Pathology Fellowship Programs

Clinical Chemistry Fellowship

Program Director: Robert L. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. | (858) 657-5733 | E-mail:

The primary objective of this program is to train qualified individuals to become certified by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry in chemistry or toxicological chemistry, and to compete for positions as director or associate directors of medical school or hospital-based clinical chemistry laboratories. This objective is achieved through training in clinical chemistry, laboratory administration, and research.

This program emphasizes a combination of training in classical clinical chemistry (e.g., blood gases, electrolytes, enzymes, proteins, endocrinology, therapeutic drug monitoring) and specialty areas (clinical toxicology and molecular diagnostics). A particular strength of this program will be in the area of toxicology where there are collaborations with the California Poison Control Center and UC San Diego Medical Toxicology Fellowship program. The UC San Diego program will also benefit from the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM), a 90,000 square foot facility that recently opened as a central reference laboratory for the UCSD Healthcare system. At the CALM, fellows will have access to automated chemistry, toxicology, hematology, microbiology, flow cytometry, molecular diagnostics, cytogenetics, and information systems.

The CALM is a 90,000 square foot building that houses automated clinical chemistry, toxicology, mass spectrometry, hematology, coagulation, microbiology, flow cytometry, molecular diagnostics, and cytogenetics. CALM is the main reference laboratory for the UC San Diego Medical Center. In addition to CALM, UC San Diego has clinical laboratories in the UC San Diego Medical Center – La Jolla (Thornton) and UC San Diego Medical Center – Hillcrest locations. At the CALM, the chemistry laboratory is fully automated with Roche analytics consisting of an MPA (sample input, centrifugation, decapping, aliquotting, sorting) connected to a Cobas 8000 and a CCE (chemistry, chemistry, electrochemistry) configuration. On the outlet side, the chemistry system is connected with automated storage (Roche P701). Both the Hillcrest and Thornton Hospital laboratories have Roche MPA systems with dual CE (chemistry, electrochemistry) configurations. Additional automated equipment at CALM includes an Abbott Architect and automated urinalysis analyzers. The chemistry laboratories at UC San Diego Medical Centers perform about 3.5 million reportable results per year covering the full range of clinically important analytes.

The Toxicology laboratory at CALM is equipped with two triple quadrupole LC/MS/MS instruments (Waters Xevo TQ-S), an accurate mass/high resolution LC time of flight (TOF) instrument (Waters Xevo G2), an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) MS (Agilent 7700), a UV/VIS (ultraviolet/visible) spectrophotometer, and all of the necessary peripheral instruments needed for a modern toxicology laboratory. This laboratory performs drugs of abuse confirmations, broad spectrum drug screens and other clinical applications of mass spectrometry.

The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory comprises 2500 sq. ft and is divided into dedicated pre and post-amplification areas. The facility houses all necessary instrumentation and equipment to perform molecular biology based assays including automated DNA and RNA extraction, PCR, real time PCR, Sanger sequencing, and tissue culture. The laboratory performs approximately 7,000 assays per year, including both inherited disease and oncology applications.

The clinical cytogenetics laboratory is staffed by ten cytogenetic technologists with ASCP (American Society of Clinical Pathologists) certification in cytogenetics and California licensure as Clinical Cytogenetic Scientists. The laboratory performs approximately 2800 constitutional, prenatal and cancer analyses per year, both G-banding chromosome analysis and metaphase/interphase FISH studies, for all specimen types including peripheral blood, bone marrow aspirate, amniotic fluid, chorionic villi, lymph nodes, and solid tumors. Imaging for both chromosome and FISH analysis is performed using CytoVision and the lab is currently equipped with ten brightfield workstations, four FISH workstations, two review stations and one GSL robotic microscope with both brightfield and FISH capability. The Affymetrix CytoScan high resolution SNP/oligonucleotide microarray platform will be validated in 2012 for hematologic disorders.

There is ample office and desk space in the CALM laboratory. This laboratory has a room with 20 cubicles for residents and Fellows. Fellows will have a permanent cubicle for the two years of the fellowship in this office area which will be shared with the pathology residents. Research space is available within all sections of the CALM laboratory. All fellows have their own email address, desk access to internet services and electronic links to UCSD literature search programs. The majority of research publications can be obtained by on-line services within the UCSD library system. Microsoft Office and laboratory statistical programs (EP Evaluator) are available for word processing, spread sheet analysis, PowerPoint presentations, and data analysis for research, service, and teaching. UC San Diego has a nationally recognized library system.,/p>

Faculty: Robert L. Fitzgerald, Ph.D., DABCC,David A. Herold, M.D., Ph.D., DABCC,Ronald McLawhon, M.D., Ph.D.,Michael Kelner, M.D.,John Thorson, M.D., Ph.D.,Marie Dell’Aquila, Ph.D.,Amadeo Pesce, Ph.D., and David N. Bailey, M.D.

