MARK D. ZARELLA, PHD
Research Assistant Professor
Technical Director, Pathology Imaging & Informatics
Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Drexel University College of Medicine

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF – WHERE YOU COMPLETED YOUR UNDERGRADUATE/POSTGRADUATE, FAMILY, WHAT A TYPICAL DAY LOOKS LIKE FOR YOU, ETC.

I got my start in digital pathology in a rather roundabout way.  I majored in physics and electrical engineering at the University of Massachusetts.  At that time, I became intrigued with circuit design and the concept of feedback, which ultimately led me down a path to study feedback in the most complicated of circuits: the brain.  In 2002 I began a PhD program in neuroscience at the State University of New York where I studied visual processing in primate visual cortex using a variety of tools including neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and behavior.  In 2012 I came to work for Drexel University where I applied the very same insights I gained from neuroscience to the study of pathology.  Where I had previously been investigating visual processing, I was now applying similar concepts in image processing to whole-slide images.  My studies in decision processing in the brain naturally translated into machine learning for pathologist support.  There was an obvious (though often overlooked) link between the disciplines, which I discussed at Pathology Visions in 2016 (“Insights from neuroscience: formulating digital pathology solutions based on vision and decision theory”).  I continue to approach most experiments from a neuroscience standpoint, using cognitive models and biologically inspired algorithms to investigate tissue and disease in a quantitative way.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING WITH DIGITAL PATHOLOGY?

I began working in this area in 2012 following my faculty appointment in the Department of Pathology at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.  I worked closely with the medical director in the department, Dr. Fernando U. Garcia, who was the primary driver of the department’s expansion into digital pathology many years before.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT ARCHIVE


Nicole Riddle, MD | July 2018
Michael Montalto, PhD | June 2018

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