Molecular Diagnostics discussed at NMU

Northern Michigan University’s clinical sciences department is hosting a series of molecular diagnostics workshops on today and tomorrow.

The sessions today are designed for high school educators and clinical laboratory professionals; the workshops scheduled on Friday are targeted toward students majoring in clinical laboratory medicine. According to a press release from NMU, the sessions will highlight the basics of DNA, the history of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and the advances molecular techniques have made in clinical disease diagnosis.

More than 30 high school educators and clinical laboratory professionals from across the Upper Peninsula are participating, representing Brimley, Houghton, Calumet, Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, and Gwinn.  Employees who work at labs at Marquette General Hospital / Duke LifePoint, Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital and Aspirus Grandview Hospital are also attending.

16 students majoring in clinical laboratory science (CLS) will attend the workshop on Friday to get a hands-on introduction to molecular diagnostics as well as learn more about career options available in clinical laboratory medicine.

The half-day interactive workshops will feature guest speaker, Dr. Ray Hein,  molecular application specialist for Roche Diagnostics, which utilizes personalized healthcare and molecular diagnostic testing to tailor medications and manage disease.

This is the first in what organizers hope will become an annual event.

“We are proud to be able to offer this innovative learning experience to the high school educators and clinical laboratory professionals of our region,” said Linda Riipi, department head of clinical sciences. “We’re also extremely pleased to partner with Roche Diagnostics and Dr. Hein to increase awareness of the career opportunities available in clinical laboratory medicine.”

Cathy Bammert, CLS professor, added, “This is the perfect time to pursue a career in laboratory medicine. When you couple the estimated 40,000 unfilled laboratory jobs in the United States with our aging society’s increasing need for screening and diagnostic laboratory services, you can’t help but come to the conclusion that students graduating in lab medicine will be able to find rewarding jobs in the geographic area of their choice, with
favorable salaries.”

NMU is the only university that offers five National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) accredited programs in the United States.  It is one of three universities nationwide that offers both a diagnostic molecular science and cytogenetics program.