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Lawrence M. Roth, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, passed away on September 4, 2023, at the age of 87.

Remembering Lawrence Roth, MD

Photo of Dr. Larry Roth, wearing a fedora, looking at the camera while sitting next to an laboratory instrument

Lawrence M. Roth, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, passed away on September 4, 2023, at the age of 87.

An expert in gynecologic pathology, Dr. Roth was recruited to IU School of Medicine from the faculty of Tulane University to serve as director of surgical pathology, a position he held from 1971 until his retirement from IU School of Medicine in 2001.

A 1957 graduate of Vanderbilt University, Dr. Roth received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1960. After completing his residency in anatomical pathology at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis in 1964, he spent a year as a senior research trainee through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences in the Hormone Laboratory at the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. While at the institute, he focused on steroid biochemistry.

Dr. Roth served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1967 at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., and the 249th General Hospital in a U.S. Army base near Tokyo as captain and chief of the pathology service. He returned to residency in clinical pathology at the San Francisco Medical Center before his teaching appointment as assistant professor of pathology at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1968.

He served on the editorial boards of journals such as the American Journal of Surgical Pathology, American Journal of Clinical Pathology, International Journal of Gynecologic Pathology, Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology, Human Pathology, and Endocrine Pathology. He became a Life Fellow of the College of American Pathologists in 2017, a member of the IU School of Medicine Dean’s Council in 2020 and served as board member of the J.R. Ritchey Society at IU School of Medicine. His academic record includes nearly 200 published articles and 22 book chapters.

Dr. Lawrence Roth looking into a laboratory instrument

Dr. Roth remained active in research and scholarly activities with his colleagues in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine well after he had reached Professor Emeritus status and in the months preceding his death. In addition, he could be found attending grand rounds and departmental social engagements; he loved to socialize over food with his colleagues. Following his retirement, Dr. Roth created the Lawrence M. Roth Professor of Pathology endowed professorship, which the department maintains in his honor.

In an invited article for Human Pathology from 2011, “On Being a Pathologist—Passing on the Torch of Knowledge” (Hum Pathol. 2012 Feb;43[2]:165-71), Dr. Roth reflected on his pathway into the field and provided an amazing glimpse into his life, which included having a father who was an astrophysicist who worked on the Manhattan Project. As becomes clear in the article, Dr. Roth was guided by the important tenets of fairness, utmost respect for everyone—including students, technicians and administrators—and the “good example of diligence.” Diagnostic service always remained his first priority.

Services for Dr. Roth will be held on Friday, September 8, at 11 am at the Aaron-Ruben-Nelson Funeral Home, 11411 N. Michigan Road, in Zionsville, Indiana. 

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