Owing to great advances in biomedicine and technology, the role of medical laboratory specialists in patient care and management has gained great momentum in recent years. The wide array of diagnostic lab tests performed by the diagnostic lab in any health care facility is a cornerstone upon which physicians and practitioners base their professional decisions as to how to treat and manage patients. Hence, there is a growing need for highly qualified senior lab practitioners who could oversee the work of specialist and ensure the highest level of quality. Hospitals and other health care facilities as well as accrediting entities consider it a pre-requisite for any medical diagnosis lab to be supervised by competent and well-trained individuals.
The department of Medical Lab Sciences at the University of Sharjah prides itself on being one of few academic departments in the UAE and the Gulf Region to train competent medical lab scientists. However, as junior professionals, it takes our graduates many years of practice to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to work as senior lab managers. Additionally, there are batteries of advanced and technically-challenging biochemical and molecular tests that need special training and can only be conducted by senior specialists. The proposed program is designed in such a way to help prospective students to develop the theoretical background and technical skills needed for such professional roles through tailor-made theoretical and practical courses. Students will also acquire the theoretical and practical experience in lab quality control and quality assurance by enrolling in compulsory courses designed to help them achieve this goal.
Gaining enough proficiency to be an effective liaison of the profession, be it with medical teams at their facility, government agencies, public and private health care sectors, or quality control/assurance entities requires much deeper knowledge and experience than what a regular undergraduate training program in medical lab sciences would usually provide.
The objectives of the proposed program are:
- Advance the training of graduates of medical lab sciences and related fields in core specialties of the profession (clinical chemistry, microbiology, clinical immunology, hematopathology , cytogenetics and Lab management)
- Enable enrolled students to develop the necessary scientific background and technical skills to carry out productive basic as well as community-health type research.
- Ensure that all enrolled students will develop the set of skills needed to devise, develop and run tailor-made quality control and quality assurance protocols and programs at the workplace. Essentials of institutional and external (national and international) certification and accreditation programs and inner-workings will also be part of this training component.
1.1. Program Credit Hours
|Total Credit Hours
i. Compulsory Courses (all to be offered by the
of Medical Lab Sciences)
||Advanced Clinical Chemistry
||Cytology and Cytogenetics
||Advanced Clinical Immunology
||Advanced Lab techniques
||Sp. Topics in Lab Management
ii. Elective Courses (the student will choose any two of these courses to complete their graduation requirements)
|These courses are offered as in the MSc program in Molecular Medicine and Translational Research
||Biology and Genetics of Cancer Cells
||Selected Topics in Cell Biology
||Advanced Topics in Human Molecular Genetics
iii. (0501-623) Research Project:
Students to enroll in the proposed program will have to prepare an extensive graduation report based on actual research work conducted at the research labs of faculty supervising the student or field work under the supervision of a faculty members involved with the program. The report will account for (be equivalent to) 6 credit hours of the program and will have to be enrolled in during the fourth semester of the study program. It must be said that students will have an extensive lab rotation during the first semester of their second year while attending the Advanced Lab techniques practical training course. This will enable them to decide on the research project they want to pursue and the advisor who will supervise their research work.Special Admission Requirements
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- Advanced Clinical Chemistry: This course will be problem-solving case study and case scenario oriented. Students will learn how to perform, interpret and correlate clinical chemistry test results with multiple organ-related diseases, such as renal, hepatic, and endocrine diseases. Additionally, selected topics in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Toxicology, Trace elements, and Clinical Chemistry of Pediatric and Geriatric patients, will also be presented.
- Microbial Pathogenesis: the objective of the course is to provide students with a background in the mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and an appreciation of the continuing and serious impact of infectious disease on modern life. Students will learn basic principles of host-parasite interactions and how human behavior has influenced both the resurgence of old diseases and the emergence of new ones. Intervention strategies, including vaccination and drug therapy, will be discussed, and reasons for the successes and failures of these approaches will be considered for individual cases. Finally, paradigms of host-parasite interactions will be illustrated by studying, at the molecular and cellular levels, specific infectious diseases and the agents that cause them.
