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Clive Taylor resigns chair of Pathology post to focus on research and teaching

Clive Taylor

Long-time Keck School of Medicine chair of pathology, Clive R. Taylor, has announced his resignation, effective upon the recruitment of a suitable replacement for the position. He will continue on as senior associate dean for educational affairs, a position he has held since 1997, and will also continue his teaching and research in the Department of Pathology.

“Clive is a highly dedicated and creative Chair and a devoted teacher and mentor,” said Keck School Dean Brian E. Henderson. “The Keck School is fortunate in having had him lead the Department of Pathology for more than 20 years, and even moreso that he will continue to provide leadership in all aspects of our school’s academic life.”

Taylor has chaired the Department of Pathology since 1984.

“At that time the department was mainly based at the LAC+USC Medical Center, with a relatively limited number of faculty doing research, and only the very beginnings of a private practice plan,” Taylor said.

Attracting grant money required an already-established research program—which the department was missing. And so, in the beginning of his time at pathology’s helm, Taylor used private practice revenues to get the department’s research enterprise off the ground. It was a risky choice, he admitted. But the risk paid off.

“In 1984, about three-quarters of the funds for the department in total came from our commitment to the LAC+USC Medical Center,” he said. “Today, less than a third comes from LAC+USC, and about a half of our funding comes from grants, well in excess of $10 million per year.”

Taylor says that a pivotal point in his tenure came in 1988 when, in conjunction with the University of Utah, the department developed a pathology reference laboratory to do specialty and general reference testing for community hospitals in the Southern California region. “Over the next decade, that laboratory proved very successful, and funded the recruitment of almost a dozen research-oriented faculty,” Taylor said.

Taylor is perhaps most proud of the recruitments he made as a result of that effort. Their names read like a Keck School Who’s Who: Timothy Triche, Richard Cote, David Hinton, Michael Press, Michael Lieber, Michael Stallcup, Alan Epstein, Louis Dubeau, Darryl Shibata, Sue Ellen Martin, Cheng-Ming Chuong, and Deborah Commins. “Their presence has created a rich and stimulating environment in the department,” Taylor said, “with interests ranging from molecular signatures of tumors to just how dinosaurs grew feathers.”

“I feel really fortunate with the people in the department with whom I’ve been able to work over the years,” Taylor added. “People like Nancy Warner, the prior chair, Pete Nichols, Steb Chandor, Juan Felix, Ira Shulman, Alex Fedenko, Michael Koss, Alan Hiti, Andy Sherrod, Pradip Roy Burman, Shan Rong Shi, Jim Dickson, Bob MacPhee and Wes Naritoku, who took over the directorship of the residency program. And key staff, particularly Denise Matthews, Nan Norona, Lillian Young, Willian Win and Myrna Cisneros. I truly have been fortunate.”

Taylor said that he sees the job of a department chair as “an opportunity to be of service.” He feels that “The measure of success is the extent to which the chair can bring out the best of everyone else in research and teaching, rather than in any individual personal achievements.”

Taylor has led or served a number of professional organizations. He was president of the Association of Pathology Chairs from 1996-1999, President of the US Biological Stain Commission from 1993-1998, and was Chair of the Los Angeles County Laboratory Standards Committee from 1984 through 1991. He is a fellow of the College of American Pathologists, a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in the UK and the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.

Taylor has an active National Institutes of Health grant, is on the Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies Study Section Panel of the NIH, and is the chair of the FDA Advisory Panel for Diagnostic Devices and Radiology. He has been the driving force behind a number of successful start-up biotechnology companies.

Taylor says that his successor will inherit a vibrant and successful faculty, but will face certain challenges, chief among them being how to maintain the department’s international status and its research growth. “He or she will need to identify resources—both space and money—with which to recruit subspecialty surgical pathologists,” Taylor noted. “In addition, he or she will need to maintain the teaching excellence that the department is known for.”

Born in Littleport, England, Taylor was educated at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, where he earned his M.D. and Ph.D. Before joining USC, he lectured in pathology at Oxford, and served with the Oxfordshire Health Authority . A Medical Research Council Traveling Fellowship in cancer research brought him to the United States and to USC in 1975. He joined the USC faculty in 1976. With his wife Susan, past president of the Medical Faculty Wives and Friends, Taylor has four ‘medical’ children, two on the faculties at the universities of Colorado and Rochester NY, one a resident in general surgery and one a third year medical student. All attended medical school at USC.

Clive Taylor resigns chair of Pathology post to focus on research and teaching

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