Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Pathology

Neuropathology Fellowship

The Northwestern McGaw Neuropathology Fellowship training program, centered at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, is a program dedicated to providing excellence in clinical service, research, and teaching. It is the only ACGME-accredited Neuropathology fellowship training program in Illinois. Our faculty includes nationally and internationally recognized experts, particularly in the fields of neurodegenerative neuropathology, gene regulation of nervous system development and function, and tumor biology. The goal of the neuropathology training program is to prepare our fellows for all aspects of a highly successful career in academic neuropathology. One new fellow is accepted into the program every year. The program requires a two-year commitment.

Education and Research

Northwestern McGaw has a general AP/CP pathology residency program, and these residents rotate on Neuropathology with the neuropathology fellow. The neuropathology fellow functions as mentor/teacher to the Pathology residents, as well as to residents from Neurology and Neurosurgery who also rotate on Neuropathology. The neuropathology fellow also acts as consultant to pathology residents and staff on the autopsy service, surgical pathology, cytopathology, and other sections of clinical pathology.

Neuropathology trainees concentrate on clinical training during their first year and research during their second year. Early in the first year of neuropathology fellowship, the trainee is expected to identify a laboratory and mentor. Once this is done, the trainee will be strongly encouraged to submit proposals for extramural funding support based on the chosen research topic. The goal will be to have the second year of fellowship supported by extramural sources. With 2 neuropathology fellows, the second year of training will have predominantly protected time for research, with the additional duty of overseeing the first year fellow during the new fellow’s initial month or two. The trainee’s identified research mentor will assure that emphasis is placed on 1) application of the scientific method, stressing the generation and testing of hypotheses, fundamentals of experimental design, statistical analysis and interpretation of results, preparation of written reports of findings for publication, and public presentation of research data at scientific meetings; and 2) gaining experience in contemporary neuroscience research techniques. The fellow is expected to present his or her research at one meeting per year and publish at least one paper based on work done during the fellowship. The best fellow candidates can be integrated into the Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP) where this infrastructure, mentoring and grant application guidance is already integrated into the program. If the candidate is serious about establishing an R01 funded research program, he/she will be encouraged to seek funding for additional year(s) of research

For further information on research opportunities for trainees, please visit the Feinberg Housestaff Research Portal.

Clinical Experience

The fellow gains expertise in the diagnosis of both common and rare neuropathologic diseases, morphologic diagnoses, and ancillary techniques, such as immunohistochemistry and molecular diagnostics. Approximately 1500 specimens come through the combined clinical services each year, including autopsy, surgical, neurodegenerative, and consultation material.

The neuropathology fellow coordinates and participates in case presentations at the weekly Neuro-oncology Case Conference, the monthly Alzheimer Disease Center/ALS/Movement Disorders CPC conference, and occasionally at the monthly Neurology Clinical Case Conference. 

Eligibility and Requirements

The candidate must be board eligible or certified in either Anatomic Pathology or Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, or in some other medical specialty such as Neurology and have had one year Anatomic Pathology training. Candidates for combined training in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology will be considered. The candidate must have passed USMLE Steps 1, 2, and 3.


The stipend is determined by previous pathology training and experience. Find stipend information via the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University site.

Application Process

Please send your application package, with the following components, to   

Current CV

Cover letter including career goals

Two letters of recommendation

USMLE Step Scores 1, 2 & 3


Application packages can also be sent to the address below.

Kim Liggett
Administrative Coordinator
Department of Pathology/Autopsy
Northwestern Memorial Group
710 N. Fairbanks Court Suite 2-461
Chicago, Illinois, 60611

312-926-3212 office
312-926-9830 fax

We are accepting applications for 2020-22 and onward.

Program Director

Neuropathology Fellowship Director Eileen Bigio, MD

Qinwen Mao, MD, PhD

Program Faculty

Daniel J Brat, MD, PhD
Eileen H Bigio, MD
Christina L Appin, MD
Craig M Horbinski, MD, PhD

Housestaff Research Portal

Feinberg has the infrastructure and resources to assist McGaw trainees interested in conducting scientific research. Visit our Housestaff Research Portal to learn more.