Kathleen Gabrielson, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Associate Professor



Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
North Carolina State Univ, Raleigh, NC
Veterinary Medicine

Postdoctoral Fellowship
The Johns Hopkins Univ, Baltimore, MD
Comparative Veterinary Pathology

Doctor of Philosophy
The Johns Hopkins Univ Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore MD
Molecular Toxicology

Board Certification
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists, Anatomic Pathology


Dr. Kathleen Gabrielson is an associate professor of the departments of Molecular and Comparative pathobiology, Oncology and Pathology in the School of Medicine. In the Bloomberg School of Public Health, she has an appointment in the department of Environmental Health Engineering.

Gabrielson lab research: Her research efforts focus on improving the efficacy of cancer therapies while reducing off-target toxicity. Her training in veterinary medicine has enabled her to refine and develop a number of animal models, most recently a rat syngeneic and orthotopic osteosarcoma model, focusing on the (1) proteomics of metastasis and (2) in vivo imaging/ machine learning methods to identify rats that will develop lung metastasis. Additionally, in this model, after treatment and limb amputation to remove the primary tumor, rats live much longer and are evaluated for up to a year to detect metastasis or delayed heart toxicity that occurs with chemotherapy doxorubicin, a treatment for patients with osteosarcoma. Her lab has isolated cardiomyocytes from rats treated with doxorubicin and discovered a distinctive DNA methylation signature that only occurs in rats treated with doxorubicin who develop heart toxicity. Currently, the lab is developing assays to detect this specific DNA in the serum of rats, a potential biomarker assay to predict future heart failure. These methods will next be applied to cancer patients who receive doxorubicin. Dr Gabrielson follows habituated rats serially with awake echocardiography to document the decline of heart function post- doxorubicin cancer therapy.

Dr. Gabrielson also has a research focus on signal transduction in the heart and has constructed transgenic mice with cardiomyocyte specific expression of ErbB2, to better understand the role of this tyrosine kinase in the heart. Her studies have been funded by National Institute of Health, American Heart Association and Department of Defense.

Collaborative Research: Dr Gabrielson’s expertise includes animal model development, toxicology, ultrasound and comparative pathology correlation with multiple methods of in vivo imaging. Important in scientific rigor and reproducibility, Dr. Gabrielson has internationally recognized expertise in correlating/validating gross and histopathology to small animal in vivo imaging including ultrasound, magnetic resonance, optical and nuclear imaging. Examples of this expertise are found in her invited talks, symposia organized, book chapters, review articles and original research publications. Within Johns Hopkins University community, she has collaborated extensively using her expertise with principle investigators across 17 different departments at Johns Hopkins in the School of Medicine including Department of Medicine, Neurology, Radiology, Oncology, Pathology, Surgery, Anesthesiology, Neurosurgery,  Pediatrics, Dermatology, Cell Biology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering and at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, departments include, MMI and Environmental Health Engineering, all productive collaborations resulting in peer-reviewed publications and successful grant submissions.

Education: Dr. Gabrielson is a comparative pathologist who has not only focused on research but who has also focused on education in a number of areas. Dr. Gabrielson’s pathology training at Johns Hopkins University involved 3 years of comparative pathology training and 3 months of human pathology training through her service in the human autopsy rotation at Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology. From 2008 to 2020, in the School of Medicine, within the Department of Pathology, she directed and organized a human pathology course for (three programs of graduate students) called (Mechanism of Disease) taught in an organ system approach. As a toxicologist, for education in the School of Public Health, from 2002 to 2015, she developed a course and directed this course called (Toxicological Pathology). This class was focused on both human and animal toxicity examples and was taught in an organ systems approach. Dr. Gabrielson has worked with laboratories at FDA regarding educational and research activities since 2015 regarding toxicological pathology expertise. Additionally, regarding pathology and toxicology education, Dr. Gabrielson has lead initiatives with the Society of Toxicology, ACVP, STP and National Academy of Medicine committees and working groups.

Clinical service focus expertise. Veterinary pathologists at JHU are responsible for the health and welfare of the animals at Johns Hopkins University at all campuses. Dr. Gabrielson, along with the other four veterinary pathologists meet as a team on Tuesday and Fridays and review the cases of animals that are weekly necropsied. They review the gross pathology, clinical pathology, cytology and any other diagnostic tests performed on the animals. The lab animal or pathology residents and post-doctoral fellows present these cases to the group and are assisted in formulating preliminary and final diagnoses that inform the PIs laboratories regarding the health of these animals and the productivity of the animal model. After necropsies, the residents trim the tissues for histopathology processing and then the pathologist and the trainee review all the slides from each case in a (one to one) teaching session at the multi-headed microscope. This effort is absolutely necessary for ongoing research at Johns Hopkins regarding governmental policies, regulations and the well-being of animals. Our recommendations assist numerous laboratories across multiple campuses with medical research using animal models. Approximately fifty percentage of all Principle investigators at JHU use animal models. Weekly slide conferences done by Dr. Gabrielson and the other participants assist pathology trainees with the study of veterinary pathology for board certification preparation in a diverse group of species.