The goal of the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship program is to prepare individuals for a career in academic laboratory medicine, clinical practice or industry. This two-year program emphasizes the clinical aspects of biochemical testing and includes basic or translational research in a Washington University laboratory. Participants have doctoral degrees (PhD or MD) in the biological/biochemical sciences or medicine. One or two trainees are accepted each year.
Clinical chemists generally have four potential areas of responsibility: clinical service, research, education and administration. Career paths for formally trained clinical chemists include: university faculty member, director of a clinical laboratory in an academic or community hospital, director of a reference laboratory or working in the in vitro diagnostic industry.
Laboratory medicine and clinical chemistry can be defined as the application of biochemistry to the diagnosis of human disease. It is a major interface between the basic and clinical sciences as new discoveries are quickly applied to the diagnosis and monitoring of disease.
The Clinical Chemistry Fellowship program has had more than 95 graduates since its inception in 1972. More than half have accepted academic positions while approximately a quarter have taken industrial positions. Other graduates have moved into private hospital/practice, reference laboratories or other areas of medicine and academics. In the last 10 years, about 60% of graduates have taken academic positions. In total, the program has a >95% job placement rate.
The first year begins with a 12-week clinical rotation covering the fundamentals of clinical chemistry such as quality assurance, molecular diagnostics, endocrinology, toxicology, lipids, pediatric chemistry, statistics, disease states, analytical methods and instrumentation. This is followed by a 12 week molecular diagnostics rotation. These didactic rotations are done with the clinical pathology residents. After the first six months the fellow will do research in the laboratory of a selected faculty member that continues for the duration of the fellowship. During this time, fellows will take part in an on-call (beeper) system that supports hospitals in the Washington University Medical Center, as well as participate in clinical laboratory meetings, quality assurance and research.
The second year extends both the clinical and research experience with specialized clinical training and increased clinical responsibilities. There are two weekly laboratory medicine conferences that the fellows participate in as well as “resident reports” and extensive quality assurance and laboratory management meetings with faculty members and lab staff. The program offers a high degree of clinical interaction, diversified research opportunities and development of the concepts and skills required to manage a modern clinical laboratory.
Children’s Hospital provides exposure to the laboratory needs of a primary and tertiary care pediatric facility. Barnes-Jewish Hospital provides the same for adult care. The Barnes-Jewish Hospital clinical laboratory is one of the largest and most automated hospital laboratories in the world having just moved into new space with all new automation equipment in April of 2016.
All fellows have desk space in the Laboratory and Genomic Medicine resident’s room with a personal computer and e-mail accounts and may also have desk space for the trainees in the research laboratory in which they work.
To apply to the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship program, please send a letter of interest, CV, copy of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and three letters of reference to:
Ann M. Gronowski, PhD or Mitchell G. Scott, PhD
Division of Laboratory Medicine
Department of Pathology and Immunology
Washington University School of Medicine
660 South Euclid Avenue, Box 8118
St. Louis, MO 63110