There is no substitute for experience. And Michael Kashgarian, M.D., dubbed a renaissance man for the magnitude and diversity of his work, is living proof of this.
Using more than 50 years to study diseases and cancers like mesothelioma, Kashgarian became one of the world’s most-respected research scientists. Now a professor emeritus of pathology as well as a senior research scientist, Kashgarian remains a part of the work he completed at Yale, serving as the pioneer that others are following.
Fast Fact: In addition to English, Dr. Kashgarian is fluent in Armenian, French and German.
Now retired, he is still certified by the Anatomic & Clinical Pathology Board and the Medicolegal Pathology, and he is considered an authority in diagnosing mesothelioma patients. This diagnosis helps determine the legal standing of patients fighting for financial compensation to cover disease expenses.
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He also conducted research on mesothelioma, providing explanations to why treatments that were effective for some cancers did not seem to work for people with mesothelioma.
Kashgarian has published articles in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Cytoskeleton, Immunity, the Journal of Immunology, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta and others.
Among the areas of his research were the pathologies of thoracic cancers, including mesothelioma. His pathology work helped the medical community find new surgery techniques, new ways to give radiation therapy and new drugs to use in combination with radiation therapy. The developments in all those areas were applied to a number of cancer treatments.
In addition to gathering research, Kashgarian led a group of doctors searching for records of the first use of intravenous chemotherapy for cancer, which occurred in 1942 at Yale School of Medicine. Finding this historical information helped to credit the original researchers who developed chemotherapy during preparations for chemical warfare.
Kashgarian also helped build a diagnostic renal pathology and electron microscopy laboratory at Yale. That lab is named for him. A colleague of 30 years, Jon Morrow, Ph.D., M. D., described his passion for understanding renal disease as inspiring. Morrow went on to say that Kashgarian “profoundly affected the practice of physiology.”
Kashgarian influenced the work and development of other colleagues as well. The 2002 president of the American Society of Nephrology, Norman Siegel, commended Kashgarian for his mentorship. Siegel said Kashgarian pushed him to continue gathering more experience, even after early experiments fail.
The Renal Pathology Society awarded Kashgarian with the Jacob Churg Award in 2004 for his contributions to the field of nephropathology. The award is named after a pathologist who conducted studies linking asbestos exposure to mesothelioma. Kashgarian was the eighth recipient of the award, which comes with a monetary gift from Barnert Hospital.
In 2010, Kashgarian was the centerpiece of a Yale medical symposium honoring his decades of wide-ranging work and the roles he took on as clinician, investigator and teacher.
In recent years, Kashgarian has contributed to research that focuses on the genetic composition of mesothelioma.
Kashgarian, editor in chief of Yale Medicine, maintains hospital affiliations with Yale the VA Connecticut Health Care System. He plans to finish his research grants.
Kashgarian’s feature publications have discussed relevant issues in immunology and tissue damage after cancer treatment.
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