frozen and gross diagnoses to surgical teams intraoperatively. There is designated elective time scheduled throughout the residency for research projects and selective study. Residents are expected to assume graduated responsibility throughout their training, with coverage of some fellow-level rotations in their third year.

Teaching Opportunities

Anatomic Pathology residents partake in teaching medical students throughout each academic year. Third-year AP-only residents serve as “senior buddies,” with scheduled weeks dedicated to teaching grossing and microscopy skills to first-year residents. Residents may also volunteer to be liaisons to the medical school pathology interest group.

Research Opportunities

During the entirety of the clinical program, trainees are encouraged to pursue applied research topics, in concert with faculty members. This activity is integrated with practical and didactic experience, with emphasis on the utilization of new technologies in Anatomic Pathology. Residents are strongly encouraged to involve themselves in clinical projects with faculty in order to learn the elements of hypothesis testing, study organization, and manuscript preparation. These are essential for those residents considering an academic career, and they are also important in learning to evaluate the scientific literature with a discerning eye. A yearly $2500 travel fund is available for first author presentations of research projects at national conferences.


Conferences are an integral part of the training process, allowing residents to teach and learn from others. There are Anatomic Pathology-specific noon didactic and unknown conferences nearly daily, with lunch provided.  In addition, residents have many formal and informal opportunities to develop their presentation skills. These include rounds with faculty and residents and review of current cases that pose interesting and instructive Anatomic Pathology-related problems.

Leadership Opportunities

Representatives from each PGY year are elected to represent their class’ concerns in the Trainee Leadership Committee, which meets quarterly. In the past, the Trainee Leadership Committee has successfully petitioned to increase the trainee book fund and expanded the length of resident orientation.

Two Anatomic Pathology chief residents are selected from among the outstanding residents in the program. Responsibilities include setting up schedules for the residents, helping to organize collaborative clinical services, and acting as liaisons between the residents, faculty, and administration.