Clinical Chemistry Fellowship


What program is the CCFP?

This Clinical Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (CCFP) prepares exceptional individuals with advanced degrees (Ph.D. or M.D.) for careers in Laboratory Medicine with emphasis in clinical chemistry, /toxicology, and translational clinical sciences. The program requires a minimum of two years for completion, however further third year training is encouraged. Participants are taught not only as specialists in clinical chemistry and toxicology but also as basic and clinical laboratory scientists. The major goal of this training is to prepare a candidate with sufficient practical experience to be a director of a clinical laboratory as well as a successful translational clinical laboratory scientist. Additionally, our goal is to prepare the candidate for board certification by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC). Combined training in the clinical chemistry laboratory with emphasis in obtaining basic and applied research experience provides a foundation to allow adaptation to future healthcare needs. This approach prepares the candidates for a career in healthcare disciplines including academic medicine, clinical practice or industry. The Clinical Chemistry Fellows Program specializes in:

  • Advanced Laboratory Medicine
  • Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Clinical Pharmacogenomics
  • Diagnostic Proteomics
  • Advanced Laboratory Research
The training program at the University of Louisville School of Medicine was founded in July of 1989 in the Department of Pathology under the direction of Dr. Roland Valdes Jr. This program has been accredited by COMACC since 1991. By 2018 the Program will have graduated 30 clinical laboratory scientists, many of whom are leaders in the profession. Moreover, during the course of its 25-plus year history, its graduates have been awarded more than 45 national awards during participation in national professional conferences reflecting the quality of their presentations, abstracts or posters.

Basic Rotations

A 12- to-16-week rotation with 12-weeks at ULH and one-to-two weeks at other selected program-affiliated hospitals. Fundamentals in all areas of Clinical Chemistry testing are taught– including analytical methods, proper collection and handling of specimens, and basics of diagnostic test selection and interpretation.

Advanced Rotations

These more advanced rotations are designed to allow trainees to focus on selected sub-specialties involving proteomic and genomic applications in laboratory medicine and, in general, consist of four months each. Elective rotations are available in molecular biology techniques, advanced toxicology, computer applications, and laboratory administration. A short rotation is also available in internal medicine. These rotations augment the knowledge gained through other learned activities. During the advanced rotations, the trainee, where applicable, engages in a clinical research project and may function as Acting director of a section of the clinical laboratory with the accompanying responsibilities.


A series of conferences designed to integrate knowledge in laboratory medicine and medical pathophysiology:

  • Weekly Clinical Chemistry seminars and journal clubs (discussion series). These cover the physiology, pathophysiology, analytical and biochemical aspects of testing using an organ-system approach. These sessions are provided by faculty members, advanced fellows, or invited faculty from other departments as appropriate. The current literature is also discussed.
  • Bi-Monthly case presentations (rounds). These alternate and complement the seminars above, centering around a case discussion of laboratory data pertinent to the care of the patient. Rounds are presented by the Clinical Chemistry Fellows and Residents in Laboratory Medicine.
  • Bi-Monthly Pathology Research Conferences presented by Faculty, Invited-Lecturers, and advanced Residents and Fellows.
  • Weekly, hour-long, Beeper Report (on-call) sessions (presented by individual on-call) and also Clinical Chemistry method development sessions are held to discuss real-time problem-solving issues in both medical and analytical categories thus integrating the practice of laboratory medicine.
  • Various other conferences held in the Medical School (medicine grand rounds, journal clubs, etc.) are available to the trainee.


Research is an integral part of the program. Trainees are expected to actively participate in both basic research projects as well as in developmental and clinical types of research. Presentation at professional venues and publications in profession journals by way of abstracts and manuscripts are expected.

On-Call Duties and Consultations

Clinical consultation is another important part of the training program. The Clinical Chemistry Laboratory offers an active consult service to aid in selecting tests, interpreting test results, determining whether unusual values are correct, resolving administrative matters or technical problems, etc. Clinical Chemistry Fellows and Pathology Residents are on-call (beeper) on a rotating basis to cover these responsibilities. This on-call program is intended to provide clinical service to the hospital physicians, staff, and medical technologists, teaching as well as learning opportunity for the fellows, and chances for interaction between fellows and clinical residents and staff. Participation in medical rounds, presentation at the beeper reports, and possible publication and follow-up of a selected number of calls are some of the benefits of the on-call system. These individuals also represent the clinical laboratories during the Department of Medicine morning reports.


