Department of Anatomic & Molecular Pathology

Back to Dept. Home Page

Welcome Note​


Welcome to the Department of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos!

Pathology is the study (logos) of disease (pathos). It is the study of the structural, biochemical, and functional changes in cells, tissues, and organs that underlie disease. It is divided into two broad categories:
Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. Clinical Pathology specialties include Haematology and Blood banking; Clinical chemistry/ Chemical pathology and Medical Microbiology.

Anatomic pathology is a basic science specialty which is intricately linked with clinical science and is immensely useful to the practice of Clinical Medicine. Anatomic pathology includes 3 main fields of study and of practice:
Surgical pathology, Autopsy pathology, and Cytopathology.

Surgical pathology is the branch of Pathology which deals with the identification of the disease found in tissue specimens obtained the from body. When the pathologist renders a diagnosis and advises the clinician of the presence of benign or malignant disease, he helps to guide patient management.

Autopsy pathologists obtain a history from medical records, communicate with clinicians, and obtain information available from crime scene investigation. Thereafter, they perform a detailed external and internal examination that help to answer questions that arise when an individual dies. The answers to these questions are often quite pertinent to the health and the well-being of living relatives and/or the society as a whole.

Cytopathology (Cyto-cell) is the branch of Pathology which derives information about the nature of disease from the study of cells and their nuclear and cytoplasmic features. Specimens for Cytopathology are obtained by needle aspiration of fluids from cavities or cells loosened from tissues. Scraping or the exfoliation (natural shedding) of cells from body surfaces eg the cervix, can also be obtained for cytopathologic screening. These specimens can be processed much quicker than tissue specimens and a diagnosis can be rendered within just a few hours in some cases.

Molecular pathology is an emerging discipline within Pathology which is focused on the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of molecules within organs, tissues or body fluids. Molecular pathology is
multi-disciplinary in nature and shares some aspects of practice with both anatomic pathology and clinical pathology, molecular biology, biochemistry, proteomics and genetics. These are exciting times for the Pathologist! As medicine continues to expand into newer frontiers, pathology, the basis of medicine, is at the centre of it all.

In case we have aroused your interest in Anatomic Pathology, you may want to know what it takes to become an Anatomic Pathologist. An Anatomic Pathologist is a medical doctor who has completed specialist training in
Anatomic Pathology, often in a teaching hospital over a period of 4-6 years. During this time, the trainee pathologist or resident doctor learns the ‘tricks of the trade’ under the supervision of a qualified pathologist. Thereafter, a pathologist may further sub-specialise; as you read further you will come across some of these subspecialties.

History of the Department

The Department of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences is located within the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL). Historically, the department was born at the establishment of the Lagos Medical School in 1962 which became known as the College of Medicine in March 1967. At the inception of CMUL, The Faculty of Basic Medical sciences (then School of Basic Medical Sciences) included three departments viz. the Department of Morphological sciences (Anatomy), the Department of Physiological sciences and the Department of Pathological sciences. The department of Pathological sciences was headed by Professor F. T. Nicholson, a pioneer member of staff of CMUL who was invited from Toronto, Canada to help establish the practice of Morbid Anatomy at the teaching hospital and the medical school.

Prof P.N. Odunjo was the first Nigerian to assume the role of Professor and Head of department. He was joined in the early seventies by Dr VPN Mordi and Dr. Isaac Olusola Olude, they were all German trained. They left a legacy of excellence in the department that still makes the department stand out even years after their exit from the system. The trio were then joined by the Canadian trained Dr S.O. Elesha, who rose to become the next Professor and Head of department following the exit of Prof Odunjo. Subsequently, three of their protegees, all female, have risen to the position of Professors and Head of department. They are Prof. Adekunbiola. A. F. Banjo, Prof. Fatimah. B. Abdulkareem and the current Head of department Prof Adetola O. Daramola. The immediate past Head of Department was Prof CC Anunobi.

The department was known as the Department of Morbid Anatomy for many years until January 2012 when it became known as the Department of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology to reflect the introduction of molecular diagnostics into the services. Our laboratory pioneered the use of Liquid based cytology for Gynaecological cytology in Nigeria using the Liqui-PREP system.. The Liqui-PREP system is a relatively affordable preparation for Liquid Based Cytology which is appropriate for the detection of malignant and pre-malignant epithelial changes in resource-limited settings. It improves detection rates and allows for further testing with immunohistochemistry and molecular methods. The department is currently looking into ways of also making molecular testing more affordable for breast cancer patients via the SRAT4 Breast cancer Research Project.


Academic Programs

Undergraduate Academic Programme

The department is involved in academic and research in the university as well as training of residents and provision of services to LUTH patients. The department teaches 200 and 300 level MBBS/BDS; 300 level Radiography,
300 level Nursing science. During the period under review the department carried out its statutory functions of research, teaching and examining students at the various levels. We have also continued to provide technical assistance, tissue processing and interpretation of histopathologic changes in laboratory animal tissues used for B.Sc. M.Sc. and Ph.D. research in the University of Lagos and beyond Currently we are involved in cutting edge collaborative research in the areas of colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. A few of the publications arising from these include


Postgraduate Academic Programme