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Mark D. Zarella, Ph.D.

Mark D. Zarella, Ph.D.

Headshot of Mark D. Zarella
  • Deputy Director, Division of Informatics
  • Assistant Professor of Pathology

Research Interests

Digital Pathology; Computational Pathology; Development and Deployment of Digital Pathology and AI more


Dr. Zarella’s focus is in the deployment of digital pathology in clinical practice and the development and analysis of novel techniques in imaging, diagnostics, and artificial intelligence.  His work relies on imaging modalities such as whole-slide imaging and optical coherence tomography (OCT) as well as computational approaches such as deep learning, image processing, explainable AI, and visual and cognitive analytics.

He received his undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of Massachusetts and PhD in Neuroscience at the State University of New York in 2011.  His research focus at SUNY was on cortical networks of the visual system, of which imaging and computation were important components. He carries that expertise forward to digital pathology, inspired heavily by human vision and methods in vision research to develop (and explain) computer vision and decision networks.

Dr. Zarella joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2020. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Zarella was the Technical Director of Pathology Imaging & Informatics at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Dr. Zarella serves as a member of the board of directors of the Digital Pathology Association (DPA), a member of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Digital and Computational Pathology Committee, and has contributed to several white papers on the topics of whole-slide imaging and computational pathology. more


  • Deputy Director, Division of Informatics
  • Director, Digital Pathology
  • Assistant Professor of Pathology
  • Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Departments / Divisions



  • Ph.D.; State University of New York Upstate Medical University College of Medicine (New York) (2010)
  • B.S.; University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth) (2002)

Research & Publications

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Abels E, Pantanowitz L, Aeffner F, Zarella MD, van der Laak J, Bui M, Venkata N, Parwani A, Gibbs J, Agosto-Arroyo E, Beck A, Kozlowski C. Computational pathology definitions, best practices, and recommendations for regulatory guidance: a white paper from the Digital Pathology Association. J Pathol. 249(3):286-294. 2019.

Aeffner, F, Zarella, MD, Buchbinder, NA, Bui, MM, Goodman, MR, Hartman, DJ, Lujan, GM, Molani, MA, Parwani, AV, Lillard, K, Turner, OC, Vemuri, VNP, Yuil-Valdes, AG, Bowman, DS. Introduction to digital image analysis in whole-slide imaging: a white paper from the Digital Pathology Association. J Pathol Inform. 2019;10(1). 

Zarella, MD, Bowman, DS, Aeffner, F, Farahani, N, Xthona, A, Absar, F, Parwani AV, Bui, MM, Hartman, DJ. A practical guide to whole-slide imaging: a white paper from the Digital Pathology Association. Arch Pathol Lab Med 143(2):222-234. 2019.

Zarella MD, Yeoh C, Breen DE, Garcia FU. An alternative image representation for the reduced impact of H&E staining variability. PLoS One. 12(3): e0174489. 2017.

Zarella MD, Ts’o DY. Contextual modulation revealed by optical imaging exhibits figural asymmetry in macaque V1 and V2. Eye and Brain. 2017(9):1-12. 2017.

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