Bijal A. Parikh, MD, PhD
DEPARTMENT OF PATHOLOGY & IMMUNOLOGY
Assistant Professor of Pathology and Immunology
2023 Dean’s Impact Award Recipient
The Department of Pathology and Immunology honors Neil W. Anderson, MD, Carey-Ann D. Burnham, PhD, and Bijal A. Parikh, MD, PhD, for their leadership in clinical virology testing during the pandemic. Anderson, medical director, Molecular Infectious Disease Laboratory; Burnham, medical director, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Microbiology Laboratory; and Parikh, medical director, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, were tasked with the unprecedented challenge of implementing clinical testing at Barnes-Jewish. Despite the announcement of a public health emergency on Feb. 4, 2020, it was not until Feb. 29 that the federal government allowed laboratories to implement in-house testing. Still, raw materials were in short supply, so Anderson, Burnham and Parikh utilized professional connections to obtain them. They developed the first clinical diagnostic COVID-19 test to be used at Barnes-Jewish by March 16, 2020. This implementation was rapid and complex, requiring collaboration and review by the FDA, and though it was a tremendous accomplishment, the demands placed on the testing team continued to intensify, and supply shortages and the need for large scale testing remained. Throughout 2020, the laboratories implemented seven different COVID-19 tests, multiple testing workflows, and processes for pooling samples to increase throughput, ultimately allowing the institution to deliver on the COVID-19 testing demands throughout the pandemic. At its peak, the laboratories performed over 2,000 tests per day. Anderson, Burnham and Parikh also used this opportunity to enhance the educational mission of the Department of Pathology and Immunology, collectively authoring peer-reviewed articles and engaging residents and fellows to aid projects.