Molecular Diagnostics

Goals and Objectives

During training, each resident will master the following skills:

Patient Care 

  • To be able to provide advice to clinicians about appropriate specimens for different types of nucleic acid based diagnostic tests, and to communicate urgency of certain samples to the laboratory staff.
  • Know the test of choice for the identification of specific viral diseases, including viral isolation, detection of viral antigens, detection of genomic nucleic acid, or viral serology.
  • Know the fundamentals of testing for human immunodeficiency virus, and to be able to correlate the results with the stage of the patient's disease and treatment.
  • Know current protocols and recommendations for testing cervical cytology specimens for human papilloma virus, including interpretation of tests.

Medical Knowledge 

  • Understand the physical and chemical methods used for the purification, analysis and detection of nucleic acids.
  • Know the molecular structures, biological functions and physicochemical properties of nucleic acids that are relevant to modem methods of nucleic acid analysis of clinical specimens
  • Know the catalytic activities of enzymes used for the analysis of nucleic acid specimens including amplification of specific nucleic acid sequences.
  • Know the theory and specific uses of methods for the analysis and detection of RNA or -DNA for the diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Practice Based Learning and Improvement

Understand the use of quality assurance and control in the molecular diagnostics laboratory


  • Convey information to laboratory staff in a timely manner
  • Reading independently on topics related to patient case material and search primary sources
  • Demonstrate self-motivation and organization in pursuit of molecular diagnostics rotation requirements (reading and clinical service time)
  • Demonstrate courteous and collegial behavior with laboratory staff (laboratory supervisor will evaluate resident based on input from laboratory personnel)

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

To effectively communicate with clinicians about the test results with appropriate interpretation.

Systems-Based Practice

  • Understand concepts of laboratory design and procedure that are specific to nucleic acid testing.
  • Understand regulatory issues relevant to nucleic acid testing of patient specimens.


The rotation in molecular diagnostics and genomics lasts one month.

Duties and Responsibilities of Residents

Because the core curriculum is taught at one point in the Resident's training, responsibilities do not change on a yearly basis. 

Teaching Staff

Lan Zhou, MD, Ph.D. – Rotation Director

Navid Sadri, MD, Ph.D.

Supervision and Evaluation

Residents meet on a regular basis with the Attending Pathologist and with the lead technologists for supervision. Residents are evaluated on a monthly basis with regard to acquisition of the Core Competencies listed in this Program Statement. Evaluations are forwarded to the Residency Program Director, where they are available for review.