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John E. Tomaszewski, MD (center), is installed as the inaugural Nickerson Professor and Chair of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences by UB President Satish K. Tripathi (right), and Michael E. Cain, MD, medical school dean.

Tomaszewski First Named Chair of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

Published November 30, 2017

John E. Tomaszewski, MD, has been installed as the inaugural Peter A. Nickerson, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences.

Tomaszewski is internationally renowned for his development of quantitative image analysis tools used in digital pathology and automated cancer diagnostics.

Internationally Recognized Physician-Scientist

The Nov. 17 ceremony was presided over by UB President Satish K. Tripathi and Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

In his opening remarks, Cain described Tomaszewski as “an outstanding physician-scientist and educator whose long-term research interests lie in the field of genitourinary malignancies and immunopathology, with a particular interest on renal transplantation and advanced tissue image analysis.”

“His internationally recognized work has moved these fields forward and favorably affected the treatment of patients with bladder and prostate cancers and those having kidney transplants,” Cain said.

Leader in Computational Modeling of Human Structure

Tomaszewski, who earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, has received multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health to support his research programs and holds four patents for novel systems and methods for detecting cancer.

He is a global leader in the area of computational modeling of human structure and sees the field of integrated diagnostics with the fusion of large quantitative high-resolution imaging and molecular data sets as the paradigm for the new 21st-century medical diagnostics.

Tomaszewski’s work includes more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts and more than 40 published reviews, book chapters, editorials and books. Earlier in 2017, he was honored by SUNY as he was announced to be a SUNY Distinguished Professor.

Tomaszewski has been a UB professor and chair of pathology and anatomical sciences since 2011. Before coming to UB, he spent nearly three decades as a faculty member in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, where he was a professor and interim chair.

Nickerson a UB Faculty Member for More Than 45 Years

“Today’s ceremony is at the heart of our school’s mission to transform into a premier public medical school of excellence in education, research, clinical care and public outreach,” Cain said. “It is also the result of the generous support of the late Peter A. Nickerson, whose bequest gift established the fund to create this named chair in pathology and anatomical sciences.”

Nickerson, a professor of pathology and anatomical sciences, was a prolific researcher and prodigious teacher, lecturing in multiple modules for the medical and dental schools’ pathology and histology courses, and coordinating the schools’ pathology laboratories.

A UB faculty member for more than 45 years, he played a significant role in the UB and SUNY faculty senates and initiated many innovative programs at UB, including the medical school’s early admissions program.

Lecture Title a Tribute to Bequest Donor

Following his installation, Tomaszewski gave the lecture “Seeing Things Whole: Computational Pathology in the 21st Century.”

Tomaszewski said inspiration for the title of his talk was taken from author E. B. White, who said “the role of the artist is to see things whole.”

He also noted the title was a nod to Nickerson, who he said saw and did things a little bit differently than others.

“I think Peter always saw things whole. In the aggregate, he managed to take care of all the details of the research, the faculty organizations and the students and seamlessly wove his career through all of those elements,” he said.

Interface of Human and Artificial Intelligence Extolled

Tomaszewski, who is internationally renowned for his development of quantitative image analysis tools used in digital pathology and automated cancer diagnostics, focused on the roles of traditional artificial intelligence and machine learning in pathology.

He mentioned a new UB initiative that includes simulation facilities being constructed within the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“We will have places where we can do biological surgical simulation and phantom surgical simulation,” Tomaszewski said. “It will allow us some deeper understandings of human structure in a computational way.”

He said the future regarding the human intelligence and artificial intelligence interface is very exciting.

“We are on a journey to seeing things whole, where we are putting the higher order of human values together with our science and technology to create that utopian world; not the dystopian world that we fear,” Tomaszewski said.