Administrative training is an important part of the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program. During advanced rotations, the Fellows are assigned as Acting directors of specific areas in the clinical laboratory. They work closely with the supervisors in coordinating all aspects of those sections, including reporting of laboratory results, QC administration, proficiency testing, and budgeting matters related to cost analysis and personnel scheduling.


The trainee is involved in presentation of conferences during rounds, teaching of pathology residents during rotations in Clinical Chemistry and teaching of technologists during in-service sessions.

Clinical Facilities

ULH is a 400-bed full-service hospital with all medical specialties represented (except Pediatrics which is provided at affiliated hospitals - see below). ULH and the University of Louisville School of Medicine are located within the Louisville Medical Center complex. Other facilities include the Ambulatory Care Building, which houses most outpatient clinics, the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Other affiliated hospitals located in the complex are Jewish Hospital (466 beds) and the Norton Health Care System (Norton- Children’s Hospital; 500-plus beds). Hospitals affiliated with the Medical School Residency Training Programs include Jewish Hospital and Veterans

Administration Medical Center (423 beds, approximately 4-miles from the Louisville Medical Center). Through its faculty, the Clinical Chemistry Training Program has close ties with Jewish Hospital and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. In addition, ULH serves as a referral laboratory in the area of clinical toxicology testing for several other local hospitals.

Consideration for appointment to the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship requires a recently obtained (less than three years) doctoral degree from an accredited college in an appropriate field of biological sciences such as Biochemistry, Medicine, Molecular Biology, or Pharmacology. Previous coursework in chemistry and biology must be sufficient to qualify for the American Board of Clinical Chemistry board exam. A successful candidate will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. U.S. Citizenship or permanent residency status is required.

CCFP consideration for Candidacy

  • Earned doctorate (Ph.D., MD) or equivalent terminal degree from an accredited institution
  • Apply within 3 years from the earned doctorate degree
  • Have completed course-work requirements for sitting for ABCC Exam


  • US Citizenship or Permanent Residency status or equivalent
  • Submit updated CV (Resume) and letter of interest for preliminary evaluation prior to full application
The formal application package for the Clinical Chemistry Fellowship can be submitted year-round. It must include all of the following documents:
  • Letter of Interest
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Completed Application Form
  • Status of US Citizenship or Working Visa Required
The package is reviewed by a faculty selection committee. Qualified candidates will be invited for a formal visit and asked to provide a seminar. Please send application package documents via email to Mary Williams. Address the application package to: Roland Valdes, Jr., Ph.D. Director, Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program.
An annual stipend is provided. The dollar amount is based upon the candidate's applicable experience and the postgraduate medical residency scale ranging from PG-1 to PG-4.
  • Roland Valdes, Jr., Ph.D., DABCC, FAACC.
  • Program Director and Founder
  • Professor and former Senior Vice Chairman and Distinguished University Scholar
  • Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Dr. Valdes received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics from the University of Virginia in 1976 and postdoctoral training in Biochemistry (Gary Ackers, UVA 1976-1977) and Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology (John Savory, UVA 1977-1979). He was certified by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry in 1984 and maintains active NIH-funded research programs focusing on the development of advanced translational diagnostics in personalized precision medicine including pharmacogenetics. Dr. Valdes is actively engaged in the discovery, deployment and distribution of advanced translational diagnostics.

  • Mark Linder, Ph.D., DABCC, FAACC.
  • Co-Program Director and Professor
  • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Dr. Linder received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Louisville, has since been affiliated with the University of Louisville where he was a fellow in our Clinical Chemistry Program (now Board Certified by ABCC) and then continued to do a fellowship in Clinical Toxicology also at UofL. Dr. Linder directs an independent research program which focuses on pharmacogenetics and is funded by federal and non-federal sources.

  • Saeed A. Jortani, Ph.D., DABCC, FAACC.
  • Co-Program Director and Professor
  • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Director of Chemistry and Toxicology
  • University of Louisville Hospital Laboratory
  • Director of Forensic Toxicology Program
  • Director of Jortani Clinical Trials Laboratory

Dr. Jortani received his Ph.D. in Clinical and Forensic Toxicology from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his fellowship in clinical chemistry and toxicology with the University of Louisville's Clinical Chemistry Program. Dr. Jortani's research interests are epigenetics and biomarkers of environmentally-induced cancers, Post-Operative Personalized Pain Management. Dr. Jortani is also interested in the detection and measurement of drugs, therapeutics and poisons, herbal medicine poisonings, and the use of pharmacogenetics in postmortem investigations.