Requirements: The candidate for admission needs to have a MD, PharmD, and/or a Ph.D. degree (chemistry, biochemistry, biology, medicine, pathology, pathobiology, pharmacology, nutrition, or other appropriate scientific discipline). The applicant should have had sufficient courses in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and biochemistry to qualify for certification by the American Board for Clinical Chemistry.

Applications: Interested applicants should contact Dr. Fitzgerald for information on how to apply to the fellowship.

Cytopathology Fellowship

Program Director: Farnaz Hasteh, M.D. | (619) 543-5288 | E-mail:

This fellowship is a one-year, ACGME-accredited program that offers advanced training in diagnostic Cytopathology. During this time, the fellow will have increasing levels of responsibility commensurate with level of performance. Substantial emphasis is also placed on the integration of surgical pathology with Cytopathology.

Currently the UCSD Medical Center Cytopathology Laboratory and VA Medical Center examine approximately 27059 specimens per year including approximately 9705 non-gynecologic specimens. Both Thin Prep and Surepath technologies are utilized in both laboratories. In addition the laboratory directs a pathology-based FNA Service with cytopathologist-staffed clinics and performs or assists with the vast majority of superficial and deep fine needle aspirations (approximately 1,414). Ancillary techniques such as immunocytochemistry, flow cytometry, molecular diagnostics and electron microscopy are available for more comprehensive evaluation of difficult cases.

The fellowship offers opportunities for teaching pathology residents and medical students as well as the opportunity to investigate any one of a number of research projects during the year. Diagnostic, research and teaching skills are emphasized in this academic environment.

Requirements: Applicants should be Board-eligible or Board-certified in anatomic pathology or AP/CP, as well as having passed USMLE Step III.

Applications: See our Fellowship Application section below for details.

Gastrointestinal Pathology Fellowship

Program Director: Mark A. Valasek, M.D., Ph.D. | E-mail:

The Gastrointestinal Pathology Fellowship within the Department of Pathology at University of California San Diego (UCSD) is designed to provide rigorous diagnostic training with the opportunity for graduated, independent signout responsibilities for gastrointestinal, hepatic, and pancreaticobiliary surgical pathology cases. The program takes advantage of USCD’s large volume of diverse cases with a considerable proportion of high-complexity and esoteric cases, including but not limited to the categories of neoplastic and non-neoplastic GI mucosal biopsies and resections, liver explants, medical liver biopsies including transplant biopsies, pancreatic surgicals, and outside consultation cases. Areas of expertise are myriad and include inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, fatty liver disease, liver transplant pathology, and a variety of neoplastic diseases, including pancreatic cancer. In addition, the Fellowship experience is enhanced by exposure to pediatric and community-based cases through participation in 2 elective rotation months at sites outside of the Division of Anatomic/Surgical Pathology that include Rady Children’s Hospital and Kaiser Pathology. To further strengthen training in academic gastrointestinal pathology, each Fellow is required to complete at least one clinicopathologic research project (clinical, translational, or basic science) related to gastrointestinal disease.

Currently, the program supports one Fellow per year and is interviewing for positions starting in July 2014 and July 2015. Fellowship training includes participation and responsibilities in the following areas of pathology: consultative pathology, adult pathology, digital pathology, pediatric pathology, community-based diagnostics, interdepartmental conferences and multidisciplinary tumor boards, and research. The program will also allow the Fellow to maintain essential skills in pathology during the course of training that include gastrointestinal surgical pathology case signout, frozen section reads, and on-call activities.

The ideal candidate for the Fellowship is proactive, motivated, and demonstrates the ability to work well with a diverse team; has a positive mental attitude, strong work ethic, and great communication skills; and finally, demonstrates diagnostic rigor and a record of academic interest and achievement.

