SUP Electronic Newsletter: January 2007

President's Message

The Society for Ultrastructural Pathology: Past Achievements, Future Goals

Josep Lloreta

The success of the Ultrapath XIII meeting, held in Rapid City last summer, is a living proof of the vitality of our Society, not only because of the quality and diversity of the presentations that were delivered there, but also because of the presence of the younger, active participants from different countries, and the excellent presentations of the PITA (Pathologist-in-Training Award) winners. This is only the most recent of a series of achievements of the Society for Ultrastructural Pathology over the years. The Society has also been well represented in at the Centennial Meeting of the International Academy of Pathology, held in Montréal last September, and new programs are already in the works for the next USCAP Meeting in San Diego, California (March 2007), the European Society of Pathology biannual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey (September 2007), and the Intercontinental Congress of Pathology in Barcelona, Spain (May 2008). And, of course, there is the next Ultrapath XIV meeting, which will be held in Aghia Pelaghia, Crete, Greece, from the 6th to the 11th of July, 2008. Another important addition to the list of recent accomplishments is the new CD edition of the "Primer of Diagnostic Electron Microscopy for Pathologists-in-Training" by Irv Dardick and Ian Robb, produced under the auspices of the Society.

However, we must concentrate on future needs rather than on past successes. With the inspired models of our founding fathers and senior members, we are bound to search for new goals, and a long way still lies ahead of us. It will be of utmost importance for us to steadily incorporate young people into our ranks, who will take over our EM labs and keep them alive and relevant to the scientific community and different health care settings. Thus, we must be actively involved in the recruitment and training of the next generations of electron microscopists. This will not be an easy task in the molecular era, but excellent career opportunities could be available for young pathologists and biologists if we are able to enhance the impact of our labs in diagnosis, research and teaching. In this century of interconnectivity, we need to draw a very precise map of the different existing EM labs and identify who is running them. In many countries, there is a silent crowd of pathologists and biologists, who devote a substantial portion of their time to electron microscopy. We must let them know that the Society for Ultrastructural Pathology is their natural milieu and that our website is an optimal tool for finding assistance and connecting with other electron microscopists in the biomedical field.

In summary, we have a lot of work before us. We must maintain intense activity in our labs, keeping them relevant, both diagnostically and scientifically. We must begin training our successors and ensure the presence of electron microscopy, not only in our own or other Pathology meetings, but also in clinical and basic science meetings. And, we must discover all the existing EM labs and spread the knowledge of the Society to those that who have not yet joined it. As John F. Kennedy might have said, we have to ask ourselves what can we do for Electron Microscopy, rather than what it can do for us. The Society for Ultrastructural Pathology and its website may be a crucial tool in our endeavors. And there is a lot we can do: we have all the power to do it., and the Society for Ultrastructural Pathology and its website may be a crucial tool in our endeavor.

From the Editor's Desk

Overheard in Rapid City, SD…

Eric Wartchow

"Hey, what are you guys up to over there?"
"Oh, we're signing out today's EM cases and sending out the results."

This was a conversation, occurring in the hotel business office, between team Denver and various attendees of the Ultrapath XIII Conference. Since then, we have received a number of additional inquiries concerning our internet-based mechanism for distribution of EM results. I thought, therefore, that I perhaps should take this opportunity to provide a brief overview of the system we have developed, in case there be other labs considering doing something similar.

Early in 2006, we began to poll our referral clients, who are spread out across every US time zone, about their willingness to receive EM results via the internet. Somewhat to our surprise, the idea was greeted with much enthusiasm, perhaps because as we learned, these clients are already receiving electronic transmissions of diagnostic test results from a multitude of different technologies, from both within their own institutions and from outside consulting services. Why should EM be any different?

Tasked with this novel undertaking, we began working with our ISD Department. They willingly agreed to provide space on the hospital's secure server to host a webpage. They also put us in touch with a highly competent IT security company (Applied Trust, Boulder, CO) to assist with developing the needed software. Together, we evaluated a number of different HIPPA compliant file transfer programs for use as the foundation of our system.

We eventually found a system that addressed our most important needs, namely being highly secure, robust, versatile, and employing a simple user interface. We then created an account for each of our referring institutions, and determined which individuals within it would have access to these accounts. These individuals were then provided limited security clearance, restricting access to only their institution's case files on our secure server.

