Intended for healthcare professionals


Paola Domizio: gifted pathology teacher and science communicator

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 03 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:k5400
  1. Chris Mahony
  1. London, UK
  1. chris.mahony{at}

Paola Domizio, the pathologist and professor who has died from breast cancer, may be the only person to have incorporated card tricks into her inaugural professorial lecture.

It was typical of the flair she brought to her teaching role at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London and to her ambassadorial and leadership positions with the Royal College of Pathologists. Having served as assistant registrar and then registrar for a total of nine years from 2001, Domizio deployed her communication skills and zest for the specialty as director of public engagement at the college from 2011.

Concerned that the public’s view of pathology was shaped by TV crime solving sleuths in pristine white coats, running between antiseptic laboratory and faintly exotic murder scenes, she wrote articles and took to television and radio herself to redress the balance. It was during this period that the college adopted the strapline “Pathology: the science behind the cure.” This was in the 1990s, and Domizio was among those to take on the discredited former doctor and antivaccine activist Andrew Wakefield, writing two articles challenging his research methods and conclusions around links between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and autism.

Communication skills

Domizio may also have been the first clinician to offer children who had undergone colectomies for bowel disease the opportunity to view and learn about the bowel resection tissue that had caused their distressing symptoms. She …

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