Program Overview

Application Eligibility

Application Process

Residency Schedule

Clinical Training

Clinical Faculty

Contact Information



Welcome to the Medical Genetics Residency Training Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In this two-year program, you will have the opportunity to train in all the various areas that comprise modern medical genetics. These include a wide variety of clinical experiences in pediatric, adult, prenatal, cancer, and biochemical genetics, and clinical laboratories (biochemical, molecular, and cytogenetics). There is also ample didactic education and opportunities for clinical and laboratory-based research. 

Application Eligibility

  1. U.S. medical graduates must obtain an unrestricted Alabama medical license by the end of the seventh month of postgraduate year two. International medical graduates must obtain 1) a limited Alabama medical license by the end of the seventh month of postgraduate year two, AND 2) an unrestricted Alabama medical license by the end of the seventh month of the postgraduate year four.

  2. Graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada must possess a currently valid certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), or have a full unrestricted license to practice medicine in the US licensing jurisdiction in which they are training.

Applying to the Medical Genetics Residency Program

Only electronic applications via the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) are accepted for Medical Genetics Residency positions. We do not accept any applications that are mailed or faxed to our office.

U.S. medical students should contact their dean's office for access to the ERAS system. International graduates must apply for residency through ERAS by contacting the ECFMG.

The following documents are required by our program for your NRMP file to be considered complete and ready for review by our internal selection committee.

  • Current photo

  • Personal statement

  • Medical school transcript

  • Three letters of recommendation

  • Dean's letter

  • USMLE Step 1 Score Report

  • USMLE Step 2 Score Report

  • For international graduates, copy of your ECFMG certificate, if available

How and Where to Apply

Categorical Medical Genetics Residency
Applicants must have completed two (2) years in an ACGME-approved primary residency. Applicants should apply through Nathaniel H. Robin, M.D., c/o Sandra Pilkinton, Medical Genetics residency program director.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine–Medical Genetics combined fellowship/residency position
Applicants must have completed a residency in OB-GYN. Applicants should apply through John Owen, M.D., fellowship director in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine.

PediatricsMedical Genetics combined residency position 
Applicants may enter at the first postgraduate year level (internship), or they may apply during their internship year in Pediatrics. Applicants should apply through Michele Nichols, M.D., Pediatrics residency program director.

Internal MedicineMedical Genetics combined residency position
Applicants may enter at the first postgraduate year level (internship), or they may apply during their internship year in Internal Medicine. Applicants should apply through Gustavo Heudebert, M.D., Internal Medicine residency program director.


Admission Procedure (based on ACGME requirements) 

  1. Once completed, each candidate's application packet will be reviewed by Dr. Robin.

  2. Select candidates will be invited for interviews with members of the Genetics faculty.

  3. Dr. Robin and the members of the admissions committee will then make a decision on acceptance based on the interviews and application packet.

Residency Schedule


Medical genetics clinical training is accomplished through resident's active participation at a variety of general and subspecialty clinics, coverage of the consultation service, exposure to the clinical laboratories, and completion of readings for each rotation. These experiences occur during the first 18 months of the two-year genetics residency training program, with the final six months dedicated to research activities. Through participation in these rotations the resident will be exposed to the spectrum of genetic evaluation, testing, diagnosis, counseling, and management of genetic diseases; and gain an appreciation for the natural history of genetic disorders and the value of multidisciplinary clinics in the management of genetic disease.

The UAB Medical Genetics Residency Training Program's clinical rotations are carried out in designated one- to three-month blocks. In Year 1 there are two three-month blocks designated as Inpatient/Consultation and six one-month blocks designated as Outpatient. The first six months of Year 2 consist of three clinical laboratory rotations (cytogenetics, molecular genomics, and biochemical genetics), with the second half consisting of a six-month block for research activities. While patient care responsibilities are the focus of Year 1, the resident will continue to be engaged in patient care activities in Year 2 by maintaining a regular residents' clinic two half-days per month; clinical elective rotations; participating in the metabolism service during the biochemical genetics laboratory rotation; and regular on-call responsibilities.

Sample Rotation Schedule

Year One


Outpatient I

  • General Genetics

  • Prenatal Genetics 


Inpatient/Consults I

  • TCH clinics (Cleft/Craniofacial, Bone) 


Outpatient II

  • Cancer Genetics

  • General Genetics

  • Prenatal/Cancer Genetics 


Inpatient/Consults II

  • TCH clinics (Cleft/Craniofacial, Bone) 

All year

Residents' genetics clinic (two half-days per month)


Year Two


Cytogenics Lab


Medical Genomics Lab




Biochemical Lab





All year

Residents' genetics clinic (two half-days per month)

Working hours, vacation, and leave(pdf)


Two months are designated as clinical elective time. These can be used for a variety pursuits, but they must be clinical—not research—activities. The resident must discuss the proposed use of elective time with the program director at least two months in advance of the rotation.

Appropriate uses of elective time

Elective time can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used to supplement areas in which the resident feels less confident. For example, the resident could chose to spend an additional month in pediatric, cancer, metabolism, or prenatal genetics, or some combination thereof. (Note: A resident may be asked to do this if the program director feels that the resident needs the additional educational time in a specific clinical discipline to reach a high level of competence.)

The resident also can design a time during which they attend a variety of clinics to which they may have limited or no exposure during their scheduled rotations. Other examples include prenatal pathology, adult genetics (cardiovascular, lipid, and adult cystic fibrosis), and neurogenetics (muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Huntington disease clinics).