Specific educational objectives in the surgical pathology fellowship include:

  • In-depth training in GI subspecialty-based signout that includes consultative work
  • Training in pediatric pathology
  • Training in community-based practice that includes knowledge of coding, billing and cost practices
  • Developing skill sets to allow successful communication with clinicians across departments, including presentation at tumor boards and clinical conferences
  • Academic research that focuses on clinicopathological aspects of disease with an expectation of presentation of research results
  • Teaching rotating medical students and pathology residents

GI Fellow annual activities will include:

10 months: UCSD Department of Pathology, Division Anatomic/Surgical Pathology, Gastrointestinal Service,/p>

  • Consultation/second opinion slide review (GME)
  • Clinicopathological research (GME)
  • Tumor board/interdepartmental conference (GME)
  • General signout (non-GME, skill maintenance)
  • Frozen section diagnosis (non-GME, skill maintenance)
  • On call diagnostics (non-GME, skill maintenance)

1 month: Rady Children’s Hospital for pediatric pathology (GME)

1 month: Kaiser Pathology for community-based practice (GME)

It is anticipated that the overall split between GME and non-GME (moonlighting) activities will be 70%/30% for the year.

Applications: See our Fellowship Application section below for details.

Hematopathology Fellowship

Program Director: Huan-You Wang, M.D., Ph.D. | (858) 822-2538 | Fax: (858) 822-1415 | E-mail:

The Hematopathology Fellowship Program sponsored by the University of California San Diego Department of Pathology is an ACGME-accredited one-year program, and we offer one position each year in the Division of Hematopathology within the Division of Clinical Laboratories.

The overall goal of this one-year fellowship is to provide broad-based training in the field of Hematopathology with an emphasis on the laboratory approach to the diagnosis of benign and malignant hematolymphoid disorders. It will also emphasize education in the structure and function of routine hematology, bone marrow, special coagulation, flow cytometry, molecular diagnostics, and genetic laboratories. A multi-modality approach is stressed, with the incorporation of information from multiple sources, including clinical, hematologic, morphologic, cytogenetic, flow cytometric, and molecular data. The program will be structured to give trainees maximum exposure to a wealth of diversified case materials and to faculty with a variety of clinical and research interests and expertise.

Hematopathology, the jewel of pathology, covers all aspects of modern pathology and requires skills and knowledge from cytology, clinical pathology, and anatomic pathology. The Division of Hematopathology sign-outs over 1,100 bone marrow biopsies, 350 lymph nodes and lymphoid tissues, and 1,800 flow cytometry cases each year. The Division of Hematopathology has an intimate relationship with our active Hematology/Oncology colleagues to support a busy bone marrow transplant program and multiple leukemia/lymphoma clinical trials. Within the Department, the fellow will interact with the Anatomic Pathology, Neuropathology and Cytology to provide consultations. Thus the fellows will be exposed to a wide spectrum of diverse cases in both benign and malignant disorders. In addition, the Division of Clinical Laboratories at the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM) of UC San Diego also has state-of-the-art Flow Cytometry, Special Coagulation, Cytogenetics, and Molecular Diagnostic laboratories, all of which provide first-class training for either academic or community practice.

Besides clinical training, the fellows will have ample opportunity to engage in clinical, translational, or basic research projects both within the Pathology Department and the University.

Located within two miles from the Pacific Ocean in the American’s finest city, UC San Diego is one of the best public universities. The University boasts a diverse student population and San Diego provides an array of outdoor activities all year around. We welcome you to visit our website and let us know if you need any further information.

All residents with combined AP/CP training are welcome to apply. Residents with either AP or CP training will be considered on a case-by-case base.

Faculty: Huan-You Wang, M.D., Ph.D.,H. Elizabeth Broome, M.D.,Xiang-Dong Xu, M.D.,Ph.D.,Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, M.D.,Frank Zhao, M.D., Ph.D.,Jack Bui (flow cytometry), M.D., Ph.D.,Maria Dell’Aquila(cytogenetics), Ph.D.,Steven L. Gonias (coagulation), M.D., Ph.D.,Dzung T. Le (coagulation), M.D., Ph.D.,Robert Newbury (pediatrics), M.D., and John A. Thorson (molecular diagnostics), M.D., Ph.D.

Applications: See our Fellowship Application section below for details.

Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship

Program Director: John A. Thorson, M.D., Ph.D. | | (858) 657-5737 | Fax: (858) 657-5834

The Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship Program sponsored by the University Of California San Diego Department of Pathology is an ACGME-accredited one-year program, and we offer one position each year in the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine.

