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Anatomic Pathology

The HRLMP pathology laboratories comprise one of the largest group of pathologists in the country. Working in collaboration with McMaster University, our pathologists provide clinical services for two hospital corporations and four acute care sites.

Our pathologists serve a community of over 1.5 million, providing care across a wide area that includes Hamilton, Niagara, Halton, Simcoe and Guelph.

As part of an Academic Health Science Centre, collaboration and support for cases is available from other branches of laboratory medicine, including in-house consultation from professionals in diverse areas such as neuropathology, cardiovascular, pediatric and other sub-specialty pathologists.


The Cytopathology Laboratory provides microscopic analysis of cells removed from the body using a variety of different techniques such as fine needle aspiration. Body fluids such as urine and sputum are also collected and analyzed. This laboratory also examines specimens that are collected at the time of bronchoscopy, such as bronchial washing and bronchial brushing.

Cytopathology’s major focus for many years has been the examination of pap smears for cervical cancer, one of the most successful screening programs in medical history.

The Cytopathology Laboratory is located at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The staff in this laboratory consists of anatomical pathologists, medical laboratory technologists, cytotechnologists, and medical laboratory assistants.

The Cytopathology Laboratory provides tertiary care and deals with a complex group of patients. It is also a teaching facility, and it is one of five training sites in Ontario for cytopathology technology students.


The primary focus of the Forensics Laboratory is the investigation of deaths that result from criminal activity or unnatural events.  Such investigations are ordered by a coroner.

The Forensics Laboratory is located at the Hamilton General Hospital. The team is made up of forensic pathologists and morgue technicians. Experts from the Forensics Laboratory are often called upon by the Criminal Justice system to testify for either the Crown or the defence.

They rely on macroscopic (gross) and microscopic observations. Other forensic testing includes molecular tests, chemical analysis for drugs, toxicology, metabolic and ultra structural tests.


The Immunohistochemistry (IHC) Laboratory at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is a leading edge IHC laboratory.

The focus of the Immunohistochemistry Laboratory is a reliable specialized staining method which targets specific proteins or antigens that are present in certain types of cells. Medical Laboratory Technologists look for targets called antibodies against these proteins or antigens. Over 200 cellular antibodies are available.

IHC is used in conjunction with the microscopic morphologic interpretation by the pathologists; it provides ancillary information that gives a better picture of the makeup of cells. The pathologist uses the IHC information together with the microscopic visual to render a diagnosis useful for treatment. IHC is mainly used for cancer identification and characterization.

A molecular pathology laboratory has recently been established for testing breast and other tumours. This laboratory is located at St. Joseph’s Healthcare. The IHC laboratory team includes a technical specialist, medical laboratory technologists, and medical laboratory assistants. All IHC testing is reviewed and reported by a pathologist.

Surgical Pathology

The primary focus of the Surgical Pathology Laboratory is the examination of tissues. Specimens are received from a variety of sources: hospital clinics for small biopsies such as skin, core biopsies for the diagnosis of breast cancer, and the operating room where tumours are removed.

Due to the advancement in imaging technology, a high number of complex specimens and small tumours are found. Core biopsies are used to help diagnose lumps and bumps found at mammograms or during diagnostic imaging. Most specimens removed from the human body during surgery are sent to pathology for examination.

Specimens received are examined macroscopically (gross analysis) by the Pathologist Assistant or a Pathologist. These specimens are examined and then further processed as required under the direct supervision of a pathologist.

Gross examination of tissue is completed at all four sites: Juravinski Hospital, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, McMaster University Medical Centre, and Hamilton General Hospital. The surgical pathology team consists of medical laboratory technologists, medical laboratory assistants, a technical specialist, pathologist’s assistants, and pathologists.

This laboratory uniquely has a frozen section intra-operative consultation service which is available 24/7 for all four sites.  A pathologist is on call 24/7.

We are a designated training centre for postgraduate trainees (residents) in Anatomical and General Pathology for McMaster University.



Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre
Monday to Friday, 0800 – 1600
905-527-4322 x42043


St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
Monday to Friday, 0800 – 1600
Laboratory: 905-522-1155 x33626
Pathologist: 905-522-1155 x36012

Electron Microscopy

McMaster Children’s Hospital
Monday to Friday, 0830 – 1630
905-525-9140 x22496


Hamilton General Hospital
Monday to Friday, 0800 – 1700
905-527-4322 x46145


Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre
Monday to Friday, 0800 – 1700
905-527-4322 x42044


McMaster Children’s Hospital
Monday to Friday, 0700 – 1700
905-521-2100 x76419
Morgue: x76325


St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
Monday to Friday, 0800 – 1630
905-522-1155 x36012