Division of


Ty W. Abel, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Director of Neuropathology

- Contact Information-

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Department of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology, 3rd Fl
1161 21st Ave. S, C-3321 MCN
Nashville, TN 37232-5310

Office:  MCN U-2216A
Phone: 615-322-3998
Email: ty.w.abel@vanderbilt.edu

What is Neuropathology? 

Neuropathology is the study of diseases of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Neuropathologists diagnose and study samples of the nervous system taken both at surgery and in the course of a post mortem evaluation.  Like other organs, the brain and spinal cord develop tumors, are affected by infectious processes such as viruses and bacteria, and can develop a whole host of   disorders including disorders which are unique to the nervous system such as neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease.  Neuropathology is multidisciplinary field which relies heavily upon interactions with Neuroradiologists, Neurologists, and Neurosurgeons.  Individual patients are evaluated in a clinicopathological format where evaluation of radiologic studies such as MRI's and clinical examinations are critical to the final diagnoses. 

Experimental neuropathology also covers a broad range of topics including neoplastic, inflammatory, genetic, and neurodegenerative disorders. Neuropathological research can be primarily basic science research such as protein biochemistry and molecular genetics or it can entail case studies which examine individual patients or groups of patients with similar abnormalities.  The major focus of much of experimental neuropathology is to determine the biological mechanisms of neurologic disease, in order to develop strategies to prevent or treat them.