Gastrointestinal Cancer

The focus of gastrointestinal pathology is the molecular diagnostics of inherited colorectal cancer and gastrointestinal tumors and, including KRAS, BRAF, NRAS and PIK3CA mutational testing in colorectal cancer for determination of therapeutic response to EGFR inhibitors. An algorithm for Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer or HNPCC) testing is available, which includes the rationale for microsatellite instability testing (by PCR and/or IHC), BRAF mutational testing, and detection of MLH1 methylation. Germline analysis of MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 mutations are also offered as a part of the Lynch syndrome. Tests are also available for APC sequencing and MYH mutational tests. ARUP also offers the first blood-based screening test for colorectal cancer, based on the Septin 9 biomarker. ARUP’s test has a reported 90% sensitivity at 90% specificity for detecting colorectal cancer. ARUP is one of only two labs in the US to offer this test. HER2 testing is available for gastric cancers, and c-Kit mutation testing is offered for gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Circulating tumor cell counting (Cell Search) is available for thereapeutic monitoring of colorectal cancer patients.
  • Co-Division Chief, Anatomic and Molecular Oncologic Pathology
    Medical Director, Biocomputing
    Dr. Bronner is a Carl R. Kjeldsberg presidential endowed professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Bronner received her MD from the University of Pennsylvania and completed her pathology residency training and chief residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Bronner’s honors include her election as president of the GI Pathology Society, election as council member of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, and, in 2005, the award of the Arthur Purdy Stout Prize, recognizing her work as a surgical pathologist under the age of 45 whose research publications have had a major impact on diagnostic pathology. Dr. Bronner is an editorial journal board member for Human Pathology and Modern Pathology. She has served as an investigator on numerous NIH and foundation grants over the course of her career and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and numerous book chapters.
  • Medical Director, Gross Dissection Laboratory, Huntsman Hospital
    Dr. Emerson is an associate professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She received her MD from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston and served a residency in pathology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center. Dr. Emerson completed her fellowship in general surgical pathology at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics and is certified by the American Board of Pathology in anatomic pathology. She is a member of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, American Society for Clinical Pathology (fellow), and the Huntsman-Intermountain Cancer Care Program. Dr. Emerson's current research interests include molecular characterization of the initiating mutations in lung cancer.
  • Vice President, Technology Assessment and Licensing
    Director, PharmaDx Program
    Dr. Heichman is an adjunct associate professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her role at ARUP as the director of the PharmaDx program involves developing and managing collaborations with pharmaceutical companies. The PharmaDx team recently received FDA approval of two companion diagnostic tests developed and validated for use with the drug Gleevec. Dr. Heichman holds an AB in genetics from UC Berkeley and a PhD in biological chemistry from the UCLA School of Medicine. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the field of cycle control at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
  • Medical Director, Molecular Genetics and Genomics
    Medical Director, Pharmacogenomics
    Dr. Lyon is a professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She received her PhD in medical genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed an ABMG fellowship in clinical molecular genetics at the University of Utah. Dr. Lyon’s responsibilities include validating methods for mutation detection under CLIA requirements, implementing them into clinical testing, and interpreting genetic/genomic results in a clinical context. She participated in the ACMG/AMP/CAP Standards and Guidelines for the Interpretation of Sequence Variants and served as president of the Association for Molecular Pathology in 2014.
  • Section Chief, Molecular Genetics and Genomics
    Dr. Mao is a professor of pathology and co-director of the Clinical Molecular Genetics Fellowship Program at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She received her MD from Capital University of Medicine in Beijing, China and her MS in molecular pathology from Beijing Union Medical College. She is board certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics, with a subspecialty in clinical molecular genetics, and certified with the New York State Department of Health, with a subspecialty in genetic testing. She is a member of several professional societies, including American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, Association for Molecular Pathology, and American Society of Human Genetics. Her research interests include the genotype-phenotype correlations in inborn errors of metabolism and genetic diseases in the RAS/MAPK pathway; she is also involved with implementing next-generation sequencing techniques into molecular diagnostics.
  • Medical Director, Solid Tumor Molecular Diagnostics and Histology
    Staff Pathologist, Anatomic Pathology
    Dr. Samowitz is a professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He received his MD from SUNY Downstate, and completed residency training in anatomic pathology at the University of Chicago and fellowships in gastrointestinal pathology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Specializing in gastrointestinal pathology and the molecular genetics of colorectal cancer, Dr. Samowitz is also the medical director for numerous molecular tests in solid tumor molecular diagnostics, including single-gene assays and next-generation sequencing panels.