ASCP Recognizes Top Six 40 Under Forty Honorees for Contributions to Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

By Susan Montgomery - October 01, 2021

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Forty ASCP members under the age of 40 are being recognized for their achievements and leadership qualities that are making an impact on pathology and laboratory medicine. This year’s ASCP 40 Under Forty honorees join 200 alumni of this prestigious recognition program. And like these alums, they will continue to advance into even more prominent positions and accomplishments in the coming years.

From this year’s group, the Top Six 40 Under Forty honorees were selected based on public voting and committee selection. They include two laboratory professionals, two pathologists, and two pathologists in training. Each of the six will receive free registration to attend the ASCP 2021 Annual Meeting in Boston, a $1,000 stipend toward airfare and lodging, and recognition at the Annual Meeting.

Here is a look at this year's Top Six honorees:


Nicole R. Jackson, MD, MPH, FASCP, is an Associate Medical Examiner in Seattle and is board-certified in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology. She completed her pathology residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and her forensic pathology fellowship at the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Duke University and graduated from Tulane University’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Through ASCP, Dr. Jackson volunteers her time as a mentor for younger members. A member of the National Association of Medical Examiners and the National Medical Association, she is also a founding board member of the Society of Black Pathologists. Dr. Jackson enjoys participating in community outreach, focusing on mental health issues, and increasing the visibility of forensic pathologists as first-responders to threats on the nation’s life expectancy. She is interested in studying deaths in vulnerable populations and ways to reduce the number of preventable deaths.

"To be selected in the Top Six is humbling, especially as my cohort is incredibly inspiring and accomplished,” Dr. Jackson said. “As someone very early in their career, I hope this recognition will lend legitimacy to some unconventional ideas I have for my field, foster new connections to help bolster recruitment into our field, and better position us as advocates for change in our communities. I hope to inspire those in training who come from less traditional backgrounds or who are underrepresented in medicine."

Kurt Schaberg, MD, FASCP, is an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, where he signs out primarily gastrointestinal surgical pathology and cytology. He also serves as the associate residency program director at UC Davis. He has a very strong interest in medical education. During the pandemic, one of his quarantine hobbies has been creating a pathology teaching website, “Kurt’s Notes” (, which has gained an international following and has had over 29,000 individual users from over 147 countries.

“It is a tremendous honor to be named one of the top ASCP 40 under Forty. I’m sincerely humbled by the recognition and also the growing worldwide audience my teaching notes, “Kurt’s Notes,” has garnered,” he said.

Laboratory Professionals

Allison Chambliss, PhD, DABCC, FAACC, is an assistant professor of Clinical Pathology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She is the section director of Clinical Chemistry and Point-of-Care Testing in the clinical laboratories of the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, she majored in chemical engineering at Virginia Tech. She received her doctoral degree from Johns Hopkins University, where she studied the actin cytoskeleton and its roles in cell signaling and cancer metastasis. She transitioned to clinical chemistry, with a post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Today, she balances clinical service, teaching and national committee work in her field. Dr. Chambliss has research interests in sepsis biomarkers and laboratory stewardship initiatives.

Lieutenant Ara Gutierrez, MLS(ASCP)CM, was born in Olongapo City, Philippines in 1988, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Ateneo de Manila University in 2009. In 2010, she emigrated to the United States and reported to Navy Basic Training at Recruit Training Command Chicago. She then attended Hospital Corpsman School and was assigned to Laboratory Technician School in June 2011. She went on to serve as a laboratory technician while stationed at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from Thomas Edison State University in 2015. She was commissioned in 2016 as an active duty Medical Technologist in the U.S. Navy. Lieutenant Gutierrez now serves as technical supervisor of the Laboratory Department at U.S. Navy Medicine and Readiness Training Command Yokosuka, Japan.

"It is truly an honor to be among other trailblazing laboratory professionals as they forge the path in bringing laboratory medicine and pathology to the forefront of patient care,” LT Gutierrez said. “As the only female active duty military service member on this list, it means that what we do matters. I am proud to represent the immigrants, mothers, women and military personnel in the laboratory profession.”

Pathology Trainees

Aadil Ahmed, MD, FASCP, is an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He grew up in Pakistan and moved to the United States after graduating from medical school. Dr. Ahmed completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in academic medicine at Johns Hopkins University, followed by a residency in combined anatomic pathology and clinical pathology program at Loyola University Chicago and subspecialty fellowships in hematopathology and dermatopathology. His personal and professional experiences in different regions of the United States have provided him a heightened sense of openness to new experiences. He hopes to contribute his voice for social advocacy and healthcare equity.

“This honor serves as a trust of my colleagues in me. It also motivates me to stay engaged in rebranding the field and inspire the younger generation, ultimately helping build a bright future for our profession,” he said.

Brian Cox, MD, MAS, is a GI/Liver fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Cox is passionate about pathology education, engagement, and academia. His leadership skills have twice been recognized by ASCP/USCAP and he was awarded leadership scholarships in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, he co-authored/illustrated a non-neoplastic hematopathology book and became Board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. Dr. Cox contributes to the ABP’s Resident Advisory Committee and is an ASCP Ambassador. He has expertise in clinical research and statistics; in last two years, his collaborative efforts helped publish seven manuscripts and fourteen abstracts. After completing his fellowship, Dr. Cox hopes to work as a GI/Liver pathologist and raise his daughter, Aubrey.

“It is truly an honor to be nominated as one of ASCP’s Top 40 under 40,” he said. “I am humbled and grateful to be considered among so many outstanding individuals. To be a Top 6 Finalist is a validation of years of hard work and motivation to work harder. I will strive to similarly support the next generation of talented pathologists and laboratory professionals through education, outreach, and mentorship.”

ASCP's 40 Under Forty program made its debut in 2014 and has garnered attention from around the globe. The 40 Under Forty recognition has also made a powerful impact on all of its honorees, ranging from pronounced recognition within their organizations to exciting media attention. To see all of the honorees’ bios, visit



Susan Montgomery

ASCP communications writer