- Advance clinical immunology: this course will extend on the basic immunological knowledge which has been acquired by the students in the bachelor degree. MLS master students will gain advanced insights on the principles and mechanisms of the immune system and immune responses against infections, malignancy and in immunological disorders. In this context, students will learn about assays and techniques employed in the clinical immunology laboratory and used in diagnosing these disorders. Principles of immunotherapy will be addressed as well.
- Hematopathology: this course will be focusing on training our candidates on peripheral and bone marrow smears; laboratory and morphological hematology; coagulation; the laboratory approach to the diagnosis of benign and malignant hematology disorders; flow cytometric immunophenatyping, hematological cytochemistry and immunohistochemistry; Molecular diagnostics and cytogenetic mechanisms of hematological disorders.
- Graduate Seminar: this one credit course is intended to give students practice speaking in front of an audience and to explore topics of their own choosing in detail. Students will research topics and organize presentations for the audience. The topics may be in any aspect of the Medical Laboratory Sciences and must be approved by the instructor in advance. To help students improve as speakers, at the end of all seminars, students will receive feedback from fellow students and their instructor, and discuss and comment on performances in general.
- Advanced Lab Techniques: this course provides insight into advanced laboratory techniques with practical applications. Students will be rotating in research labs to gain real-life experience and gain various lab capacities. These include but not limited to: DNA and RNA preparation, bacterial transformations, gel electrophoresis, PCR and real time PCR, Histopathological techniques, Immunohistochemistry and immunefluorescence, Western Blotting, Flow cytometry, tissue culture, Cell manipulation, transformation and cytotoxicity assays.
- Cytology and Cytogenetics: the first part of this course will cover the practice of diagnostic cytology and specimen preparation as applied by medical lab technologist in the diagnostic cytology laboratory. Diagnostic principles and skills pertinent and limited to "cytology screeners" will be introduced. The second part of this course will cover the practice of cytogentics including metaphase preparation, classical banding, molecular cytogenetics, fluorescent-based chromosome labeling methods and karyotype analysis. Common karyotype aberrations and applications of cytogenetics in diagnosis of genetic diseases and malignancies will be covered.
- Sp. Topics in Lab Management: the students will learn how to use clinical and technical correlation as quality assurance tools to detect patient testing errors. Students also will be introduced to new diagnostic technology applied in medical laboratories, as well as learning how to select, evaluate, design, and perform validation methods on new chemistry instrumentation or analytical methods. Interrelated topics in the medical laboratory including workload management, designing and implementing quality assurance programs, budgeting laboratory operations, applying GLP, and adherence to safety measures, all will be presented in the course.
- Research Methods: this course will enable students to further their understanding of scientific research through critical exploration of the various elements and components of research. It will introduce students to the language of research, the ethical principles and challenges in research, and the elements of the research process within quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches. The students will have the opportunity to review the various approaches scientists in different disciplines use to investigate specific research problems. Knowledge and skills students acquire during introductory lectures and class sessions will be help them to critically review the scientific literature in their field of study.
- Selected topics in cancer biology: this course will focus on understanding the underlying genetic and molecular changes of uncontrolled cell growth and metastasis. Topics include: genetic mutations, heredity, immune system dysfunctions, hormonal imbalances, oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and epigenetics.
- Selected topics in cell biology: this course will focus on the understanding of cells. Topics covered will include understanding of abnormalities in genetic material that lead to cancer, the effects of carcinogens on cells, cell cycle control programmed cell death and regulation of the immune system
- Bioinformatics: This course will focus on the application of information technology to the field of molecular biology. Topics include: detailed studies on methods of genome analysis and modeling, sequence analysis, analysis of mutations in cancer, prediction of protein structure and high-throughput analysis.
- Advanced topics in Human Molecular Genetics: this course presents an overview of the genetic mapping of Mendelian and complex diseases and the identification of disease genes using a number of approaches. The students will analyze and assess the use of Linkage and association studies in mapping disease loci. The course also sheds light on the methods of genetic testing for allelic variants and the concept of population screening. Special emphasis will be given to mapping studies related to Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Students will conduct actual research work under the supervision of a research advisor in one of the core areas of the program (Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology, Hematology, Immunology, Cancer Biology). He/she will submit, present and defend their research work, as written in a thesis format, before a formal examination committee.