ABMGG Laboratory Fellowship Program

Overview

The UCSF Departments of Anatomic Pathology and Laboratory Medicine together offer a two-year ACGME-accredited Laboratory Genetics and Genomics Fellowship.  The goal of a laboratory fellowship program is to train individuals with a doctoral degree (M.D., D.O. and/or Ph.D.) to direct, perform and interpret genomic/ genetic laboratory analyses relevant to the diagnosis and management of human genetic diseases. For certification requirements and eligibility, see American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG).

The program has a flexible design that provides both a generalized experience, as well as the ability to focus on specific areas of interest with faculty mentors throughout the two years.  The program includes training in the areas of cancer genetics (solid tumors and hematopathology), constitutional genetics, pharmacogenomics and cytogenetics. At the end of our fellowship, you will be prepared to direct a diagnostic genetic/genomic laboratory and to act as a consultant regarding laboratory diagnosis for a range of disorders. Training includes didactic sessions, clinical conferences, laboratory bench work, clinical case sign out, communication of results to clinical colleagues and patients, and test validation projects. An additional year of fellowship is available by arrangement to allow for more in depth research pursuits. The training includes varying amounts of all aspects of medical genetics (i.e., clinical genetics, genetic counseling, biochemical genetics, cytogenetics, and molecular genetics). 

UCSF seeks candidates whose experience, teaching, research, or community service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. UCSF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

If you are an MD who is interested in non-laboratory based training, click here for information about the Clinical Genetics Residency/Fellowship Programs at UCSF. Note: If you are interested in applying to the Medical Genetics Residency Program you must apply through ERAS.

Faculty Involved with Fellowship

Program Director:

Jessica Van Ziffle, PhD

Specialty Laboratory Directors:

Molecular - Jessica Van Ziffle, PhD
Cytogenetics - Jingwei Yu, PhD, MM
Biochemical - Tina Cowan, PhD, FACMG

Laboratories:

Stanford Biochemical Lab
UCSF Clinical Cancer Genomics Lab
UCSF Cytogenetics Lab
UCSF Genomic Medicine Lab
UCSF Molecular Diagnostics Lab

Requirements

Non-U.S. citizens must possess a Permanent Resident Card or an appropriate educational visa prior to starting a postgraduate medical education program at UCSF. The Department of Pathology may sponsor J1 visas.

To qualify and sit for the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG) certification exam in Laboratory Genetics and Genomics (LGG), candidates must be certified by the ABMGG. Applicants for ABMGG Board Certification in LGG must also complete at least 24 months of training in an ACGME-accredited laboratory genetic and genomics program (the UCSF LGG Program is accredited by the ACGME.  Additional details about applicant requirements can be found here:

See American Board of Genetics and Genomics Website for additional details concerning certification requirements and deadlines: http://www.abmgg.org.

Salary

Fellows will be appointed as a PGY-5.

For additional information concerning UCSF Fellow Salaries, Loans and Financial Resources, please see:

UCSF GME Trainee Financial Resources

Application

Due to departmental considerations, the applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are currently on hold.  We anticipate our next fellowship round for a July 2025 start cycle.  Application details will be posted closer to the deadline; however, the application deadline is anticipated to be July 31, 2023.  

Deadline

Currently on hold.

The program does not discriminate with regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, gender transition status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services, including protected veterans.

Program Statistics

Number of Trainees:

Board Pass Rate:

Current Positions of Our Clinical Biochemical Genetics Alumni:

  • Associate Professor, Pediatric Genetics, Stanford University (Director of Medical Genetics Residency Program), Stanford, CA
  • Scientific Director, Biochemical Genetics, Nichols Institute, Quest Diagnostics
  • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California (USC) & Director, Biochemical Genetics and Special Chemistry, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Division of Genetics, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, MA

Current Positions of Our Clinical Cytogenetics Alumni

  • Director of the Huntington Medical Research Institutes Cancer Genetics Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
  • Laboratory Director, Signature Genomics, Spokane, WA
  • Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Cancer Center, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
  • Instructor, California State University, Genetic Counseling Program, Stanislaus, CA
  • Assistant Technical Director of the UCSF Cytogenetics Laboratory, UCSF, San Francisco, CA

Current Positions of Our Molecular Genetics Alumni

  • Director of the Huntington Medical Research Institutes Cancer Genetics Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
  • Associate Clinical Professor, Pediatrics, UCSF; Medical Geneticist, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
  • Laboratory Director, Signature Genomics, Spokane, WA
  • Assistant Professor of Human Genetics at Ohio State University
  • Associate Director, Medical Genetics, Lab Corp-ViroMed, Minneapolis, MN
  • Scientific Director, Biochemical Genetics, Nichols Institute, Quest Diagnostics
  • Instructor, California State University, Genetic Counseling Program, Stanislaus, CA
  • Fellow in Biochemical Genetics, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

 

Specialty Director:
Jessica Van Ziffle, PhD

Clinical Cytogenetics Training

Clinical Cytogenetics Training Outline

As a component of the Laboratory Genetics and Genomics fellowship program, trainees spend concentration time in the specialty area of cytogenetics.  Training in the Cytogenetics Laboratory consists of ongoing exposure to, and involvement with, laboratory testing, interpretation and reporting in various types of constitutional and neoplastic specimens using standard (banding-based) and molecular cytogenetic methods (fluorescence in situ hybridization and cytogenetic array), with increasing levels of involvement and responsibility as the training period progresses. Trainees first observe testing performed by licensed technologists, and then perform parallel testing of patient samples. Following a period of detailed instruction on interpretation and practice with archived abnormal samples, trainees provide preliminary interpretations of patient testing, integrate results of multiple tests, and incorporate the clinical history into a final interpretation. These cases are then discussed in detail with the laboratory director at regular sign-out meetings and revisions to the trainee’s interpretations are reviewed. The trainee is expected to learn the basic principles and implementation of each test, so as to fully appreciate the complexities and pitfalls that are part of cytogenetic testing. For select cases, trainees communicate laboratory results directly to clinical geneticists and/or other physicians and health care providers. Feedback for improving communication performance is discussed.

