Research Histology Services


Dr. A. Jake Demetris

Starzl Professor of Transplant Pathology
Director, Division of Liver and Transplantation Pathology
Director, Research Histology Services Laboratory


Administrative Assistant: Kerry Smith (

Dr. Demetris, Director of the RHS Lab and Division of Liver and Transplantation Pathology, Department of Pathology, has over thirty years of experience in clinical and experimental pathology and pathophysiology.  Dr. Demetris' research team focuses on various aspects of liver and solid organ transplantation pathology, with a focus on hepatic immunobiology in native chronic necro-inflammatory liver disease and liver, heart, and kidney transplantation. Specifically, his research interests include the: 1) immunobiology of tolerance induction and chronic T cell-mediated (TCMR) and antibody-mediated rejection (AMR); 2) multiplex labeling, high resolultion digital imaging and image analysis for enhancing liver and all solid organ transplantation clinical anatomic pathology and basic and translational research; and 3) Consilience of immune checkpoint analyses in transplantaiton and cancer immunobiology.  Dr. Demetris is the central pathologist for several NIH-sponsored multi-center studies sponsored by the Immune Tolerance Network, Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation, and  TransMedics, a company devoted to normothermic extra-corporeal perfusion of human donor organs in preparation for transplantation.   

Drew Lesniak

Software Engineer


Drew has been involved with Digital Microscopy, Whole Slide Imaging and image analysis/informatics since the late 1990's, having lead the technology development teams of a few Pittsburgh-based startups in the field.  Prior to joining Research Histology Services and UPMC, Drew worked with Carl Zeiss MicroImaging and developed custom informatics solutions for customers looking to utilize whole slide microscopy in their research protocols.

Dr. Michelle Wood-Trageser

Research Assistant Professor


Dr. Wood-Trageser completed her B.S. in Biotechnology at Elizabethtown College (2004) and received her PhD in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. After an additional six years of post-graduate training she joined the laboratory in 2015. Her main function is to drive Dr. Demetris’ research laboratory goals forward. Specializing in multiplex immunohistochemistry and genomics research projects. However, she also assists the RHS laboratory in development of agreements for new large scale projects within the lab (including budgets, standard operating procedures, and scopes of work). She also functions to help develop complex assays to be used by the RHS laboratory and to assist the staff with troubleshooting.

Kayla Golnoski

Research Specialist


Kayla completed her B.S. in Biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (2008) and her M.S. in Biology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2011). Her master's studies focused on the the role of Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II (CaMKII) in the regulation of biological rhythms in Paramecium tetraurelia. Kayla previously worked as a research manager at Magee-Womens Research Institute before joining Research Histology Services at Pitt in December of 2016.  Kayla will be assisting with workflow of our large contracts, including clinical trials, and inventory management.

Ibraheem Khoury

Research II


Ibraheem completed his B.S. in Biology at the University of Balamand in Lebanon (2015). He moved to the United States in 2017 and joined our team in 2018.  Ibraheem will seek to earn his Histotechnician's certification while training in our laboratory.

Benjamin Popp

Informatics Database Manager


Benjamin completed his B.S. in Biology at the University of Pittsburgh (2017). As an undergraduate, Benjamin worked for the Department of Pathology at UPMC as an imaging and analysis assistant with our laboratory. Currently, Benjamin assists the laboratory with whole slide imaging and tissue analysis. He is also the manager of our database for clinical specimens.