Recognizing Jonathan Chen on National Pathologists’ Assistant Day


April 14th was National Pathologists’ Assistant Day, and we’re shining a spotlight on Staff Pathologists’ Assistant Jonathan Chen, MHS, PA(ASCP)CM, who joined the Duke Surgical Pathology Lab in 2019.

“In celebration of Pathologists’ Assistant Day, our program would like to extend our gratitude to Jonathan for his contributions towards the mentorship and education of our students, as well as for his service and volunteer efforts in the pathology community,” said Pathologists’ Assistant Program Director Michelle P. Johnson, MHS, PA (ASCP)CM .

He is originally from Maryland, and since moving to Durham in 2017, has enjoyed his time living here. “I absolutely love the barbeque and the absence of traffic and snow,” he said. He enjoys working at Duke, especially working on complex cancer resections and collaborating with pathologists and surgeons to provide the best patient care. The fast-paced environment of the Surgical Pathology Lab and varied daily schedule is rewarding: “We see everything at Duke, from simple routine specimens to complex multi-organ en bloc resections for malignancy,” said Chen.    Chen has experience working in both academic and private practice as a Pathologists’ Assistant at various hospitals and laboratories in Research Triangle Park (RTP). Within his clinical work, he has special interests in head & neck pathology and orthopedic (bone/soft tissue) pathology. His favorite specimen to gross is split between a laryngectomy and a femur for osteosarcoma, and another passion is macroscopic gross photography.  

Besides grossing specimens and teaching Pathologists’ Assistant students and residents at the gross bench, he also coordinates the program’s Grossing Lecture series. In this role, he's responsible for dividing up specimen grossing lectures with his colleagues, and every week, they give a gross lecture to the second-year Pathologists’ Assistant students. During the lecture, they review the gross analysis of every specimen commonly encountered in the gross room. 

He also serves as the program’s social media coordinator, helping Johnson highlight exciting news and events for the Pathologists’ Assistant program across various platforms and also helps plan events for the program.  Finally, he assists a few second-year Pathologists’ Assistant students each year in creating their posters for the annual American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants (AAPA) Fall Conference and presented his own poster there in 2023. Read more about his presentation.

Outside of Duke, Chen is an avid volunteer for the AAPA and was recently appointed as the section author for the Bone & Soft Tissue Section of the AAPA Grossing Guidelines Editorial Board, where the duties include overseeing all the bone & soft tissue grossing protocols. He is a volunteer on the Grossing Guidelines Committee and is the author/editor for the Pediatric Ewing Sarcoma grossing protocol.  Additionally, he serves on the Peer Review Committee and reviews multiple manuscripts submitted for publication in the The Cutting Edge journal and published his first paper there in 2017.  Chen reviews student manuscripts for the annual AAPA Fall Conference.  Finally, he is also on the Membership Committee where he co-leads the Student Delegate program [with Duke Pathologists’ Assistant program alumna Ann Marie Scazzero, PA (ASCP)]. They help run the student sessions specifically geared for students at the annual AAPA Fall Conference. 

In his free time, he enjoys watching college basketball and going to Duke basketball games (go Blue Devils!), and of course, March Madness is his favorite time of year. On weekends, he’s usually out hanging with his friends either watching the Duke basketball game, playing in a competitive game night (usually Code Names), or out on the lake fishing and catching bass. Other hobbies include photography, going to the gym, binge-watching Grey's Anatomy, and drinking copious amounts of coffee at his favorite coffee shop, Starbucks.  

In celebration of PA day, Jonathan would like to thank all his PA colleagues in the Surgical Pathology lab: Nicole Tomsho, MHS, PA(ASCP)CM, Matt Bovender, MHS, PA(ASCP)CM, Nick Tofolo, MHS, PA(ASCP)CM,  Ayumi Deeny, MHS, PA(ASCP)CM, Jessica McMahon, MHS, PA(ASCP), Emily Wagner, MS, PA(ASCP)CM, and Allison Topper, MHS, PA(ASCP)CM. “They are all phenomenal Pathologists’ Assistants, and I enjoy learning from and working with them on a daily basis,” said Chen.