The resident can spend additional time in any of the clinical laboratories. This must be done with the permission of the laboratory director.

Away electives (rotations at other institutions) are permitted. The program director must be notified in advance (within about six months) of the start of the proposed elective, and permission must be granted in writing for this rotation to count towards the resident's required clinical training. Either the rotation must satisfy a clinical interest that is not represented at UAB or there must be another compelling reason to do this. The resident must make all the necessary arrangements for this elective and is responsible for the cost (travel, housing, etc.).

On-Call Duty Hours and Responsibilities

During the first year, regular working hours are generally 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, it is expected that the resident will spend time outside these hours reading, reviewing patient records, and working on clinic notes. Later in the year, other activities, such as writing manuscripts, preparing presentations, and research are expected as well. Each resident is on call six months of year 1 of genetics training, in two three-month blocks (see above). Responsibilities of the on-call resident include: staffing all requests for inpatient consultation, including the clinical genetics and metabolism services*; answering phone consultations; and attending the specialty clinics at the Children's Hospital of Alabama (TCH) (Cleft, Craniofacial, and Bone Disorders). The responsibilities of the inpatient service take precedence to attending these clinics. In addition, while on the consultation rotation, the resident should attend pediatric morning report, which is held each weekday at 7:45 a.m. in the physician's dining room on the first floor of TCH. 

(*Note: During the months when there is a second-year resident on biochemical genetics rotation, the second-year resident will take first call on metabolism consults in the hospital and by phone. The first-year resident should make every effort to participate in these consults, however.)

The on-call resident will take call from home during evenings and weekends for inpatient consultations or to answer questions from referring physicians, and is required to be available by pager 24 hours a day, seven days a week (able to respond to a page within 15 minutes and get to TCH or UAB Hospital within one hour). An on-call attending is available for both clinical genetics and metabolism services 24/7 as well, and all after-hours calls must be discussed with the on-call attending. An attending physician typically will accompany the resident to consultations. A resident may switch on-call responsibilities (e.g., weekend coverage) with other residents with approval and notification of the on-call attending. While on the consultation service, the resident is guaranteed every other weekend and one night per week off duty. That time will be covered by other residents in Year 1 and 2, or the on-call attending (if there is no second resident or they are not available).

On-call responsibilities when not on consult rotation

During the 18 months when not on the consultation service, a resident will take call one weekend night (two per month in Year 1, one per month in Year 2) and one weekend per month.

Patient log

During their clinical months, the resident is required to maintain a log of their patients that includes the information required by the ABMG in their application for certification. The format for the patient logbook can be found at the American Board of Medical Genetics Web site (


Clinical Training

It is a primary goal of the UAB Medical Genetics Residency Training Program that a resident, regardless of long-term career goals, learn the clinical skills needed to be an accomplished practitioner of medical genetics. This includes extensive hands-on experience in clinical genetics, learning how to obtain information by taking a personal and family medical history, performing a detailed physical exam, ordering appropriate laboratory tests, interpreting the results, and synthesizing these into a unified plan. Other skills that will be obtained include carrying out treatment for select disorders, conducting clinical and/or laboratory-based research, writing manuscripts and research grants, organizing and delivering lectures and seminars to a wide variety of groups, and obtaining information about the specialty of medical genetics. A broad spectrum of clinical cases, conferences, and readings will cover general medical genetics, dysmorphology and teratology, metabolism, adult genetics, cancer genetics, neurogenetics, prenatal screening and diagnosis, and molecular, biochemical, and cytogenetics laboratory technology.

Residents are supervised by an attending genetics physician during all patient encounters. The attending is actively involved in the patient care and is present during the main portion of the interaction. For some situations, such as some prenatal visits, the resident is supervised by the genetic counselor, and the attending is available in-house.

Clinical skills are gained during the clinical rotations described below. Details for each rotation can be found in Educational Goals and Objectives(pdf) or the Policy and Procedure Manual (pdf). The resident should be familiar with these and review them prior to each rotation.

Clinical Faculty

Nathaniel H. Robin, M.D. Clinical Genetics
Director, Medical Genetics Residency Program
Bruce R. Korf, M.D., Ph.D. Clinical Genetics
Chair, Department of Genetics
Director, Medical Genomics Laboratory
Maria Descartes, M.D. Clinical Genetics and Metabolism
Andrew Carroll, Ph.D. Director, Cytogenetics Laboratory
Ludwine Messiaen, Ph.D. Director, Medical Genomics Laboratory
S. Lane Rutledge, M.D. Metabolism
Director, Clinical Genetics Services
Edward J. Lose, M.D.
Clinical Genetics
Fady Mikail, M.D., Ph.D. 
Co Director, Postnatal Cytogenetics Laboratory
Christina Hurst, M.S., CGC 
Certified Genetic Counselor
Katie Nelson, M.S., CGC 
Certified Genetic Counselor
Fallon Brewer, M.D., CGC 
Certified Genetic Counselor
Chandni Khudai, M.S., CGC 
Certified Genetic Counselor
Meagan Farmer, M.S., CGC 
Certified Genetic Counselor

Policy and Procedure Manual

You can view the full manual (including all the information about this program) in Adobe PDF format. If you wish to download it to your desktop, right click on the link below. Go to "save as" and choice the location of where you want the file to be saved. (If you do not have a PDF viewer, please download one at no charge from Adobe.)

Policy and Procedure Manual


Sandra Pilkinton
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Department of Genetics
Kaul 210, 720 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294
Phone: (205) 975-6867
Fax: (205) 975-6390