Melissa P. Upton M.D.

Melissa P. Upton M.D.
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  • English


  • Colorectal Care
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Medical Oncology
  • Pathology


Dr. Melissa Upton is a pathologist and professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington; she also directs the Pathology Residency Training Program and serves as director of the Rodger C. Haggitt Gastrointestinal and Hepatic Pathology Service. In addition to subspecialty practice in the areas of gastrointestinal, liver, and pancreatic pathology, Dr. Upton also participates in Intraoperative Consultations and in the Autopsy Service. She is an expert in GI, liver and pancreatic pathology.

Her research accomplishments are extensive and involve the development of histologic predictors of tumors such as squamous cell, renal cell, colorectal, esophageal and hepatocellular carcinoma. During residency and fellowship training, she performed research in pancreatic carcinogenesis, in pediatric tumors and in pulmonary development, to define protein and genetic markers of differentiation and neoplastic growth. Her research interests in these areas have continued since the completion of her fellowship experiences, with current ongoing research efforts in the areas of carcinoma of the head and neck, colonic and renal neoplasia, liver disease and Barrett's esophagus, in addition to collaborative efforts with inventors and bioengineers to improve techniques in endoscopic diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Upton received her bachelor's degree from University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, and her M.D. from Northwestern University. She completed residency training in anatomic pathology at Northwestern University, followed by clinical and research fellowship training at the Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She also trained as a Foreign Guest Research Fellow at the National Cancer Center Institute, in Tokyo, Japan, in immunohistochemistry and molecular pathology. Following her fellowship training, she served on the faculties of Tufts University and the New England Medical Center, Boston University and the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital, and Harvard University, with an appointment at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

After 11 years at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Upton joined the UW faculty in 2002. She previously served as the associate director of anatomic pathology and the director of the GI and Hepatic Pathology Fellowship before her current responsibilities.

Dr. Upton serves as secretary and member of the board of directors of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and on the Permanent Scientific Committee of OESO (World Organization for Specialized Studies on Diseases of the Esophagus). She is also a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and a member of the U.S.-Canadian Academy of Pathology. She is a past president of the Pacific Northwest Society of Pathologists and has been recognized as a Top Doctor by Seattle Magazine.

Patient Care Philosophy

As a pathologist, I am "behind the scenes" for many patients, but I have a passion to provide the highest possible care to them. I work on multidisciplinary teams with other health care providers in UW Medicine to provide timely diagnoses that enhance both treatment choices and quality of care. Working at UW Medicine also allows me to ask questions that lead to investigation to improve our understanding of disease processes and to teach young doctors. Patient care, research and education are all essential elements to the UW mission and to my own engagement as a physician and educator.

Clinical Interests

Clinical research in cancers of the esophagus, pancreas and colon, working with bioengineers to improve endoscopic techniques and diagnosis and teaching young physicians so that they will be advancing care in the future.

Research Interests

Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal adenocarcinoma, improved endoscopes, colonic polyps and cancer.


Institution Credential Year
Northwestern Univ. Medical School Medical education 1978
Northwestern University Medical School Residency
Northwestern University SOM Internship
Children's Hospital of Boston Residency
Children's Hospital of Boston Fellowship
National Cancer Research Institute Fellowship
Degree Institution Year
MD Northwestern Univ. Medical School 1978

Board Certifications

Certification Specialty Year
American Board of Pathology Anatomic Pathology 1983
American Board of Pathology Cytopathology 1993