Session One: Clinical Biochemistry and Urinology

Lectures: Cecelia Landin, M.S., MT(ASCP)

Lecture Topics: Carbohydrate metabolism, diabetes mellitus, spectrophotometry

Laboratory Exercises: Basis of photometric measurements, blood glucose determination, urinalysis

The Young Scholars Program begins by orienting you to the clinical laboratory and the logical approach to medical diagnostics. Three sessions revolve around a single disease case study, exploring how the different disciplines in laboratory work together to aid in diagnosis and management of disease.

In the first session of the Young Scholars Program, students review carbohydrate (glucose) metabolism and learn about one of the most common diseases in the western hemisphere, diabetes mellitus. Because the most serious effects of diabetes do not become evident until decades after initial diagnosis, early detection and diligent monitoring of diabetics is crucial.

As part of the laboratory experience, students learn about the most common component of chemistry analyzers, the spectrophotometer. Afternoon sessions focus more specifically on the pathophysiology of diabetes and how specific laboratory tests are used in monitoring affected individuals, including blood glucose measurements and urinalysis.

Lecture topics include the etiology, basic biochemical aspects, disease implications and modes of treatment for diabetes. Essential aspects of lecture sessions are integrated with hands-on laboratory exercises to provide students with an appreciation of the critical role the clinical laboratory plays as part of the health care team.

Session Two: Clinical Hematology

Lecturer: Stephen Hou, Ph.D.

Lecture Topics: Microscopic morphology of blood cells, Normal function of blood cells, Evaluation of hematology results in the diabetic patient.

Laboratory Exercises: Hemoglobin, hematocrit, white blood cell (WBC) count, WBC differential

The Complete Blood Count (CBC) includes 18 different laboratory tests used by physicians to evaluate the health status of a patient. When a patient is anemic, the number of red blood cells (RBC) and/or concentration of hemoglobin in the RBC are decreased. Depending upon the cause of the anemia, RBC look quite different microscopically. Conditions in which the number of RBC is elevated are less frequent. Should a patient have an infection, not only will the total WBC count be elevated, but a particular type of WBC will also be increased in number.

During this week's session, students perform some of the tests included in the CBC on a blood sample from a diabetic patient. In the early stages of the disease, hematology results are generally normal. Only after time has elapsed and the patient begins to have complications associated with diabetes will hematology results be abnormal. Students evaluate hematology results and determine whether or not complications are present.

Session Three: Clinical Microbiology

Lecturer: April Harkins, Ph.D.

Lecture Topics: Macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of microorganisms, disease process of infections, antibiotic therapy

Laboratory Exercises: Macroscopic characteristics, gram staining, microscopic identification, biochemical testing of bacteria, interpretation of antibiotic susceptibility tests

Persons with diabetes often struggle with infections because poor circulation, especially in the extremities, affects their immune response to the presence of microorganisms.

During the microbiology component of the program, we continue the diabetes case study with our patient developing a wound infection on her foot. A swab of her infected wound is sent to the laboratory, where Young Scholars students spring into action, performing a series of tests to identify the bacteria causing the infection, then determining appropriate antibiotic therapy for the patient.

Students are introduced to microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses) in lecture and laboratory demonstrations, then focus attention on bacterial cells. Students learn to observe bacterial colonies for macroscopic characteristics, such as size, color, texture and shape, and stain prepared slides and observe bacterial cells under the microscope. Next, they observe and interpret biochemical reactions of bacteria. Using all of the data gathered, students use charts to identify bacteria isolated from the patient's infected wound specimen. Finally, students interpret antibiotic susceptibility tests to determine which antibiotics are most effective in eliminating bacterial infection.


CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE

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