Sylvia Asa was born in New York City where her father was training in Surgery. The strong family
history of a medical career made the choice an easy one for her, but the decision to practice Pathology
was not planned early. The operating room was like home after her exposure to surgery from an early age,
but it was endocrinology that captured her attention. The desire to do research led her into the
laboratories where she realized the phenomenal potential of Pathology as the ultimate transition of bench
She received her medical and post-doctorate degrees from the University of Toronto and completed her
internship in internal medicine at Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto. Her residency
training in pathology gave her exposure to laboratories at Mount Sinai Hospital, St. Michael's Hospital
and the Toronto General Hospital, all affiliated with the University of Toronto. She was a research
fellow in the Department of Pathology at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto where,
under the mentorship of Kalman Kovacs, she quickly came to appreciate the complexities of neuroendocrine
development and regulation. She began her career investigating structure-function correlations in
endocrine tumors. As a faculty member in the Department of Pathology at the University of Toronto, she
has spent the last 25 years pursuing this subject and attempting to unravel the pathogenetic mechanisms
underlying endocrine neoplasia. She has held staff positions at several of the major teaching hospitals
of the University of Toronto, St. Michael's Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital, and an investigator
appointment at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. In 2000, she became Pathologist-in-Chief at the
University Health Network, the largest teaching institute of the University of Toronto that encompasses
the Toronto General Hospital, the Toronto Western Hospital and the Princess Margaret Hospital. She is
also a Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute.
Extremely active in endocrine pathology, Dr. Asa is affiliated with numerous professional
organizations, including The United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology, The Endocrine Society,
The Pituitary Society, the Pituitary Pathology Club and the Endocrine Pathology Society, of which she is
a founding member. She has presented more than
250 papers at international meetings and has been an invited lecturer for the National Institutes of
Health, the Japan Endocrine Society, the Endocrine Pathology Society and the International Academy of
Pathology, among others. To ensure public knowledge of the role of Pathology and to maintain a direct
connection with patients, Dr. Asa is a consultant to several patient support groups, including the
Pituitary Network Association.
Dr. Asa is a founding editor of the journal Endocrine Pathology and has
served as an editorial board member for several publications, including the Journal
of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Endocrinology, the American Journal of Surgical Pathology,
Advances in Anatomic Pathology, Modern Pathology and Laboratory Investigation. She is a reviewer
for 35 major medical journals. Extensively published, Dr. Asa has co-authored more than 250 articles in
high impact journals. She has authored or co-authored three books and 50 chapters on endocrinology and
related pathology, and is the author of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Atlas of Tumor Pathology
Third Series Fascicle on Tumors of the Pituitary Gland.
She has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Arthur Purdy Stout Society of
Surgical Pathologists (1998), the Novartis Canada Senior Scientist Award (2001), the Professor C.F.A.
Culling Memorial Lecture Award of the National Society for Histotechnology (2004) and several teaching
awards from the University of Toronto. She has served as President of the Endocrine Pathology Society
As head of one of the largest pathology departments in Canada, Dr. Asa has made innovative changes to
the practice of the discipline, with an emphasis on automation, electronic initiatives and telepathology.
The department takes a highly subspecialized approach to diagnostic activities, education and research in
cytopathology, surgical and autopsy pathology. The understanding of mechanisms of disease and
translation to diagnostic and prognostic information for patient care requires integration of
conventional histology with immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, cytogenetics and
molecular diagnostics, all of which are available in the department.
Her dedication to timely and innovative change has been the platform she has applied to her own work,
her department and the organizations she supports. As a member of the USCAP education committee she
ensured a progressive approach, always questioning the accepted process and actively participating in and
leading change. She co-organized the Long Course for the annual meeting in 2000 with Allen Gown, and the
objective of that millennial course was to inform and prepare Pathologists for the molecular era ahead.
As a mother of four children, she recognizes the need to integrate career and family, therefore she
restructured the annual summer course, Diagnostic Pathology, to accommodate colleagues and their
families, study and leisure, work and play. She has served on Council and Executive and is most honored
to be elected President of this prestigious organization that provides educational activities for
Pathologists throughout the world.
Welcome to Atlanta and the 95th annual meeting of the Academy! This year is indeed one of
landmarks. In addition to our celebration of the Academy centennial, we are planning to host the meeting
of the International Academy of Pathology in Montreal, and we have proven the spirit, adaptability and
flexibility of our staff and membership in times of stress by changing the location of our annual meeting
at the last moment. Our thoughts are with the people of New Orleans who were to be our hosts, and who
are recovering from the devastation of Katrina.
I am honored to be the President of this vibrant and growing organization. The Academy continues to
grow in membership; we now have reached 9,900 members. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Fred Silva and
the Ambassador's program, we continue to grow by increasing junior membership.
