Neuropathology is the subspecialty of Pathology and Neurosciences with special expertise in diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system and its coverings, the eye, and skeletal muscle.

Neuropathologists diagnose brain and spinal cord lesions removed at surgery and at autopsy. The tissue is examined grossly and microscopically for signs of neoplasms, vascular disease, inflammatory processes, neurodegenerative disorders, developmental abnormalities, and other pathological processes. The neuropathologic diagnosis thus plays an important role in patient care, and postmortem diagnosis may be important for families at risk of disorders which have been shown to have a genetic basis.

Neuropathologists play an essential role at academic medical centers where they provide clinical, research, and educational support alongside colleagues in neurosurgery, neurooncology, neurology, and neuroradiology. Our service annually examines approximately 250 autopsy brains, 50 nerve biopsies, 250 muscle biopsies, 800 ophthalmic biopsies, and 2000 neurosurgical cases. Graduates of our neuropathology fellowship training program are on faculty in academic medical centers and are members of the American Association of Neuropathologists.


Thomas J. Cummings, MD, professor of pathology, chief of Neuropathology, and professor of Ophthalmology, is a member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, and has clinical and research interests in the following areas: Ophthalmic pathology (eye tumors, pathology of the optic nerve); neuropathology (brain tumors, neural tube defects, peripheral nerve and skeletal muscle pathology); orthopaedic pathology (bone and soft tissue tumors); leprosy involvement of the eye, peripheral nerve, bone, and soft tissues; general surgical pathology; and, pathology education. Dr. Cummings also serves as the AP/CP residency program director.

Karra Jones, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology, practices general neuropathology, neuromuscular pathology, and autopsy pathology and has broad experience with brain tumor research and molecular diagnostics in neuropathology.  She is section head of Muscle and Nerve Pathology, and her clinical and research interests involve inherited muscular dystrophies and myopathies. She is also director of our Electron Microscopy and Immunochemistry Laboratory (EM/ICL).

Anne F. Buckley, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology, is a member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, and conducts basic research on brain tumors and brain development.  Dr. Buckley is involved with translational and basic research on muscle and renal disorders with other research groups at Duke.

Giselle Lopez, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology, is a member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, and has clinical and research interests in brain tumors. Her research explores mechanisms of malignant transformation, along with exploring new avenues for potential treatments.

Roger McLendon, MD, is professor of pathology, and a member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.  He investigates the role of molecular expression in brain tumor classification, diagnosis and therapeutic response. He is also the Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center - Brain Tumor Biorepository.

Shih-Hsiu Jerry Wang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology, has a long term interest in neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative diseases. He is actively involved in research projects with the Duke Center for Neurodegeneration and Neurotherapeutics and the Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Brain Bank. His clinical practice includes surgical neuropathology, muscle biopsies, and autopsy pathology.