New Dermatopathologist

Dr. Mark Mochel started in July of 2016. We sat down with him a year later to see how he is doing.

1. Tell us about your education and training and how it led you to the field of Dermatopathology?

After attending the University of Virginia School of Medicine, I completed a residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, followed by a fellowship in Dermatopathology at the University of Pennsylvania. Exposure to dermatopathology in both medical school and early in residency attracted me to this subspecialty. Dermatopathology’s morphologic subtlety and complexity, continuous application of clinicopathologic correlation, and vast spectrum of conditions fascinate me.

2. Why did you choose academics over private practice?

The opportunities for teaching, collaboration with clinical colleagues, and research drew me to academic practice. Teaching residents and medical students is continually challenging and rewarding. In the academic setting, I work closely with clinicians in the dermatology and oncology clinics. New avenues for research appear frequently.

3. Describe your service activities and goals as a new faculty member?

After joining the faculty at the Department of Pathology at VCU, the majority of my efforts have been dedicated to establishing a dermatopathology service and providing diagnostic service for the department of dermatology, surgical oncology, and others. The weekly melanoma conference enables me to discuss pathologic findings and correlate them with clinical impressions and treatment plans. I also regularly cover the general surgical pathology service. My goals are to expand the dermatopathology service as the dermatology department and the melanoma program at VCU continue to grow.

4. How are you engaged as a teacher and a mentor? What are your preferred venues/settings for teaching?

Daily signouts with pathology and dermatology residents provide the most immediate and effective teaching opportunities. I also give lectures and unknowns sections regularly with dermatology and pathology residents.

5. Can you recall any particularly inspiring mentors that led you to where you are today? What about them inspired you and how do you emulate them as a mentor to others?

Dr. Mai Hoang at the Massachusetts General Hospital has been a fantastic mentor to me from my early days in pathology residency. She taught me a great deal of dermpath, involved me in several research projects, and provided guidance every step of the way on my way to getting a fellowship. Dr. Rosalie Elenitsas at the University of Pennsylvania has been a great mentor to me throughout my fellowship and into my current practice and has provided me with innumerable pearls of advice on dermpath and beyond. I try to emulate my mentors by striving to be accessible, straightforward, generous, and knowledgable.

6. What are some of the more pressing topics in Dermatopathology that interest you? What are your scholarly goals in this regard?

While the entire breadth of dermatopathology interests me greatly, current research projects include clinicopathologic and molecular genetic studies in cutaneous sarcomas and adnexal neoplasms.

7. How do you stay abreast of current issues in Dermatopathology? How do you ensure you are knowledgeable and engaged on the forefront of current issues and cutting edge practice?

I read articles from the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology and the American Journal of Dermatopathology to stay up to date on dermpath topics. I also seek out dermpath-related articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Modern Pathology, and the American Journal of Surgical Pathology.

8. Why did you choose VCUHS? What do you like about Richmond?

VCUHS offered an attractive position that enabled me to take a leadership position in dermpath within the institution, act as a nexus between multiple departments (in particular, dermatology and surgical oncology), and practice both dermatopathology and surgical pathology. Richmond has good weather, good food, kind people, and interesting history.

9. Tell us about your personal interests. Are there any parallels in your leisurely interests and Dermatopathology? What do they say about you?

My interests include music collecting, movies, singing, and guitar. I suppose my interest in cinematography (how films are framed, the color schemes and arrangements, the motion of figures) has some basis in my being a “visual person” as many (most?) pathologists are.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years in terms of personal and professional growth and practice?

I hope to continue to expand the dermatopathology service as the hospital grows. Establishing a dermatopathology fellowship would be a great long term goal.


For more information on Dr. Mochel, click here to visit his bio

Back to top

Welcome new faculty, Dr. Sadia Sayeed and Dr. Woon Chow

Dr. Sadia Sayeed

Dr. Sayeed earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology at University of Virginia.  She completed her medical education at Ross University School of Medicine in 2010.   After completing her AP/CP residency and Cytopathology fellowship training at VCUHS, Dr. Sayeed went on to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for a general surgical pathology fellowship with a special interest in GYN pathology.  As a full time Assistant Professor at VCUHS, she will use her expertise in ultrasound-guided FNA’s and GYN surgical pathology.  The Cytodiagnosis Center will greatly benefit from Dr. Sayeed’s performance of ultrasound-guided FNAs as well as working closely with cytotechnologists and trainees. She looks forward to being a valuable and collaborating member of the GYN oncology service as well as the School of Medicine.


Dr. Woon Chow

Dr. Chow spent 16 years pursuing undergraduate, graduate, medical, and graduate medical training at VCUHS. He obtained his dual undergraduate degrees in biomedical engineering and physics in 2003 and stayed to complete the combined M.D.-Ph.D. Program, earning his medical and graduate degrees in 2011. After completing his residency training in anatomic and clinical pathology, he left Richmond for Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue subspecialty training in neuropathology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Chow is delighted to be back at VCU as a full-time Assistant Professor in Pathology and Ophthalmology. In addition to his clinical and teaching responsibilities, he will also develop expertise in clinical and visual informatics to support clinical and basic research endeavors.