Pathology News

Resident Class of 2021

By Elizabeth Walker | 18 July

Top: Backpacking in Colorado, 2014; Left: Krista visits an iguana sanctuary in Belize, 2014.

Krista Chain, MD completed a B.S. in Biology from Central Michigan University, followed by an M.S. in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University, where she became interested in detecting signatures of positive selection in microbial proteins via phylogenetic reconstructions. From there, Krista moved to New Mexico, where she joined the Bioscience Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a research technologist using next generation sequencing to study microbial genomes. While at Los Alamos, Krista was involved in projects that included the development of methods to rapidly detect potential bioterror agents and microculture of bacteria using flow cytometry and cell sorting coupled with gel microdroplets. Krista graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she became involved in a project using computer-assisted image analysis of cytological specimens for distinguishing malignant from benign thyroid nodules.

The idea of working as a behind-the-scenes detective to produce objective diagnostic evidence appealed to Krista. Pinpointing the very cells, or in some cases, the exact base pair changes in a genetic code, responsible for a patient’s disease and the quest for targeted, individualized therapies is what motivates her interest in pathology.

Joining the Department of Pathology at U of M represents a bit of a homecoming for Krista. She's excited to be returning to Michigan where she says she will be, "learning and contributing to a group of really fun, talented people at a cutting-edge medical institution while living close to family."

Krista’s interests outside of pathology include archaeology and cultural history, gardening, paranormal mysteries, mushroom foraging, snorkeling, cat cafes, and experimenting in the kitchen.

 


 

Cisley kayaking in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2015.Cisley Hines, MD grew up in Detroit and was first introduced to pathology during a visit to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office her junior year of high school. She attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn, earning a B.S. in Microbiology.

During her sophomore year of college, Cisley spent the summer assisting in the autopsy department at a local hospital, further solidifying her interest in pathology. By her second year of medical school, Cisley had decided to specialize in the field. Upon completion of her medical degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, Cisley worked as a research assistant in a molecular genetics lab at Henry Ford Hospital, studying biotinidase deficiency with knockout mice.

Cisley is most fascinated by the visual aspect of pathology and the pattern recognition of diagnosing a disease.

Since Cisley found everyone she met during her rotation here in the Department of Pathology so welcoming, and the learning environment so friendly, she is most excited about working with the staff, faculty, and other residents here at UM.

Cisley loves to travel, especially enjoying the beach. Despite her fear of flying, she hopes to travel to Europe and Japan someday. She enjoys cooking, baking sweets, and likes to draw in her spare time. On nice days, Cisley and her husband enjoy leisurely, early-morning bike rides.

 


 

Laurie learns she's matched at the University of Michigan and will be joining the Department of Pathology's Residency Training Program.

Laura (Laurie) Griesinger, MD, has gone by Laurie for as long as she can remember. She grew up in South Bend, IN and attended Indiana University in Bloomington for her undergraduate studies, where she received a B.S. in biology. After graduation, Laurie worked for two years as a research assistant in lake ecology at Bates College in Maine before deciding to pursue a career in medicine. Laurie stayed in New England for medical school, attending the University of Vermont (UVM). While there, she took one extra year to participate in UVM’s pathology student fellowship.

 

What motivated you to pursue a career in Pathology?

I loved the pathology lectures and the pathologists who taught our courses in the first two years of medical school, so when I was offered the opportunity to take an extra year in medical school to study just pathology, I went for it. I loved every minute of it and found that nothing else in medicine compared!

 

What about Pathology fascinates you the most?

I find medical/surgical autopsies fascinating because they provide me with a chance to delve very deeply into disease processes. I am also fascinated by surgical pathology and the fact that the different things I see under the microscope can translate into such vastly different manifestations and outcomes in patients.

 

Laurie spending time with her niece Lucy on the beach while visiting family.

What excites you most about joining the Department of Pathology at U of M?

I am excited to be joining a friendly, welcoming department with such a great reputation in assisting with patient care and performing research. I am also very excited to be moving back to the Midwest to be closer to my family!

 

How do you spend your free time?

I am an avid and eclectic reader, with tastes ranging from Dostoevsky to Kathy Reichs. I also enjoy hiking and camping with my fiancée, Marc, and watching TV shows and movies on Netflix with our two cats, Amos and Olive. I love to visit family, especially my 15-month-old niece, Lucy. I also quite enjoy traveling.

 


 

Ania Owczarczyk emigrated from Poland, and lived in western New York for most of her childhood. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a minor in Communication, and completed her MSTP (MD/PhD) training at the University of Michigan. Her passion for pathology deepened as a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Nicholas Lukacs. She envisions a career in academic medicine with an immunological research focus. Memorable medical school experiences sparked her interest in patient-centered care. Ania balances work with her favorite “obsessions:” running, yoga, photography, and exploring our National Parks.

 

What motivated you to pursue a career in Pathology?


Left: Ania finishing her 1st marathon, Detroit Free Press Marathon, October 21, 2012; Right: Arches National Park, UT, September 2015 (Photo by Ania's Mom, Beata Owczarczyk)
My desire to pursue Pathology began in high school. I am a predominantly visual learner, with an OCD-like attention to detail. I love graphic design and photography. As a Ph.D. candidate, I became captivated by experimental pathology. As a medical student, I was awed by Pathology’s role in patient care. The clinical and scholarly nature of Pathology will allow me to ask difficult research questions, and to apply microscopy and laboratory medicine to the diagnosis and management of human disease. Ultimately, Pathology complements my visual strengths and intellectual passions.

