Member Spotlight

HCS members are a diverse group of researchers. Please read on to discover more about your member colleagues.

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is the Program Manager of the Histology and Imaging Core and Comparative Pathology Program at the University of Washington at South Lake Union. Brian is a research scientist with extensive experience in histopathology and immunohistochemistry, digital imaging and quantitative image analysis. Brian is board certified by the American College of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as a Pathologists Assistant and received his initial training in the clinical pathology setting. Brian subsequently gained extensive experience in molecular pathology while working for a for-profit biotechnology company where he performed immunohistochemistry and species cross reactivity studies for pre-clinical studies. His experience in molecular pathology has most recently been applied in the academic setting at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Along with project management and consultation Brian’s work at the Histology and Imaging Core focuses on development of new immunohistochemical protocols, high throughput automated immunohistochemistry, whole slide digital scanning and image analysis. Brian also serves as Technical Faculty for the MBL Special Topics Course: Immunohistochemistry & Microscopy (IHCM) at the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, MA.

Richard Levenson

Richard Levenson, MD, FCAP, is Professor and Vice Chair for Strategic Technologies in the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department at the University of California Davis. He received his undergraduate degree in History and Literature at Harvard College, his medical degree at the University of Michigan and his pathology training at Washington University, St. Louis. Following a research fellowship at the University of Rochester, he accepted a faculty position in the Pathology Department at Duke University. He then moved to Carnegie Mellon University where he began to develop applications for multispectral imaging in biology and medicine. He served on the HCS Council from 2007 to 2011. In 1999, he joined, Cambridge Research and Instrumentation (CRI), where he rose to Vice President of Research. While at CRI, he was a principal investigator on multiple NIHfunded large-scale grants addressing the development of automated, multiplexed pathology instrumentation, three-dimensional multispectral smallanimal imaging systems, optical dynamic contrast enhancement techniques, and high-speed birefringence optical microscopy, leading to a number of commercialized products and issued patents. He is a reviewer on multiple NIH, NCI and NSF grant review panels, is Associate Editor of Analytical Cell Pathology and serves on the editorial boards of Laboratory Investigation and Cytometry Part A. Since August, 2009, he has also been a consultant on projects that have included quantitative pathology, optical brain thermometry, intraoperative surgical guidance, and nanotechnology development. He and his wife Jan enjoy escaping the hustle and bustle of Davis (pop. 64,000) by getting up to their cabin next to Lassen National Volcanic Park, and by catching up on Weeds.

Stephen M. Hewitt

Stephen M. Hewitt, M.D., Ph.D., is a Clinical Investigator within the Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda Maryland. He has served as Chief of the Tissue Array Research Program since its inception in 2000, and as Chief of the Applied Molecular Pathology Laboratory since its creation in 2008. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Johns Hopkins University in 1988, and his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Texas, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1995, having completed his thesis in the laboratory of Grady Saunders at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He completed his M.D. in 1996 at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and his residency in Anatomic Pathology within the Laboratory of Pathology at the National Cancer Institute. He is a board certified Anatomic Pathologist and Fellow of the College of American Pathologists. Dr. Hewitt is a member of the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute Immunology & Ligand Assay Consensus Committee, having served as co-chair of the Subcommittee on Immunohistochemical Assays. He is a Councilor of The Histochemical Society, serves on the HCS Program Committee and has served on the faculty of the HCS short course on Immunohistochemistry and Microscopy. He is a consultant to the Hematology and Pathology Devices Panel, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Hewitt has co-authored more than 160 articles and servers on the editorial board of four peer-reviewed Journals. He is co-inventor on two patents, and solo inventor on one patent - which is currently undergoing commercialization.

Dr. Hewitt’s research interests are in the development of tissue-based biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of response to therapy. Specific areas of concentration include tissue microarrays, tissue proteomics, image analysis, and cancers of the aerodigestive and urogenitial tracts. His research is at the forefront in bridging the past with the future. He is leading efforts to maximize extraction of RNA from formaldehyde fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE) specimens. The extensive resource of biological material archived as FFPE specimens stores vast amounts of information about human health and disease. The rapidly advancing high-throughput profiling technologies make it possible to mine the molecular secrets embedded in this repository. However, methods such as RNA sequencing require RNA of uniformly high quality. This presents a challenge in exploiting these archived samples for the new technologies. He is working toward identifying the parameters that influence the quality of the protein and nucleic acids recoverable from these FFPE specimens and the methodology to achieve the highest quality samples from the current archived materials, critical steps required to fully exploit this resource.

*Editor’s Note: See October 2011 Genome Technology ( for a report on Stephen Hewitt’s work. His review article appeared in the April 2011 issue of JHC 59(4): 356-365 and was the first to deal with the issue of mechanism of loss of antigenicity in archival formalin-fixed tissue. This study revealed that inadequate tissue processing, resulting in retention of endogenous water in tissue sections, results in antigen degradation.)

Jose L. Serrano-Velez

Jose L. Serrano-Velez has been a Bioinformatics and Visualization Specialist in the Eduardo Rosa-Molinar laboratory for 11 years. He is responsible for managing the 3D fluorescence optical sectioning microscopy technologies housed in the laboratory, including laser scanning confocal microscopy and structured illumination microscopy all which provide 3D information about the neuron. He is also responsible for image collection, semi-automatic segmentation, tracing, analysis, and archiving of 3D images. For the last two years, he has taught the use of light and fluorescence microscopy technologies in The Histochemical Society (HCS) Short Course, Immunohistochemistry and Microscopy, offered at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA and he serves on the HCS Awards and Membership Committee. He is a PhD degree candidate in the biology program at UPR-RP and hopes to graduate in 2012. He uses 3D fluorescence optical sectioning microscopy technologies combined with immunofluorescence to elucidate neuron shape and the 3D dendritic architecture of neurons in the vertebrate central nervous system, both of which are essential to understanding the general principles determining neurons’ distinct 3D dendritic architecture and to advancing knowledge of synaptic and neural circuit plasticity. Jose grew up in rural Adjuntas, Puerto Rico where he attended public schools, and he earned a BS in biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. As an undergraduate, he participated in the Transfer to Research Careers summer program and was a Howard Hughes summer fellow in Dr. Michael Rosbash’s laboratory at Brandeis University. After graduating and prior to joining the RosaMolinar laboratory, he worked in laboratories at UPR-RP and the Institute of Neurobiology, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.

As President of the Biology Graduate Student Association, he worked with the UPR-RP Chancellor to organize a forum series on Responsible Conduct in Science that featured the National Science Foundation Inspector General; he now serves as the graduate student representative to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.