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ASPIRE Module: Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Spring 2020

Posted by on Thursday, August 1, 2019 in Upcoming BRET Office of Career Development Events .

The ASPIRE Modules are short, non-credit bearing electives that broaden the training experiences of biomedical sciences trainees. These elective modules provide efficient exposure to topics in four theme areas: Business/Entrepreneurship, Communication, Teaching, and Clinical research.The ASPIRE Modules are optional and open to any biomedical sciences PhD student or postdoctoral fellow who wishes to take them to supplement their research training. Class size may be limited, however, and will vary by module. 

Module Title: Clinical Laboratory Medicine: Applying your Ph.D. to Patient Care

Directors: Jonathan Schmitz, MD, PhD, D(ABMM), Medical Director – Molecular Infectious Diseases Laboratory; and Jennifer Colby, PhD, DABCC, Medical Director – Toxicology and Esoteric Chemistry Laboratories, Associate Medical Director – Clinical Chemistry Laboratory; Ferrin Wheeler, PhD, Medical Director – Cytogenetics

Time: Starts January 2020, exact meeting times to be set by trainee.

Content: Clinical Laboratory Medicine is an area of Pathology dedicated to the laboratory analysis of patient specimens to diagnose/treat human diseases.  Its various sub-disciplines include Clinical Microbiology, Clinical Chemistry/Toxicology, Molecular Genetics, and Immunopathology.  Each field requires broad medical knowledge, a combination of classic and cutting-edge technology, and management skills to ensure consistent quality and regulatory compliance.  Notably, the Medical Directors of clinical laboratories include both MD-trained Pathologists and PhD-trained scientists, with different accreditation/licensure mechanisms for each group and discipline.  This Module will provide an overview of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, with particular emphasis on Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Chemistry/Toxicology, along with additional opportunities for exposure in Molecular Genetics and Cytogenetics.

Learning Objectives: The goal of this Module is to provide a practical introduction to Clinical Laboratory Medicine for PhD students, including the duties of Medical Directors in the various sub-disciplines and the respective training pathways. Through this Module, students will better understand the role of these practitioners and learn what steps they may take to become one.

Class size: 5 students

Registration requirement: CV and 2-6 sentence statement of interest

Registration deadline: Friday, November 1, 2019


Time: Following an introductory presentation, Clinical Laboratory tour, and HIPPA training, participants will spend ~2 hours per week for 5 weeks with these clinical services.  (Precise schedules will be worked out on individual basis given each participant’s interests, but will take place throughout January/February, 2019.  Students would require general flexibility of their morning/afternoon schedules during this period).  Activities will include: [1] practical didactic sessions; [2] clinical laboratory bench rounds, during which we trouble-shoot emergent laboratory issues with medical technologists; and [3] participation in the services’ Diagnostic Management Teams, through which we provide consultative services to managing physicians.  The latter is a unique Vanderbilt initiative designed to maximize laboratory support of patient care.  For interested individuals, the possibility will exist to extend their participation beyond 5 weeks (pending overall interest and research mentor approval).

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