Cases flow through our system in the following way:

Day 1:
Specimen received from referring institution, usually via express courier. Client faxed confirmation of receipt, with expected completion date.
Day 2:
Tissue processed according to standard protocols. Blocks cured overnight.
Day 3:
Tissue sectioned, stained, and examined by LM and EM.
Negatives scanned into Photoshop, images tweaked, files converted to JPEG format. EM and LM (face section) images, along with markings and interpretive comments, incorporated into PowerPoint presentation, then repackaged as a ZIP file to facilitate downloading. Presentation uploaded into referring institution's folder on secure website. E-mail notification of availability sent to client.

Anyone desiring more information about our system is welcomed to contact us. We probably are not the only EM Lab providing this type of service, and recognize that there are other… perhaps even better… ways of accomplishing the same thing. We invite everyone to share, in this open forum, his or her comments, ideas and suggestions.

General Business Meeting Summary

Rapid City, SD; July 14, 2006

David Howell

Dr. John Hicks opened the meeting with an Awards Presentation:

Presidential Award Certificates were presented to the following individuals:

  • John Shelburne (for service as Secretary/Treasurer)(in absentia)
  • Karlene Hewan-Lowe (for work on SUP website)
  • Irv Dardick (for work on SUP website)(in absentia)

Outstanding Service Award plaques were presented to the following individuals:

  • Elba Turbat-Herrera (for service as PITA chair)
  • Allan Tucker (for many contributions, including service as President, USCAP education liaison, and Past President)
  • Lynn Thomason, Anna Truax, Roxanne Truax, and Anna Truax's mother for helping organize Ultrapath XIII (received gifts in addition to plaques)
  • Jerry Simmons (for organizing and hosting Ultrapath XIII)
  • John Hicks (for service as President, presented by Allan Tucker at the end of the meeting)

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Robert Erlandson at the banquet on the evening of July 13, 2006.

Treasurer's Report

Dr. Hicks summarized the Treasurer's report, provided by Dr. John Shelburne (not in attendance). Major Expenses for the past year have included advance funding for Ultrapath XIII, funding for travel to the 2006 USCAP meeting, and Pathologist in Training Awards. Dr. Simmons indicated that a majority of the $10,000 advance funding for Ultrapath XIII will be recouped. Performance of Society investments has been good, and membership has been stable.

Pathologist in Training Awards (PITA)

Dr. Hicks announced that one PITA was presented at USCAP 2006 (total of 5-6 resident/fellow abstracts and approximately 15 total ultrastructural pathology abstracts) and two PITAs were presented at Ultrapath XIII.

USCAP Companion Meeting 2006

Dr. Hicks announced that the joint meeting with the Renal Pathology Society had approximately 120 attendees and achieved a CME "quality score" of 4.625 (of a possible 5). Given the success of this venture, the possibility of future joint companion meetings with other societies may be explored.

USCAP Companion Meeting 2007

Dr. Hicks announced that the topic for the companion meeting will be Undifferentiated/Poorly Differentiated Sarcomas. The program has been set and a slate of speakers scheduled.

Executive Council Officers

The list of current office-holders was reviewed.
The new term-limit rules for Regional Councilors were discussed.
The departure of Robert Erlandson as Councilor for Americas was announced. Elba Turbat-Herrera was nominated and elected to fill this position.
Guillermo Herrera was nominated and elected as President-Elect.
It was announced that Charles Faulkner wishes to step down as Historian.

Editorial Board of Ultrastructural Pathology

An Editorial Board meeting, held July 12, 2006, was summarized. The Board plans to solicit papers from Ultrapath XIII and review articles. The possibility of creating Journal subsections (e.g., for renal pathology) and soliciting papers from other groups (e.g., Renal Pathology Society) was discussed.

Other desiderata

  • Improved turn-around times
  • Better communications with publisher (Taylor-Francis)
  • More subscriptions
  • Possible creation of a "Contributing Editorial Board"
  • Reassessment of Editorial Board membership

International Academy of Pathology meeting in Montreal

The session on EM/Renal Pathology, with several SUP members participating as speakers, was announced.

SUP Newsletter

Eric Wartchow and Luann Goin were announced as the new editor and associate editor of the Newsletter, which will be in electronic format. Gary Mierau will serve as senior advisor.

Future Ultrapath Meetings

The following sites were discussed.

Ultrapath XIV, 2008 - Crete. The meeting planned for Athens has been moved to Crete, primarily for economic reasons. Dr. Irene Voloudakis-Baltatsis, Ultrapath XIV Program Director, gave an introduction to the planned venue, including an extensive DVD presentation about Crete and the meeting facilities, during the Ultrapath XIII meeting session on Thursday, July 13, with enthusiastic response.

