Prof. Fred Bosman Talks About His #6 Ranking in The Power List and His Passion for Pathology

| February 28, 2016

“The Pathologist” Magazine has named Prof. Bosman #6 on The Power List for 2015.

bosmanProfessor Fred T. Bosman obtained both an M.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. This is also where he also trained as a pathologist. He was Director of the University Institute of Pathology at the University Medical Center of Lausanne. He has been the president of the Society for Histochemistry, the Dutch Society for Pathology and the
European Society of Pathology, is honorary fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and foreign correspondent of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. Fred has published over 350 papers and 50 book chapters, his career in pathology spans over 40+ years.

Professor Bosman and PathXL’s professional connection spans many years and we would like to congratulate him on his ranking in this prestigious list. To mark the occasion PathXL had the pleasure of asking Prof. Bosman some questions which he gladly allowed us to share. It provides an amazing insight into the world of pathology. In this, Part 1, we learn about Prof. Bosman’s career in pathology, and in the second part of this interview, Professor Bosman gives his opinion on the future of the pathology sector and the impact of digital pathology.

What attracted you to a career in pathology?
To be frank, I was never really attracted to a career in pathology, when I entered medical school I thought I wanted to become a surgeon. As time progressed and after having a brief stint with surgery, I realized that in the long run I would probably get bored with surgery. I tend to distinguish between physicians that are interested in making a diagnosis and treat, and those who are interested in finding out why and how the disease developed.

As much as I enjoy diagnostic problems, I have always been fascinated by the biology of disease, what the Royal College calls ‘the science behind the cure’. During my rotating internships I had waiting periods which by sheer chance I could fill up with a job as junior assistant in pathology. I got hooked and that’s how I ended up in a career in pathology.

What area of pathology are you most interested in?
For a long time I remained an all-rounder but I have always had a particular interest in pathology of the digestive tract and also endocrine pathology. Methods are important and one of the things I did early on my career was to work on basic laboratory methods, notably immunohistochemistry, and the interest in methodology has remained. I have also been involved early on in molecular pathology and much of my recent research has been on molecular pathology of colorectal cancer.
 

What significant changes have occurred in your role in the last 5 years?
The biggest change for me as a person is that I have been pushed into retirement. I put it this way because I feel I never had a job. I was allowed to live my passion and in spite of retirement I continue to do so. Retirement for me has been to continue to work but I only do what I like.

Talking as a professional, the answer would be the arrival of precision medicine and the use of ever more sophisticated parameters to extract molecular parameters from biospecimens. These parameters allow the pathologist to help clinicians to determine what the ideal therapeutic approach might be for any particular patient. When I trained in pathology the end-point was the H&E slide and morphology was the sole basis for a ‘final’ diagnosis. Now-a-days morphology is the starting point for an additional layer of sophisticated biomarker analysis, the results of which will guide further therapy choices.

What challenges have you come up against in your role?
Many of the older generation of practicing pathologists have difficulties in coming to grips with the ‘molecular revolution’, molecular biomarkers and lately new dazzling technology such as next generation sequencing. It is absolutely essential for the younger generation to be adequately educated in molecular pathology, understanding mechanisms of disease and molecular (genetic) methodology. If this is not picked up adequately by pathologists it will be annexed by other disciplines, clinical chemistry or genetics. I know geneticists have a keen interest in taking this over. It is essential that molecular analysis stays in pathology. This is for the benefit of patients and will keep pathology a very dynamic discipline.

You might get the impression that this reduces the importance of morphology but I should like to emphasize that morphology remains the basis of disease classification. Morphology is also very important in terms of selecting the sample to submit for the molecular analysis and so for years to come morphology will remain an essential basis for diagnostic pathology.

Congratulations on ranking at No. 6 in The Power List, how do you feel?
Ranking lists always have to be taken with several grains of salt so I do not make too much of it. That having been said, it feels good to be publicly recognized for a career that has been very rewarding in terms of what it has allowed me to achieve. My kids are proud of it!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview, the future for Pathology

PathXL will showcase their entire digital pathology portfolio at booth #1119 at USCAP taking place March 12th- March 18th, 2016 Seattle, Washington. For updates, follow @Pathxl or visit www.pathxl.com/uscap .

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