Michael J O’Brien, MD, MPH

Academic Title – Emeritus Professor

Education –

  • 1971 M.B., B.ch. (MD Equivalent), National University of Ireland , Galway .
  • 1992 M.P.H. (Quantitative Methods), Harvard University , School of Public Health

 Professional Qualifications and Diplomas –

  • Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists, ( UK ), 1977
  • American Board of Pathology, Certification in Anatomic Pathology, 1984
  • American Board of Pathology, Special Competency in Cytopathology, 1994

 Major Administrative Responsibilities:

  • 1996 –              Chief, Department of Anatomic Pathology, Boston Medical Center
  • 2003 – 06      Chairman, ad interim, Dept. of Pathology and Lab Medicine, BUSM
  • 1991 – 03       Vice-chairman for Anatomic Pathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), Boston, MA

Academic Appointments:

  • 1994-present   Professor of Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics), BUSPH
  • 1988-present   Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, BUSM
  • 1986-87           Lecturer on Pathology, University College, Dublin, Ireland
  • 1982-86           Associate Professor of Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine
  • 1980-               Faculty Member, Division of Graduate Medical & Dental Sciences, BU
  • 1980-84           Lecturer on Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • 1978-82           Assistant Professor of Pathology, BUSM
  • 1976-78           Teaching Fellow, BUSM 

Hospital Appointments:

  • 1996 –              Chief of Anatomic Pathology, Boston Medical Center
  • 1991-1996       Chief, Department of Anatomic Pathology, The University Hospital and Boston                             City Hospital 

Professional Societies, Honors and  Committees:

  • 1989-2012. Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (UK)
  • 1981-91      Consultant Pathologist, National Polyp Study
  • 1988-98      Advisory Board, World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Prevention of Colorectal Cancer
  • 1992            Consultant to Committee on Practice Guidelines, Management of Colon Polyps, American College of Gastroenterology
  • 1992            Committee on Guidelines for colorectal cancer screening and surveillance, WHO.
  • 1992-          Editorial Board, American Journal of Surgical Pathology
  • 1997            Chairman, Task Force on Digital Imaging, International Academy of Cytology
  • 2001- 06     Member, Surgical Pathology Committee, College of American Pathologists
  • 2003 –         Fellow, American College of Gastroenterology
  • 2004            Member, US National Taskforce on Colon Cancer
  • 2006-          Fellow, Faculty of Pathology (Hon), Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
  • 2006 -11     Consultant, Cancer Research Ireland, Irish Cancer Society
  • 2008            Member, International Validation Panel, Irish National Cancer Screening Service.
  • 2009            President, New England Society of Pathologists.
  • 2009            Medtronic Distinguished Alumnus Award, National University of Ireland, Galway.
  • 2010            Committee on Real Time Histological Methods in Clinical Practice. ASGE.
  • 2010            NIH Consensus Conference, Exploring Serrated Polyps of the Colon, Cleveland Clinic.

Research: Colorectal cancer and precursors: epidemiology, prevention, biomarkers & molecular pathology. 

Google Scholar Profile link 

Selected Publications (from a total of ~160) 

  1. O’Brien MJ, Winawer SJ, Gottlieb LS, Sternberg S, Zauber A, Diaz B, Dickersin GR, Ewing S, Geller S, Kasimian D, Komorowski R, Szporn A  and the National Polyp Study Workgroup.  The National Polyp Study: Determinants of High Grade Dysplasia in Colorectal Adenomas.   Gastroenterology, 98:371-379, 1990. PMID: 2403953
  2. Winawer S J, Zauber A J, Ho M N, O’Brien, M J, Gottlieb L S et al. Prevention of Colorectal Cancer by Colonoscopic Polypectomy. NEJM, 329:1977-81, 1993. PMID: 8247072
  3. O’Brien MJ, Yang S, Clebanoff JL, Mulcahy E, Farraye FA, Amorosino M, Swan N.Hyperplastic (Serrated) Polyps of the Colorectum: Relationship of CpG- Island Methylator Phenotype and K-ras Mutation to Location and Histologic Subtype. Am J Surg Pathol, 2004, 28:423-434. PMID: 15087661
  4. O’Brien MJ, Winawer SJ, Zauber AG, Bushey MT, Sternberg SS, Gottlieb LS, Bond JH, Waye JD, Schapiro M for the National Polyp Study Workgroup. Flat Adenomas in the National Polyp Study (NPS): is there an increased risk of high grade dysplasia initially or during surveillance? Clin Gastro Hepatol 2004 2(10): 905-911. PMID: 15476154
  5. O’Brien MJ, Yang S, Mack C, Xu H, Huang CS, Mulcahy E, Amorosino M, Farraye F. Comparison of Microsatellite Instability, CpG-Island Methylation Phenotype, BRAF and KRAS Status in Serrated Polyps and Traditional Adenomas Indicates Separate Pathways to Distinct Colorectal Carcinoma Endpoints. Am J Surg Pathol 2006;30:1491-1501. PMID: 17122504
  6. Rosenberg DW, Yang S, Pleau DC, Greenspan EJ, Stevens RG, Rajan TV, Heinen CD, Levine J, Zhou Y, O’Brien MJ. Mutations in BRAF and KRAS Differentially Distinguish Serrated versus Non-Serrated Hyperplastic Aberrant Crypt Foci in Humans. Cancer Res. 2007,67(8):3551-4. PMID: 17440063
  7. Hetzel JT, Huang CS, Coukos JA, Omstead K, Cerda SR, Yang S, O’Brien MJ, Farraye FA. Variation in the Detection of Serrated Polyps in an Average Risk Colorectal Cancer Screening Cohort. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Dec;105(12):2656-64 PMID: 20717107
  8. Zauber AG, Winawer SJ, O’Brien MJ, et al. Colonoscopic Polypectomy and Longterm Prevention of Colorectal Cancer Deaths. N Engl J Med.2012 Feb 23;366(8):687-96. PMID: 22356322
  9. Qazi TM, O’Brien MJ, Farraye FA, Gould RW, Chen CA, Schroy PC 3rd. Epidemiology of goblet cell and microvesicular hyperplastic polyps. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Dec;109(12):1922-32.PMID: 25350766.
  10. MJ O’Brien, Q Zhao, S Yang. Colorectal serrated pathway cancers and precursors. Histopathology 66 (1), 49-65, 2015. PMID: 25263173

    Contact Information

    • Email – carasdad@bu.edu