Annual Report



Introduction by Dr. Irene Sadek

2023 was another great year for the Department of Pathology. We are reaping the benefits of our efforts to expand our capacity over the past few years, while positioning ourselves to be even more efficient and effective in the future.

We held a strategic planning retreat last spring, our first in-person meeting since before the pandemic. On top of planning how we will advance in the key areas of education, research and clinical service, we set goals for improving in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, and wellness.

We are more focused than ever on safeguarding the sustainability of our services. This is a serious challenge, given we face an ongoing shortage of human resources in our laboratories, at the same time our population is growing larger and older, and diagnostic testing is becoming more complex.

As you will see in this year’s report, we have embraced AI in our laboratory automation systems. This dramatically improves efficiency by removing as much as 80 per cent of the human labour required to conduct repetitive tasks. Automation will be key in the new laboratory facilities to be constructed over the next five years as the MacKenzie building is being decommissioned. Some of this work has already begun, with the expansion of the laboratory facilities at the Dartmouth General Hospital and Cobequid Community Health Centre.

We are working on developing a “liquid biopsy” testing protocol, an innovation which allows us to identify cancer in a blood sample, using very sensitive equipment. This eliminates a trip to hospital for a traditional biopsy, removing bottlenecks in the system and facilitating faster diagnoses as well as easier and more efficient disease-monitoring.

Of course, getting test results into doctors’ hands quickly is crucial. We are working with colleagues across Nova Scotia to standardize testing and equipment in preparation for the launch of One Patient, One Record in 2025. This new system will facilitate the movement of patient samples around the province and feed all test results into one comprehensive system.

On the research front, we have increased grant capture substantially and several faculty members have received prestigious awards. Dr. Graham Dellaire received Dalhousie University Distinguished Research Professorship and Dr. Paola Marcato was named QEII Foundation–Canadian Breast Cancer Society Chair in Breast Cancer Research. We have also embarked on a collaboration with the Faculty of Computer Science to establish a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Precision Medicine and Bioinformatics.

Our education program is also growing. We have two new fellows in hematopathology, one in histocompatibility and three in medical microbiology, in addition to the already-established dermatopathology fellowship. At the same time, we are investigating a new fellowship in liver pathology, and launching a new graduate program in genetics. These are exciting developments that demonstrate the maturity and excellence of our department.

I am looking forward to our continued progress in 2024. It is a privilege to oversee such a dynamic department in these unprecedented times. I am proud of our faculty, staff and learners for their creativity, dedication and willingness to work so well together to turn challenges into opportunities as we prepare for the future.


Dr. Irene Sadek
Head, Department of Pathology


Previous Years

Year Size Release
2022 Annual Report PDF - 3.2mb July 2023
2021 Annual Report PDF - 1.4mb August 2022
2020 Annual Report PDF - 14.3mb July 2021