Authors: Gregory R. Zimmerman
The field of laboratory medicine is advancing towards the use of molecular techniques and molecular diagnostics for the detection of genetic disorders, infectious diseases and cancers. These same techniques are greatly enhancing pre-transplantation screening as well. In addition, the introduction of personalized medicine promises an increase in genetic testing.
There is an increasing demand for professionally educated and technically competent individuals to work in this growing area of laboratory medicine. Across the United States, specialists trained in molecular techniques are being sought by hospitals, reference laboratories, private genetic labs and pharmaceutical research laboratories.
Ferris State University’s (Ferris) College of Health Professions (CHP) has developed a Bachelor of Science degree program that provides students the opportunity to learn how to aid in the diagnoses of cancer, infectious diseases, pharmacogenomics, and the predisposition to disease by performing and interpreting laboratory results using molecular diagnostic assays.
The CHP is collaborating with local community colleges in preparation of prequalification course work such that prospective students may complete foundational courses at their local community college and are granted credit toward Ferris' Molecular Diagnostics degree. Medical laboratories and research institutes are partnering with Ferris as well by providing opportunities for clinical experiences in the final semester of study.
Keywords: molecular diagnostics, laboratory medicine, university, community college, degree program, curriculum