USF Health Honors & Awards

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Dr. Santo Nicosia thanked for his leadership, pioneering breakthroughs in pathology

Colleagues from USF Health and the community turned out in force to thank Santo Nicosia, MD, for his pioneering career and chairmanship of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.

Dr. Nicosia, who is retiring as Department chair, was honored at a reception Thursday, Nov. 1, graciously taking the spotlight as dozens shared fond memories of his nearly three decades at USF and 17 years as chair of Pathology.

Santo Nicosia, Pathology
                                                       Dr. Santo Nicosia

Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, pointed to Dr. Nicosia’s national and international reputation as a researcher and clinician,  adding that faculty leaders like Dr. Nicosia “define the  importance of an academic medical center by adding a different level of expertise to health care in the community.”

Jane Messina, MD, associate professor in the USF Departments of Pathology and Cell Biology and Dermatology, has known Dr. Nicosia since she was a USF medical student.  “Dr. Nicosia has  shown us all what a chair should be,” Dr. Messina said. “He’s been a wonderful role model, mentor and beacon of scientific knowledge to all of us.”

Stephen Klasko, Santo Nicosia, pathology, reception

Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of USF Health and dean of Morsani College of Medicine,
presented Dr. Nicosia
with a specially-designed photo book.

Under Dr. Nicosia’s leadership, the Department built a robust Ovarian Epithelial Cancer Pathobiology Program, which attracts millions of dollars in federal funding for research seeking new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic targets for the most deadly gynecological cancer.

In addition, the Department was ranked Top 25 in the nation in 2008 by the U.S. and Canadian Academy of Pathology for first-authored scientific abstracts.

Dr. Nicosia, who is a USF Distinguished University Professor, joined USF in 1984 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He was named chair of the USF Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, as well as chair of Pathology at Moffitt Cancer Center, in 1985.


L to R: Dr. Charles Cox, Joy McCann Foundation Endowed Professor of Surgery at USF Health;
Dr. Jeno Szakos, founding chair of Pathology at Moffitt Cancer Center; and Dr. Nicosia’s daughters Lydia Brassington and Nicole Esposito; with Dr. Nicosia.

Known for pioneering work in ovarian cancer, as well as intra-operative diagnosis and staging of sentinel nodes, Dr. Nicosia will continue as a member of the faculty.  He plans to focus on his research and education interests, pursuing the creativity and excellence that have been hallmarks of his career.

“I’m looking forward to challenges of a different nature in this next phase of my life,” he said.  

Click here for Powerpoint of Dr. Nicosia, including photos and articles.

Click here to for a bio of Dr. Nicosia.

Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications