Forensic pathologists bring their considerable expertise to bear on cases that rely on their medical and investigative training to determine cause of injury, death, or disease, and whether a case is worthy of criminal investigation. While the academic path to become a forensic pathologist can be long and arduous, the career can be a rewarding one, as pathology is so essential to the realization of justice. Here at ForensicsColleges.com, we have compiled a list of the top 20 forensic pathology professors in the nation, professors who have established their expertise in the field and who continue to advance it, all whilst educating the next generation of forensic pathologists, and shaping the future of the industry as a whole. Come meet these forensic pathologist experts below!
Dr. Cyril Wecht is a highly experienced forensic pathologist with both a medical degree and a law degree. He helped to found the Cyril Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University and is also a clinical professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. With nearly 50 years of experience, he is highly regarded in his field and across the medical profession.
Dr. Joye Carter is the director of the Forensic Pathology Fellowship program at Indiana University School of Medicine where she is also a clinical professor. Dr. Carter contributed a chapter to the book Forensic Laboratory Handbook of Procedures and Practice and has written two books of her own that have earned her much acclaim as a forensic pathologist who has broken many barriers and exceeded expectations time and again. On her personal site, Dr. Carter shares personal stories and anecdotes that are inspirational for any prospective forensic pathologist.
Dr. Nicholas Batalis is the associate director of the pathology program at the Medical University of South Carolina. Having completed his own fellowship in forensic pathology at the University of Texas Southwestern and the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office, he went on to become an associate professor and publish numerous articles about forensic pathology in medical journals.
A clinical associate professor at New York University, Dr. James R. Gill is an experience pathologist with a focus on forensic pathology. The list of his professional publications is truly impressive from journals like Modern Pathology and Laboratory Investigation. In addition to his duties as a forensic pathologist professor, he also works as the chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut. Dr. Gill also won the Distinguished Forensic Science Award from the University of New Haven and the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science.
Dr. Michael Graham is a Board Certified Pathologist who also works as a forensic pathology professor at St. Louis University School of Medicine. He is not only a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the National Association of Medical Examiners, but also the College of American Pathologists, the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology and the Pulmonary Pathology Society. He has received numerous awards, including the Health Professional of the Year Award from Combined Health Appeal of Greater St. Louis and the Outstanding Service Award, from the National Association of Medical Examiners.
Dr. Robert Brissie is a forensic pathology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. His clinic interest includes injury prevention and trauma research. Dr. Brissie is an active member of the medical community, having joined the Alabama Coroner's Association along with the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the National Association of Medical Examiners, and many others.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, associate clinical professor of pathology at the University of California at Davis, is one of the most highly educated forensic pathology professors on this well-credentialed list. Dr. Omalu has studied the brains of professional football players and was the first pathologist to discover chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in the brain of an NFL player who had passed away. This led to the establishment of the Brain Injury Research Institute, which studies the brains of professional athletes.
Dr. Judy Melinek is a board certified forensic pathologist who is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Pathology at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, where she won the residency teaching award in 2008. Dr. Melinek maintains a blog, named Forensic Pathology Forum which includes updates on developments in the field of forensic pathology, and lessons learned from her experiences as a forensic pathologist and expert witness through her private practice, PathologyExpert Inc.
The University of Colorado at Denver is well known for its medical school, in large part due to distinguished faculty like assistant professor Virginia Knez. Dr. Knez is highly educated and has completed fellowships in both surgical pathology and forensic pathology, making her well qualified for a place on this list of top forensic pathology professors.
An assistant professor as well as the unit director for the Autopsy department and University of Florida Department of Pathology, Dr. Martha Burt has studied for many years to reach this vaunted position. In addition, she is an associate medical examiner for the District 8 Medical Examiner's Office. Dr. Burt's research focus includes autopsies and forensic toxicology.
Dr. Gregory Davis is the director of the Resident Training Program at the University of Kentucky as well as an Assistant Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As with many forensic pathology professors on this list, he has consulted on high profile criminal cases. Dr. Davis is also director of the Annual New England Seminar in Forensic Sciences.
Dr. Tracy Corey is a Chief Medical Examiner and a Clinical Professor at the University of Louisville in Louisville Kentucky. She is the director of the Forensic Pathology Division at that university and is board certified in forensic pathology. Her expertise also led to an appearance on Dateline NBC.
Dr. David R. Fowler is a Clinical Professor in the Pathology department at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is the co-author of what has become a key book in the study of forensic pathology, entitled "Essential Forensic Neuropathology" which helps students to understand the different ways in which the body's central nervous system may be impacted by violence, accidents, and death. He is also the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland and on the Board of Directors for the Forensic Imaging Society of the Americas.
Dr. Henry C. Lee is a professor and Associate Vice President at the University of New Haven's Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. As an experienced forensic scientist, Dr. Lee has worked on high profile criminal investigations, such as the JonBenet Ramsey case and the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, and consulted for law enforcement agencies across the country. His expert work has earned him accolades that include honorary degrees from St. Joseph College, Roger Williams University Law School, and the University of Bridgeport.
Dr. Deborah L. Radisch is a professor as well as Chief Medical Examiner in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina. She holds a medical degree as well as a Master's in Public Health. Dr. Radisch's research into child fatalities makes her a particularly compelling forensic pathology professor.
Dr. Jeffrey Barnard is a graduate of Texas A&M College of Medicine who currently work as a forensic pathology professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was the first doctor to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from his medical school and has authored articles published in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology as well the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
A forensic pathology professor from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Reade Quinton is an associate professor as well as a medical examiner. Dr. Quinton is dedicated to his work in child fatalities, including consultations with the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center and is the director of the Forensic Pathology training program atht eh Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Dr. Corinne Fligner is the director of Autopsy and After-Death Services at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She is also an associate professor of forensic pathology. Dr. Fligner completed a fellowship in Forensic Pathology in Seattle and is Board Certified in Anatomic, Clinical, and Forensic Pathology.
Unlike the majority of forensic pathologist professors on this list, Dr. Alphonse Poklis does not have a medical degree. Rather, he has a Ph.D. in forensic toxicology from the University of Maryland. He is well known for work in forensic toxicology and for his experience as an expert witness in a variety of criminal trials. He has been the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the American Board of Forensic Toxicology and is the Director of Toxicology in the Pathology department at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Dr. Donald R. Jason is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Like some of the other professors on this list, he also holds a legal degree. Dr. Jason is a member in good standing of the National Association of Medical Examiners as well as the American Academy of Forensic Science.
In compiling this list of the top forensic pathology professors in the United States, we used a number of metrics. First, the professor must be associated with a specific forensic pathology program. These are not a part of the curriculum at all major universities and a position in one of these programs shows a dedication to the forensic pathology specialty. Department heads and fellowship supervisors were strongly considered.
When looking at academic credentials, publication is always another consideration. The professors on this list have published extensive work in peer reviewed journals that cover the field of forensic pathology, including the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. Additionally, the majority of these forensic pathology professors have an affiliation with at least one of the two chief forensic sciences associations: the American Academy of Forensic Sciences or the National Association of Medical Examiners. Most have also been certified by the American Board of Pathology, which denotes that they are specialists in the field of pathology.
Finally, because this is a list of the top forensic pathology professors online, the professors on this list have at least some presence online. While not all of them have a personal site or blog, many of them do. This allows them to share research, news, and other interesting facts with their students as well as the interested public.