Purpose:  To help prepare cytotechnologists and clinical laboratory scientists to take the certification examination in Molecular Biology by providing instruction in molecular science, medical genetics, molecular methods and clinical applications of molecular-based diagnostic tests.

Educational Methods:  Online lectures and demonstrations of procedures.  Optional  on-site 2-day laboratory session to obtain “hand-on” training in commonly utilized molecular procedures.  Each of the modules includes  a  self-assessment exercise that includes questions at varying levels of difficulty simulating questions on the certification exam.

Text book:  Molecular Diagnostics, Fundamentals, Methods & Clinical Applications by Buckingham and Flaws, FA Davis Company, Philadelphia, 2007.

Module I:  Basic Molecular Biology

Educational Objectives:

  • Understand DNA chemistry, structure, replication
  • Understand RNA chemistry, function, transcription, genes
  • Understand protein chemistry, structure, translation

Contact hours:  10

CEU:  1.0             

Module II:  Medical Genetics and Molecular Methods

  1.  Medical Genetics

Educational Objectives:

  • Describe gene structure and function
  • Understand mutation types
  • Understand outcomes of specific mutations
  • Describe chromosomal structure
  • Describe and differentiate between genetic and chromosomal mutations
  1.  Methods used to purify, separate, detect, and analyze nucleic acids

Educational Objectives:

  • Describe the solid-phase approach for isolating cellular DNA
  • Describe the spectrophotometric method used to determine the quantity and quality of nucleic acid preparations
  • Calculate the concentration and yield of DNA or RNA from a given nucleic acid preparation
  • Describe the following hybridization procedures, their applications, advantages, and limitations:Southern blot analysis, In Situ Hybridization (ISH), Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization (FISH)
  • Describe 3 basic steps of PCR
  • List the components of a PCR reaction mix
  • Describe appropriate controls to include in a PCR assay
  • List the major advantages and disadvantages of PCR

Contact hours:  10

CEU:  1.0     

Module III:  Molecular Methods

  1. Methods used to amplify nucleic acids
  2. Signal amplification methods
  3. Molecular methods:  Detecting mutations

Educational Objectives (Sessions A-C):

  • Understand the role of HPV in cervical cancer and molecular testing
  • Describe and differentiate between assays used to detect HPV
  • List the advantages/disadvantages of each assay
  • Understand the significance of genotyping for high-risk HPV types 16 & 18
  • Explain the difference between nucleic acid amplification methods and signal amplification methods
  • Describe, differentiate between, and list clinical applications of nucleic amplification methods (PCR, nested PCR, real-time PCR, RT-PCR, multiplex PCR, transcription-based amplification systems)
  • Describe and differentiate between, and list clinical applications of signal amplification methods (branched DNA, hybrid capture, target capture, Invader)Discuss a variety of PCR-based and electrophoretic methods of analysis used to detect mutations, and list examples of clinical applications that use these technologies
  • List the methods that can be used to determine point mutations
  • List the factors affecting the sensitivity of mutation scanning assays

Contact hours:  10

CEU:  1.0     

Module IV:  Laboratory Operations

Part 1:  Quality Management

Part 2:  Predictive Value Theory

Part 3 (Optional):  2 day hands on laboratory session (on-campus)

Educational Objectives (Parts 1 & 2):

  • Differentiate quality assurance and quality control
  • Define terms associated with quality assurance and quality control
  • Describe CLIA regulations regarding molecular diagnostic testing
  • Differentiate preanalytical, analytical and postanalytical phases of quality assurance
  • Propose qppropriate preanalytical, analytical, and postanalytical practices for molecular diagnostic testing
  • Discuss validation procedures for molecular diagnostic testing
  • Describe predictive value theory as it relates to a clinical setting

Contact hours: 10- 30

CEU:      1-3

   Continuing Education Modules in Molecular Diagnostics Registration Form 

Please contact Dr. Vivian Pijuan-Thompson at
pijuan@uab.edu for further information.