About Drucilla Roberts, MD

Dr. Roberts's area of expertise and interest is in perinatal pathology - surgical and autopsy pathology.  She has a special interest in understanding the biology and clinical significance of pathologic findings. She has been invited to participate in the NICHD’s “white paper” meetings for the Human Placental Project in 2014 and 2015. She works on perinatal projects focusing on the placenta both in the US and internationally.  She is active in global health working in teaching and practice (anatomic pathology and laboratory services) in sub-Saharan Africa and has projects including placental malaria, stillbirths, and autopsy pathology in resource-poor settings. She directed the first ever Harvard Medical School CME course in Sub-Saharan Africa titled "The contribution of anatomic pathology to the health of women and children" with faculty from the USA, South Africa, and Ethiopia in 2011 and in Nigeria in 2013. In 2012 she participated in the Multidisciplinary Cancer Management Course (MCMC), in Eldoret, Kenya, presented by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in partnership with ASCP and the Academic Model for the Provision of Access to Health Care (AMPATH). Dr. Roberts is interested in highlighting the improvements pathologists can make for all patients. Her aim is to raise awareness of issues that can lead to improvements in pathology especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Mass General Pathology
55 Fruit St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-643-0800

Medical Education

  • MD, Harvard Medical School/Health Sciences and Technology Division
  • Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Harvard Medical School Training Program in Medical Genetics

American Board Certifications

  • Anatomic Pathology, American Board of Pathology

Accepted Insurance Plans

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My clinical interests are focused on perinatal pathology and the biology of histopathologic findings. I aim to understand the influences of maternal and fetal pathology on the placenta in order to predict neonatal outcome. I am investigating stillbirth, as the cause of death in up to 80% of third trimester stillbirths is not understood.

I am involved in providing pathology services and education to the developing world, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Current studies include looking at placental sequestration of malaria, effects of biomass on placental development via cooking fuels, alcohol exposure effects on the placenta, and causes of stillbirth. I am involved with humanitarian efforts that include building, equipping, and sustaining a clinical laboratory with fine needle aspiration services in Adua, Ethiopia. In 2011, I directed the first Harvard CME Pathology course in Sub-Saharan Africa titled "The contribution of anatomic pathology to the health of women and children", and hope to offer more in African countries. Another goal is to offer satellite availability for African pathologists to attend courses from our department in the United States. For more information about research concepts, co-authors, and to see a timeline, visit Dr. Robert's profile at the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center.


  • Salafia DM, Shah RG, Misra DP, Straughen JK, Roberts DJ, Troxler L, Morgan SP, Eucker B, Thorp JM. Chorionic vascular "fit" in the human placenta: Relationship to gestational age and birth weight. Placenta 2017 (under review).

    Luo J, Abaci Turk E, Bibbo C, Gagoski G, Roberts DJ, Vangel M, Tempany-Afdhal CM, Estroff J, Palanisamy A, Barth WH, Zera C, Malpica N, Golland P, Adalsteinsson E, Robinson JN, Grant PE. In Vivo quantification of placental insufficiency by BOLD MRI: A human study, Scientific Reports (in press).

    Salafia D, Dygulska B, Perez-Avilan G, Schmitt R, Roberts DJ, Ma S, Misra D, Dunn AD, Ngu S,  Inany H, Khawar N, Shah G, Narula P, Lederman S. The relationship between birth and placental weights changes with placental size. Early Human Development (in press).

    McPherson E, Nestoridi E, Heinke D, Roberts DJ, Fretts, R, Yazdy M, Lin AE. Alternatives to autopsy for fetal and early neonatal (perinatal) deaths: Insights from the Wisconsin stillbirth service program. Birth Defects Research (submitted).

    Wilson ML, Sayed S, Ayers S, Berney D, Eslan A, Guarner J, Lester S, Masia R, Moloo Z, Mutuku A, Roberts DJ, Stall J. Improving anatomic pathology in sub-Saharan Africa to support cancer care. AJCP (submitted)

    Chen AL, Goldfarb IT, Scourtas AO, Roberts DJ. The histologic evolution of revealed acute abruptions. Human Pathology (under review).

     Redline RW, Roberts DJ, Boyd, T. Diagnostic pathology of the placenta, gravid uterus and products of conception, Cambridge University Press.  Expected 2018.


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