The overall goal of the UC San Diego Medical Center Molecular Genetic Pathology (MGP) Program is to prepare trainees for a successful career in molecular pathology. At the time of completion of the fellowship, trainees will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to assume the directorship of a clinical molecular pathology laboratory and to continue with a pattern of lifelong learning in this field. During the course of the one year program, MGP fellows will participate in the day to day operation of molecular genetic pathology laboratories performing and interpreting a variety of clinical tests. Although the work of fellows will proceed under the supervision of an attending faculty member, a gradually increasing degree of independence and responsibility will be granted and be commensurate with his or her ability and level of training.

Fellows entering the program as pathologists will additionally gain experience with the diagnosis, management, treatment, and counseling of patients with genetic disorders during rotations through Medical Genetics clinics, while fellows entering as medical geneticists will gain exposure to surgical pathology and autopsy pathology via a rotation through the surgical pathology service. Trainees will attend didactic sessions with the supervising Medical Staff, courses in Medical Genetics, journal clubs, and laboratory and clinical conferences. The trainees will be expected to attend and present relevant laboratory findings at clinical conferences within the Department of Pathology as well as other clinical departments.

Fellows are highly encouraged and expected to perform at least one research project of their own choosing with the guidance and assistance of one or more faculty members in the Department of Pathology. The expectation is for the fellows to present the results of the project(s) at national scientific meetings, such as those of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP), College of American pathologists (CAP), or Association for Molecular Pathology.

Located within two miles of the Pacific Ocean in American’s finest city, UC San Diego is a top-ranked public university. The University boasts a diverse student population and San Diego provides a large variety of cultural and outdoor activities.

The MGP fellowship is open MD graduates with prior residency training in Pathology (either AP, CP, or combined AP/CP) or Medical Genetics.

Faculty: John A. Thorson, M.D., Ph.D.,Gerald Morris, M.D., Ph.D.,Marie Dell’Aquila, Ph.D.,Sharon Reed, M.D.,David Pride, M.D., Ph.D.,Bruce Barshop, M.D., Ph.D.,Marilyn Jones, M.D.,Lynne Bird, M.D., and Lisa Madlensky, Ph.D.

Applications: See our Fellowship Application section below for details.

Neuropathology Fellowship

Program Director: Lawrence Hansen, M.D. | (858) 534-6212 | E-mail:

The Department of Pathology offers a combined AP/NP residency/fellowship program for applicants who want an integrated, contiguous training program. The two-year Neuropathology residency (fellowship) Program is ACGME accredited and also available to any applicant who has completed two years of anatomic pathology training in another accredited Anatomic Pathology Program. Preference is given to applicants for the combined AP/NP track.

The overall goals of the Neuropathology Training Program are twofold. The first is to provide postgraduate medical instruction that will culminate in the quality of clinical skills commensurate with successful board examination in Neuropathology. The second is to provide training in specialty and experimental neuropathology. These provide a suitable foundation of experimental neuroscience and technical expertise to enable the trainee to better understand the basic neurosciences as they relate to neurologic disease and translational research in neuropathology. The objectives of the Training Program are designed to provide instruction in the 6 major competencies as defined by the ACGME, and to provide exposure to the types and quantities of cases as defined in the ACGME “Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Neuropathology.”

The educational philosophy of the Program is that the discipline of neuropathology is firmly rooted in a solid academic background, whether it is practiced in a traditional academic institution, a community/private practice setting, or a forensic setting. The primary goal of our training program is to prepare candidates for an academically-oriented career that emphasizes an enduring commitment to advancing the field of neuropathology and that encompasses any combination of clinical neuropathology diagnosis, translational and basic research, and teaching.

The program is structured to meet this goal through exposure of the fellow to 1) an abundance of diversified case material with a variety of instructional modalities; 2) faculty members with a spectrum of clinical and research activities who actively participate in teaching, including joint clinical conferences and research journal clubs; 3) state of the art clinical and research laboratory support facilities; and 4) a graduated program of assigned responsibilities. Neuropathology diagnostic activities include post-mortem examinations of neurovascular, neurodegenerative, neuro-inflammatory, CNS developmental, ophthalmic and neoplastic diseases; and forensic cases, including blunt force and projectile trauma; surgical neuropathology of adult and pediatric CNS/PNS tumors, inflammatory processes involving the nervous system and ophthalmic pathology. Neuromuscular cases include examinations of both skeletal muscle and peripheral nerves. By the completion of training, all Neuropathology fellows should be competent to practice at the level of a newly board certified practitioner in Neuropathology in all 6 of the core competency areas as defined by the ACGME. Neuropathology enjoys close working relationships with the Department of Neurosciences, the Division of Neurosurgery, and the San Diego County Department of the Medical Examiner and holds joint conferences for clinical and educational activities. House staff from Neurosciences and Neurosurgery, in addition to residents in the Division of Anatomic Pathology; rotate through the neuropathology diagnostic service for one to two month periods.

