University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

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Histology Research Support (HRS)

Histology Research photo ALT

The main purpose of Histology Research Support is to support clinical research projects that involve members of the pathology department as investigators as well as the University of Vermont and University of Vermont Medial Group faculty and staff.

Laboratory Personnel

Allison Ciolino, MD, Assistant Director of Histology Research Support 802-847-2886

Valerie Cortright, BS, HTL, QIHC, (ASCP) - Charge Research Histotechnologist 802-847-7973

Jeannette Mitchell, ASCP, BS, HTL, QIHC - Technical Specialist 802-847-3703

Abiy Ambaye, MD, Medical Director of Histology Support 802-847-9916


HRS succeeds the Experimental Pathology Laboratory (EPL) which was established in 2000 as a facility allowing faculty, residents and medical students to pursue academic research pursuits. HRS was established in January of 2014 in an effort to maximize efficiency and resources between The University of Vermont Medical Center and the University of Vermont.

HRS conducts short, medium and long term projects addressing focused research questions on a wide variety of pathological conditions. Histology services have always been available for research purposes; however, we have now made this process easier. HRS allows faculty, residents and medical students at the University of Vermont/The University of Vermont Medical Center to pursue academic research endeavors that utilize tissue samples. HRS enjoys interacting with wider research community at UVM/The University of Vermont Medical Center and participates in a variety of research projects, including multi-center grant funded projects. All types of pathology specimens are investigated including formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE), fresh-frozen tissues, fine needle aspiration (FNA) and other cytology preparations. Our technical catalogue includes tissue processing, embedding, routine histology, 155 Immunohistochemistry antibodies, 60 special stains and Chromogenic In-Situ Hybridization (CISH) for Her2 Neu.


HRS collaborates with other research core facilities such as The University of Vermont Cancer Center Biobank Facility, the Microscopy Imaging core and the Advanced Genome Technologies Core (AGTC).

Selected Current HRS Projects
  • Evaluating the expression of PAX proteins in Lymphoma and Leukemia: This retrospective study evaluates the expression of monoclonal PAX8 (N-terminus versus C-terminus) and PAX2 in subsets of lymphoproliferative disorders using immunohistochemistry. This is an important analysis and has implication in providing awareness to reduce of source of misdiagnosis due to aberrant expression of an epithelial marker in hematopoietic malignancies.
  • Expression of MDM2, P16 and CD163 in Liposarcomas: Different immunohistochemistry (IHC) stains have also been developed to help distinguish benign from malignant lipomatous tumors. We believe In-situ hybridization (ISH) is the most useful technique because it targets distinct cytogenetic anomaly present in these neoplasms. This project will use ISH to detect murine double-minute 2 (MDM2) amplification in two groups of lipomatous neoplasms, benign lipomas and atypical lipomatous tumor/well differentiated lipomas and atypical lipomatous tumor/well differentiated liposarcoma, as well as the current standard IHC stains. We will compare the 2 groups and evaluate accuracy.
  • Dengue Fever Study: In collaboration with the Cell Imaging Laboratory at UVM, the HRS prepares tissue samples if infected Dengue Fever skin biopsies for immunofluorescent analysis. Fluorescent imaging on a confocal microscope at the Cell Imaging Laboratory allows the researchers to view a reconstructed three-dimensional structure of the images. The HRS team is excited to be working closely with the Cell Imaging staff, implementing our commitment of Becoming One!
  • Mitochondrial Mutations and Aggressiveness of Prostate Cancer:
    Mark Plante, MD, Steven Ades, MD, Janice Nicklas, PhD, Vernon Walker, DVM, PhD “The scientific objective of the research is to determine if specific mutations or large deletions of the DNA of the mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell) cause prostate tumor cells to be more aggressive. These changes will be determined using new high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques. The hope would then be to develop a clinical assay for these mutation(s) in the mitochondrial DNA to screen early prostate biopsies to determine if the individual is likely to develop an aggressive tumor. This would greatly reduce death by finding future aggressive prostate tumors before they spread or become lethal. It would also impact the well-being of other men by reducing unneeded surgery in men testing negative for these mitochondrial mutations. This should help all men who have had a biopsy for elevated PSA levels.”






Last modified July 29 2016 02:54 PM