Clinical Cytogenetics Conferences

In addition to laboratory activities, trainees attend the Biochemical Genetics Teaching Conference, the General Genetics Clinical Conference, and all other required seminars, conferences, and courses. Finally, trainees attend the General Genetics Clinics and Specialty Genetics Clinics. In these clinics, trainees are assigned patients and are involved with the delivery of test results, either as full participants in the clinical diagnosis, treatment, and genetic counseling of patients and families [physician trainees] or as observers and discussion participants [PhD trainees].

Clinical Genetics Patient Conference

This conference is a formal review of the patients evaluated that week in various Genetics Clinics and in-house consultations. The clinical fellows present the patients with the history and pertinent physical findings (including photographs when appropriate). Interesting cytogenetic and prenatal diagnosis results of the past week are also discussed, and the clinical fellow for the month is responsible for presenting and leading the discussion on recent inpatient consultations of note. The subsequent discussion is rigorous, and includes issues of differential diagnosis, disease biology, diagnostic testing, treatment, genetic counseling and basic science correlates. In this forum, the trainee gains experience in organizing and more formally presenting medical genetic information, in leading the interactive discussions that ensue, and in addressing the questions and problems that arise in these discussions. Over the years, this conference has been a hub for medical care providers interested in clinical genetics, from UCSF and nearby medical centers. Full and part-time members of the core clinical genetics faculty, physician and non-physician post-doctoral trainees, genetic counselors, interested graduate students, and medical students and house officers rotating through medical genetics all attend this conference. An additional half-hour each week is devoted to didactic presentations on topics or journal articles of particular interest to attendees. All attendees (residents, fellows, faculty, genetics counselors, and students) make presentations.
 

Molecular Genetics Outline

Clinical Molecular Genetics Training

The UCSF Clinical Cancer Genomics Lab, Genomic Medicine Lab and Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory offer a variety of tests that have, over the past 15-20 years, served as a solid training ground for individuals interested in Clinical Molecular Genetics. Training in the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory consists of ongoing exposure to, and involvement with, laboratory testing, interpretation and reporting in various types of constitutional and neoplastic specimens using available techniques (PCR, Southern Blot, Sequencing (dideoxy and Next-generation sequencing), Real-Time PCR, Methylation-specific PCR, and Microarrays) with increasing levels of involvement and responsibility as the training period progresses. Trainees first observe testing performed by licensed technologists, and then perform parallel testing of patient samples. Following a period of detailed instruction on interpretation and practice with archived abnormal samples, trainees provide preliminary interpretations of patient testing, integrate results of multiple tests, and incorporate the clinical history into a final interpretation. These cases are then discussed in detail with the laboratory director at regular sign-out meetings and revisions to the trainee’s interpretations are reviewed. The trainee is expected to learn the basic principles and implementation of each test, so as to fully appreciate the complexities and pitfalls that are part of molecular testing. The trainee will further gain knowledge and experience by reviewing laboratory protocols for each test and performing the relevant procedures on the bench. In addition, clinical information pertaining to each case logged in the logbook will be available or solicited by the trainee to foster interaction with genetic counselors and physicians. For select cases, trainees communicate laboratory results directly to clinical geneticists and/or other physicians and health care providers. Feedback for improving communication performance is discussed. Finally, based on previous bench experience, trainees will be asked to develop or assist in the development of a new test and write a laboratory protocol that will allow medical technologists to unambiguously perform the new test.

Clinical Molecular Genetics Conferences

In addition to laboratory activities, trainees attend the Biochemical Genetics Teaching Conference, the General Genetics Clinical Conference, and all other required seminars, conferences, and courses. Finally, trainees attend the General Genetics Clinics and Specialty Clinics. In these clinics, trainees are assigned patients and are involved with the delivery of test results, either as full participants in the clinical diagnosis, treatment, and genetic counseling of patients and families [physician trainees] or as observers and discussion participants [PhD trainees].

Clinical Genetics Patient Conference

This conference is a formal review of the patients evaluated that week in various Genetics Clinics and in-house consultations. The clinical fellows present the patients with the history and pertinent physical findings (including photographs when appropriate). Interesting cytogenetic and prenatal diagnosis results of the past week are also discussed, and the clinical fellow for the month is responsible for presenting and leading the discussion on recent inpatient consultations of note. The subsequent discussion is rigorous, and includes issues of differential diagnosis, disease biology, diagnostic testing, treatment, genetic counseling and basic science correlates. In this forum, the trainee gains experience in organizing and more formally presenting medical genetic information, in leading the interactive discussions that ensue, and in addressing the questions and problems that arise in these discussions. Over the years, this conference has been a hub for medical care providers interested in clinical genetics, from UCSF and nearby medical centers. Full and part-time members of the core clinical genetics faculty, physician and non-physician post-doctoral trainees, genetic counselors, interested graduate students, and medical students and house officers rotating through medical genetics all attend this conference. An additional half-hour each week is devoted to didactic presentations on topics or journal articles of particular interest to attendees. All attendees (residents, fellows, faculty, genetics counselors, and students) make presentations.