Application of Molecular Techniques in the Clinical Laboratory

The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory offers a two-week Molecular Pathology Practicum once every month at their clinical diagnostics laboratory on the MCV Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University; teaching knowledge and skills. Please take the time to review Molecular Diagnostics Clinical Services.  


Our two week Practicum provides you with instruction, skills development and hands-on experience in clinical laboratory molecular techniques. Topics and techniques include:

  • Methods to isolate DNA from clinical samples
  • Preparation of nucleic acid probes
  • Molecular hybridization
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Sequencing
  • Next Generation Sequencing

We emphasize the use of these techniques in oncology, microbiology, and genetics.


The Practicum developed out of a series of seminars given at biannual meetings of the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Beginning in 1990 our Program Directors, Dr. Garrett and Dr. Ferreira-Gonzalez, in collaboration with the Center for Advanced Training in Cellular and Molecular Biology (CATCMB) in Washington DC, developed a laboratory course in the diagnostic use of molecular techniques. The one-week course was expanded into a very successful two-week course given at the George Washington University. The present practicum is an expanded update of that course. It has provided experience and insight into the growing utilization of molecular diagnostics techniques.

Molecular Diagnostics Practicum

Application of Molecular Techniques in the Clinical Laboratory

Practicum Course Schedule 

One course is held every other month. Additional course is possible upon request. Schedule is subject to change from session to session. Dates are not final. 

2024 Practicum Dates

1/8 – 1/19

2/19 – 3/1

3/18 – 3/29

4/15 – 4/26

6/3 – 6/14

7/8 – 7/19

9/9 – 9/20

10/7 – 10/18

11/4 – 11/15

12/9 – 12/20

Contact Information/Special Accommodations:

Guoyan Gao, M.S.
Practicum Coordinator
Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
Office: (804) 628-2578
Fax: (804) 827-4738

Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, ethnic origin, or disability.

Practicum Registration & Application

The fee for this two-week Practicum is $2,700.00 (US Funds). Payment may be made with check, credit card, or purchase order. Please register as early as possible so we can guarantee your first choice. The application must be received 21 days prior to the start of the session for which you are registering.

The registration fee, less 10%, will be refunded for cancellations received in writing, postmarked or faxed less than 14 days prior to the beginning of the practicum session.

Enrollment is limited to two participants per session. Please make checks payable to Department of Pathology Virginia Commonwealth University.

Download the Practicum Application (pdf)


Through didactic presentations and laboratory work, you will understand practice issues involved in molecular diagnostics, molecular genetics and get the experience you need to analyze and apply them.

Upon completion of our Practicum, you will be able to:

  • Understand the basic vocabulary and concepts of molecular diagnostics. Perform the following techniques: DNA extraction, RNA extraction, PCR, RT-PCR, Real time PCR, Sanger sequencing and next generation sequencing (NGS). Interpret test results and troubleshoot assays. Identify areas of Pathology where molecular techniques can be used.
  • Develop a plan to apply molecular diagnostic and molecular genomics techniques in your workplace.


References available upon request.

Leadership and Contacts

Chair of Molecular Diagnostics Division: Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, PhD

Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, PhD

Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, PhD

Chair, Division of Molecular Diagnostics

Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, PhD

Andrea Ferreira-Gonzalez, PhD

Chair, Division of Molecular Diagnostics


Professor of Pathology; Chair of Molecular Diagnostics Division

Phone: (804) 828-9564

Fax: (804) 825-4738


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