The annual meeting continues to be the highlight of the year. The Education Committee, under the
capable and dynamic leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Myers, has scheduled varied offerings that provide
attendees with state-of-the-art information. The Long Course on the Pathology of
Liver and Pancreas, led by course Co-Directors Linda Ferrell and Volkan Adsay, includes an
outstanding faculty and a valuable CD with megabytes of information to take home and have at your
fingertips. There are 60 short courses covering all of the major subjects of interest to Pathologists.
17 evening specialty conferences will keep all interested attendees awake late into the night, learning
more about the progress of Pathology. Our 23 companion societies provide a collegial forum for
subspecialty information exchange.
This meeting is an important forum for presentation of new scientific data. This year we have 1,588
presentations, including 218 by Pathologists-in-Training who are competing for the prestigious
Stowell-Orbison Awards. The participation of our membership in these activities is critical for the
progress of the discipline and we encourage everyone to present, attend and question the data.
The Nathan Kaufman Timely Topics lecture, Animal Models for Human
Disease, will be delivered by Dr. Tyler Jacks, David H. Koch Professor of Biology and Director of
the Center for Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Assistant in Genetics at
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Dr. Jacks is interested in the genetics of cancer development.
His laboratory has constructed a series of mutant mouse strains that have served as animal models of
tumor development and as a means to study the functions of cancer-associated genes. We look forward to
learning from him how the pathology of mouse models of cancer plays a critical role in the understanding
of disease development and pathobiology.
At the Maude Abbott lecture, we will hear Dr. Anna-Luise Katzenstein of SUNY Upstate Medical
University, Syracuse, discuss Changing Concepts and New ideas in Pulmonary
The Academy website continues to grow, offering a plethora of educational materials including all 17
evening specialty conferences, all of the companion society meetings, dozens of short courses and all of
the abstracts for three years. These can be searched by topic, disease, author, and technology. This
website is a resource available to all members as well as non-members who seek to update their knowledge
The future of the Academy has been a subject of attention in the past few years. Under the leadership
of Drs. David Hardwick and Jeffery Myers, a long-term strategic planning process was
initiated in 2003. The participants included a cadre of young and energetic members as well as senior
and seasoned folks with institutional memory and experience. The outcome of this exercise has been
invaluable to secure a process and a plan for future success. The results have served to guide all
decisions that we make as an organization
The changes require difficult decisions by the Education Committee and Executive. The move to
increase digital and electronic tools is often difficult and controversial. However, we all recognize
that the future of Pathology requires change, and "In a time of drastic change, it
is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world
that no longer exists" (Eric Hoffer). As we follow the advice of the strategic planners, we
continue to expand the web offerings and reduce the use of paper, thereby expanding availability in an
environmentally conscientious way.
The planning process also led us to consider new offerings, like Diagnostic Cytopathology and
Practical Pathology Seminars. These courses join the Diagnostic Pathology summer course as venues for
informal educational offerings that combine pleasant locations with high-powered lecturers and practical
updates on the approach to issues in Pathology. Diagnostic Pathology has been an increasing success with
the move to a resort venue and the addition of relaxation time. Diagnostic Cytopathology achieved its
expected attendance and we look forward to Practical Pathology Seminars to do the same. We encourage our
colleagues to attend these sessions to meet one-on-one with experts and to enjoy the learning experience.
The strategic planning process included an intense examination of the Bylaws, under the scrutiny of
Dr. Victor Reuter as Chairperson of the Bylaws Subcommittee. The results of this review are the subject
of a vote at the Annual Business Meeting and I encourage all of the members in attendance at this meeting
to have a voice in the confirmation of the direction that the Academy is taking with the proposed
The Executive also called for a review of the USCAP office organization to ensure continuity and
consistency for the Academy. We have long been a large organization shepherded by a small group of
dedicated and insightful people in the Augusta office. This year, we recognize their contributions with
the President Award. The Staff of the Academy consists of: James Crimmins, Kerry Crockett, Linda
Haygood, Jo Ann Johnson, Carolyn Lane and Sally Miglionico.
The Academy could not be successful without the active participation of its members, and we celebrate
those who have made the most significant contributions with a series of awards. The Mostofi Award for
service to the Academy will be presented to Dr. Richard Zarbo. The Distinguished Pathologist Award this
year honors an outstanding pathologist, Dr. Harvey Goldman. We also recognize the bright young people
who are indeed, the real future of Pathology with awards, including the Stowell-Orbison,, Autopsy and
Surgical Pathology Awards for Pathologists-in-Training, the F. Stephen Vogel Award, the Castleman Award
and the Young Investigator Award, now to be named after Ramzi Cotran.
As we move forward into the second century of its existence, the Academy continues to grow and
succeed. I am truly honored to have served as President of the US & Canadian Academy of Pathology
this year. I have attended the annual meeting every year since I was a resident in training. The
Academy has offered me a place to learn, a place to present my work, and most importantly a place to meet
colleagues and friends. I wish you all the opportunities to continue these traditions and to invest in
the growth of the future of Pathology.
Sylvia L. Asa, MD, PhD, FRCP(C), FCAP
University Health Network