The Program is normally configured in a two year curriculum. The two year program is designed to be complete so that the trainee obtains the correct balance of diagnostic and technical/research skills that are supplemented with investigative activities in either translational or basic neurosciences. An optional third year is provided for trainees who desire more intensive post-doctoral research training. Research opportunities within the Neuropathology Division are complemented by the outstanding, highly interactive research neuroscience environments within the UCSD Neurosciences Department, Moores Cancer Center, Institute of Engineering in Medicine, and the Section of Neurobiology in the Division of Biological Sciences. These are uniquely strengthened by affiliated institutes, including the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Salk Institute, the Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. The flexibility of the two or three year format depends on the previous experience and professional goals of each trainee.

Applications for NP or combined AP/NP Program: See our Fellowship Application section below for details.

Research Fellowship

Program Director: Brian Datnow, M.D. • (619) 543-2838 | Fax: (619) 543-5249 | E-mail:

The UCSD Pathology Residency Program encourages applications from MD-PhD and other research-oriented residents. We also recognize the need of many applicants to continue their re­search training while pursuing residency training. Fortunately, our De­partment and University boasts many top-notch research laboratories, which emphasize translational re­search. To facilitate the development of the physician-scientist, we offer fellowship pro­gram in which residents are allowed to spend up to a full year in a research laboratory, with salary support guaranteed by the Department. Additional years of research may be funded by extramural grants or by the Principal Investigator. These special department fellowships are offered on a competitive basis; however, a commitment may be obtained during the recruitment process. Please feel free to mention your interest in this program when applying. We look forward to working with you.

Applications: See our Fellowship Application section below for details.

Surgical Pathology Fellowship

Program Director: Oluwole Fadare, M.D. • (619) 543-8085 | Fax: (619) 543-6588 | E-mail:

The Division of Anatomic/Surgical Pathology sponsors a 1-year Fellowship in General Surgical Pathology (see description). The fellowship provides a notably varied experience during the year. Surgical pathology fellows help provide continuity of clinical care by previewing cases in a subspecialized model that is enriched in complex cases, by supervising the gross room and teaching housestaff officers rotating on surgical pathology, by preparing and delivering some organ-specific clinicopathologic conferences, and ultimately, by independently signing out some routine surgical pathology cases.

Description: A one-year fellowship in general surgical pathology is offered by the Division of Anatomic/Surgical Pathology. Up to 3 positions are available for AP or AP/CP residents who are interested in receiving focused and intensive training in diagnostic surgical pathology at a variety of practice settings. The specific rotations include: 1) one-month blocks (comprising a total of 6 months) at the main base of anatomic/surgical pathology operations for UC San Diego, currently the UC San Diego Hillcrest Medical Center. During these blocks, fellows rotate through the subspecialty services, present at clinicopathologic conferences, and supervise housestaff officers. In the latter 6 months, fellows will have increasing independent responsibility, and will be expected to start signing out cases during the latter half of this period. 2) a total of 3 months at Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, where fellows gain experience with handling pediatric pathology cases, and 3) a total of 3 months at the Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group (~50,000 surgical specimens), where fellows gain experience with surgical pathology in a large and robust private practice setting. With the exception of the Kaiser Permanente rotation, all rotations will be at UC San Diego teaching hospitals.

Requirements: Licensed in California.

Stipends: As of 2014, $58,241 for PGY IV, $60,533 for PGY V, $62,984 for PGY VI.

Faculty: Oluwole Fadare, M.D.Andres A. Roma, M.D., Mojgan Hosseini, M.D., Haiyan Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.Brian Datnow, M.D.Vera Vavinskaya, M.D.Farnaz Hasteh, M.D.Grace Y. Lin, M.D., Ph.D.Ahmed Shabaik, M.D.Ann Tipps, M.D.Mark Valasek, M.D., Ph.D.Mana Parast, M.D., Ph.D., Somaye Y. Zare, M.D., and Omonigho Aisagbonhi, M.D., Ph.D.

Applications: See our Fellowship Application section below for details.

Fellowship Application

Please complete the CAP Fellowship Application and mail to:

Alexandra Murtha
Residency Program Coordinator
Department of Pathology, M/C 8720
University of California, San Diego
200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8720

For additional questions regarding our fellowship programs or application, please contact Alexandra Murtha at or (858) 249-1096.