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Obituary: Brian T. Collins, chief of cytopathology, 52

Physician was noted educator, mentor and advocate for innovations in pathology

by Tamara BhandariJanuary 23, 2017

Brian T. Collins, MD, an associate professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Dec. 23, 2016, in his sleep at his home in Creve Coeur, Mo. He was 52.

Chief of the cytopathology section at the school, his work focused on studying and diagnosing diseases on the cellular level, with a particular emphasis on using fine needles to rapidly obtain samples for molecular and other diagnostic tests. He was a proponent of adopting new pathology technologies and techniques, such as using telecommunications to transfer pathology data between distant locations for the purpose of diagnosis, education and research.

“Brian was a pathologist’s pathologist, highly respected and much loved by our trainees and faculty members, many of whom counted him as a friend as well,” said Herbert “Skip” Virgin IV, MD, PhD, the head of the Department of Pathology and Immunology. “We will miss him.”

Collins earned his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1986 and his medical degree in 1988, both from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He completed his pathology residency at Indiana University before returning to St. Louis, his hometown, in 1995 to join St. Louis University, where he stayed until 2007. After a stint at the University of Utah, he joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in 2010. In addition to serving as chief of the cytopathology section, he was the cytopathology fellowship program director at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and medical director of the cytotechnology program at St. Louis University.

Collins is survived by his wife, Virginia “Gini” Collins; children, Virginia A. “Gini”, Laura, John, Dianne and Maria Collins; parents, Steven and Virginia Collins; and brother, Scott Collins.

A funeral Mass was held Dec. 29 at Incarnate Word Church in Chesterfield, Mo.

Contributions in his memory may be made to De Smet Jesuit High School or Our Lady’s Inn.