Fellowship Program Directors: David B. Sacks, MB, ChB and Steven Soldin, PhD
The objectives of the clinical chemistry fellowship program in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the NIH are to train individuals to manage high complexity laboratories, to become clinically oriented and participate in a variety of largely translational research projects, to develop their own research foci and to cover the set curriculum of the Commission on Accreditation in Clinical Chemistry (ComACC), thereby ensuring successful examination outcomes. The training emphasizes the clinical aspects of clinical chemistry, with active participation by the fellows via an on-call system. The expected length of the program is 2 years. Qualified candidates must have an M.D. and/or Ph.D. Preference is given to individuals who are approximately 2 years (but no more than 6 years) beyond the doctoral degree, and who have obtained training in laboratory medicine, clinical medicine, or clinical chemistry. Applicants must have satisfactorily completed a minimum of 30 semester hours in undergraduate and/or graduate level chemistry or biochemistry courses prior to admission into the program to meet certification eligibility requirements by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry.
The first three months of the Clinical Training Program are devoted to rotations through various Clinical Chemistry sections: general chemistry, special chemistry, immunoassays, electrophoresis, urinalysis, therapeutic drug monitoring, HPLC and mass spectrometry. The fellow is then expected (on a rotating basis) to handle inquiries to the Clinical Chemistry Service from patient-care physicians and is encouraged to attend working patient rounds. Throughout the training, special emphasis is placed on the correlation of laboratory data with the status of patients in the Clinical Center. After the initial training, the fellow regularly works up and presents patient cases and has an opportunity to participate in translational research.
In addition, the fellows also participate in the Research Training Program. During the first 3 months of the research training program the fellow meets with and discusses the research and service responsibilities of each Senior Staff member. The fellow is encouraged to choose a research project for independent investigation under the supervision of a Senior Staff member, or to participate in an ongoing research project. The fellow is also responsible for developing one or two methods for implementation by the Clinical Chemistry Service. The project for method development is determined by the needs of the Service at the time. Members of the Clinical Chemistry Service collaborate with clinicians in clinical research and conduct their own independent research. An important new initiative in the service is mass spectrometry, which is expanding in both clinical and research applications. Numerous opportunities are available to participate in both basic and translational research projects.