 

What about Pathology fascinates you the most?

The most fascinating aspect of being a pathologist is the ability (and privilege) to experience the world in a very unique manner. I am excited to study the microscopic level, to ponder what a particular constellation of cells or proteins means for a patient’s health. I am also humbled by the opportunity to analyze what lies beneath the skin, in an effort to explain why someone has passed away.

 

White Sands National Monument, NM, April 2011 (Photo by Ania’s mom, Beata Owczarczyk)

What excites you most about joining the Department of Pathology at U of M?

The people are what make me most excited about rejoining the Pathology Department. The interactions with Pathology faculty during my graduate years were very positive. This impression was reinforced during my medical school pathology elective. Most importantly, the residents foster a culture — welcoming, encouraging, and supportive — that I am thrilled to experience.

 

How do you spend your free time?

If I could spend an entire day off doing what I love, it would go something like this: golden hour photo session, morning trail run, epic breakfast, baking a new recipe, lunch time yoga session, afternoon tea and reading, planning the next National Park adventure, tasty dinner, and a live U2 concert.

 


 

Ashley clearing 12'10

Ashley Smith, DO was born at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor but grew up in Marshall, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University for her undergrad education. She likes to claim she actually majored in pole vaulting, as she competed as a member of the track and field team. She did eventually earn a B.S. in Human Biology, as well as a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Conference Championships. During the two years she took off before starting medical school, she had her first introduction to pathology while working as a phlebotomist in a small lab at Oaklawn Hospital in her hometown of Marshall, Michigan. She went on to earn her DO degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

 

What motivated you to pursue a career in Pathology?

Going to medical school with a sports background, I originally thought I would pursue a career in orthopedic surgery or sports medicine. However, once I began clinical rotations in my third year I quickly realized that my favorite part of medicine was the diagnosis. I liked the how and why of everything, and not so much the what to do next. I should have known, since I’m the type of person who loves spoilers, and I always skip ahead to the end of books to make sure my favorite character survives! Plus, after a lifetime of searching for Petoskey stones on the shores of Lake Michigan, I have excellent pattern recognition! It wasn’t until my forensic pathology rotation in Kalamazoo that I realized I was already set on a career in pathology.

 

What about Pathology fascinates you the most?

Along the course of my medical education, I have met a few truly exceptional mentors (from several different disciplines) who have greatly influenced me. I would love to be that for someone else in the future. I love that pathology as a specialty is the closest to the basic sciences, and as such we are in the best position to be teachers to our patients, colleagues, and students. And besides, I’ll basically be solving puzzles every day!

 

What excites you most about joining the Department of Pathology at U of M?

I am so excited to finally be a Wolverine! Both of my parents are huge U of M fans, and that’s how they raised me. They were very confused when I decided to go to MSU for undergrad…but it worked out! I feel that the quality of the program speaks for itself – the numerous research and fellowship opportunities, the amazing people I will get to work with, and getting to live in fabulous Ann Arbor…what more could I ask for?

 

(Left) Ashley with her husband, Barent, just after getting engaged on North Beach in Leland, MI; (Right) Ashley's cats (left to right) Momo and Babou.

How do you spend your free time?

I’m not going to lie, I LOVE to sleep. I love rolling in bed for hours, either cuddling with cats and my husband, reading a new sci-fi book, binge-watching Netflix documentaries, or working on a new crochet project (yes, my spirit animal is a grandma). When I am finally able to drag myself from my blankets, I enjoy trying out new breweries or wineries, beachcombing around the awesome Great Lakes, and playing board games with close friends.

 


 

Alex Taylor, MD was born in Columbia, Missouri and attended the University of Missouri where he received a B.S. in biochemistry and a B.A. in music with an emphasis in French horn performance. He then completed medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and is thrilled to return to the Midwest for residency this summer.

 

What motivated you to pursue a career in pathology?

Throughout medical school I found myself being more and more engaged with nuances of diagnosis and the physiology behind various disease processes. During my pathology electives, I found a lot of fulfillment in the way in which pathologists’ decisions dictate patient management and influence patient outcomes. It’s a true privilege to be able to take care of patients by solving diagnostic mysteries as a profession.

 

Alex and his fiancée Charlotte enjoying the view at Yosemite National Park. Photo credit Tom Creighton.

What about pathology fascinates you the most?

I’m fascinated by the possibilities for the future of the field of pathology. As we continue to develop our multimodal understanding of disease processes and compile data about our patients and their diseases and outcomes, we have the opportunity to create novel and practical tools for diagnosis, clinician decision support, and patient education.

 

What excites you most about joining the department of pathology at U of M? 

I’m so honored to be joining such a fantastic department; all the faculty and residents with whom I’ve interacted have been so encouraging and welcoming, and I look forward to adding to that collegial environment. As someone who is still working out the details of what niche I want to fill within pathology, there are exceptional training opportunities at Michigan in all of

my interest areas, including cutting-edge pathology informatics research, a structured quality improvement curriculum, and the chance to engage in medical education. Finally, I’m really excited to promote wellness and be an advocate for my fellow residents.

 

How do you spend your free time?

If I were to sum up my favorite pastimes in a phrase, it would be “dinner and a movie,” and I’m not too picky about either! I also really enjoy cooking, hiking, running, playing and listening to music, college football, and watching the best TV Netflix has to offer with my fiancée Charlotte and our cat, Khaleesi.

 

 

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