Ultrapath XV, 2010 - Richmond, VA. Drs. Sara Miller, David Howell, and Allan Tucker have introduced an initial proposal for planning and hosting the 2010 Ultrapath meeting.

Ultrapath XVI, 2012. Several possible sites for the 2012 meeting have been suggested.

Ultrastructural Pathology Primer (CD-ROM): Members were encouraged to submit new contributions for an update of the primer and seek possible buyers for the CD-ROM.

Corporate Attendees: Barbara Armbruster (JEOL) and Jack Coats (FEI) were recognized.

Ultrapath XIII Update

We know that many of you may be awaiting the arrival of material from the Ultrapath XIII meeting in Rapid City, SD. Fret not, for you are not alone. Due to some personnel changes at the University South Dakota CME offices, the photos and a DVD production of the social programs have not been distributed. Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, if you have photos of our group that you would like to share, please send a CD (if you have many) or an email (if you have a few) to your newsletter editors and we will attempt to organize them for posting on the SUP website.

Ultrapath XIII Photos

We know that many of you may be awaiting the arrival of material from the Ultrapath XIII meeting in Rapid City, SD. Fret not, for you are not alone. Due to some personnel changes at the University South Dakota CME offices, the photos and a DVD production of the social programs have not been distributed. Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, if you have photos of our group that you would like to share, please send a CD (if you have many) or an email (if you have a few) to your newsletter editors and we will attempt to organize them for posting on the SUP website.

Call for Manuscripts

All presenting authors at Ultrapath XIII are strongly encouraged to submit manuscripts of their work to be considered for publication in Ultrastructural Pathology. These manuscripts will be given special review, and accepted manuscripts will be published together in groups. Manuscripts received by April 1, 2007. will be prioritized for first publication, and the final deadline is July 1, 2007. Please see the journal for instructions for authors. Please participate and send your excellent work to press! Manuscripts should be sent by mail or email to:

Allan Tucker, M.D.
Department of Pathology
University of South Alabama
2451 Fillingim Street, Mobile
AL 36617, USA.

Upcoming Events

USCAP/SUP Companion Meeting
San Diego, California USA (March 25, 2007)

This year's companion meeting program, entitled "Differentiating the Undifferentiated and Poorly Differentiated Sarcomas: A Multidisciplinary Approach," will be moderated by Dr Josep Lloreta-Trull, and features Drs Christopher DM Fletcher, Marco Santucci, Guillermo Herrera, Julia Bridge and Christina Antonescu.

Future SUP Meetings

  • USCAP/SUP Companion Meeting: Denver, Colorado USA (Spring, 2008)
  • Ultrapath XIV: Aghia Pelaghia, Crete Greece (July 6-11, 2008)
  • Ultrapath XV: Richmond, Virginia, USA (Summer, 2010)


The Society's annual business meeting will be held in San Diego on Sunday, March 25, 2007, immediately following the USCAP/SUP Companion Meeting.

Discounted personal subscription to Ultrastructural Pathology is offered to all members of the Society for 45% off the regular subscription price. Follow the subscription directions in the journal, but inform the publisher of your membership and request the 45% discount.

Available again! Primer of Diagnostic Electron Microscopy for Pathologists-in-Training. Published by Pathology Images Inc. & Society for Ultrastructural Pathology. This CD-ROM can be ordered ($60 USD) online.

Logo Contest

Rocco Agostini Memorial Award

It was announced in the spring issue of the Newsletter that a contest was being held to design a fresh logo for our Society. Already we have received a number of entries, and we are hopeful of receiving many more. Mentioned then was that there would be a "big prize" awarded to the winner. It is our pleasure now to announce that the prize, which is being called the Rocco Agostini Memorial Award, is a travel grant of up to $1,000 to be used by its recipient for the purpose of funding a visit to another electron microscopy laboratory (of the winner's choice) to observe how business is conducted there. For people who love their work, what could be better than a busman's holiday!

We take this opportunity to honor the memory of our friend, colleague and former member, Rocco Agostini, who died on April 20, 1999. Rocco was the chief electron microscopist at The Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh for 30 years. He was warmhearted and kind, and an extremely competent microscopist. He helped train residents, co-authored many publications, and provided valued assistance with the interpretation of diagnostic studies. Proving that one need not possess an advanced degree in order to participate actively in Society affairs, Rocco was a frequent visitor to the lectern at our scientific meetings. We continue to admire his passion and spirit, and lift him up as a model for others to emulate.