  • Ronald J. Elin, M.D., Ph.D., DABCC, FAACC.
  • Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Elin received an M.D. degree (1966) and a Ph.D. (1969) with a major in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. He was certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology in 1975 and certified by the American Board of Pathology in the subspecialty of Chemical Pathology and the American Board of Clinical Chemistry in 1980. He is Medical Director of the University of Louisville Hospital Laboratory. He has had a research interest in magnesium metabolism and host defense mechanisms during his entire career and has approximately 200 peer-reviewed publications. He is the Residency Program Director of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Louisville.

Other active teaching faculty include:

  • Tiffany Roberts, Ph.D, DABCC, DABHI
  • Assistant Clinical Professor
  • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • University of Louisville School of Medicine
Dr. Roberts obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology at Emory University. She then remained at Emory to complete two postdoctoral fellowships in Clinical Chemistry as well as Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Dr. Roberts has extensive clinical experience in transplant immunology and molecular diagnostics. Her research interests focus on quality control and patient safety within the histocompatibility laboratory.


  • Kristen K. Reynolds, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • University of Louisville School of Medicine

Dr. Reynolds obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UofL and completed two postdoctoral fellowships in Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology and Advanced Pharmacogenetics in our program. She has seventeen years clinical experience in laboratory management, clinical chemistry, toxicology, therapeutic drug monitoring, pharmacogenetics, and immunoassay R&D. She is a nationally recognized leader in the area of pharmacogenetics application to patient care.

What is Clinical Chemistry?

Currently we think of Clinical Chemistry as the application of biochemical scientific knowledge and techniques towards improving healthcare. Clinical Chemists are really “clinical biochemists, molecular biologists, pharmacologists, etc.” who study basic molecular mechanisms of disease, develop new biological markers and instrumentation, and provide laboratory analysis and professional advice to assist in diagnosis, prognosis, and other indices related to healthcare. As a discipline, it is a fundamental branch of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. More details can be obtained at the web sites for The American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.

What is Clinical Chemistry as a career for me?

Clinical Chemistry serves a pivotal role in the discovery, validation and application of novel biochemical findings in healthcare. As a discipline, Clinical Chemistry is diversified and permits doctoral-level individuals from many different scientific specialties to contribute in very meaningful ways to the healthcare system.
"From the initial discovery of a biological marker to the application at a patient’s bedside" is the best way to put this into perspective.... and you choose where you want to be in that continuum.

What are some novel scientific applications of Clinical Chemistry?

The discipline of Clinical Chemistry is in process of expanding greatly and the drivers are new technology linked to new discoveries of molecular mechanisms. Some examples of new areas include: pharmacogenomics, diagnostic proteomics, molecular diagnostics, application of bioinformatics, novel imaging techniques coupled with biochemical finding, to mention only a few!

How long will it take to prepare myself professionally in this discipline?

Typically, a postdoctoral fellowship in an accredited Clinical Chemistry program is a minimum of two years with some possibility of a third year of formal training. However, it is understood that, like all professional disciplines, continuous learning is a life-long endeavor, and our training teaches you how to prepare yourself for that challenge in future years.

What will this Clinical Chemistry Program do for my career?

For doctoral-level scientists it provides a rewarding alternative career-path involving learning many aspects of medicine which then permits you to bridge the gap between high level technologies, modern clinical biochemistry and their combined application to medical practice. This places you at the forefront of both developing and/or using the latest and most sophisticated novel physical or biochemical techniques adapted to healthcare.

What does Board Certification in Clinical Chemistry mean to me?

Board certification (such as the American Board of Clinical Chemistry [ABCC], or others available) establishes a recognized level of competence and enables you to compete very effectively for the many job avenues available to you after training. In addition, it places you in a category of professionals selected because of their demonstrated achievements including making you eligible for becoming a Fellow of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB). Our graduates are highly encouraged to take the board exams after completing our program.

What are my job-placement prospects after completing a ComACC-accredited Clinical Chemistry Fellowship Program?

Because of the wide focus in this training, several different kinds of career opportunities are usually available to individuals completing our Fellowship Program. These include, but are not limited to, placement in industry (developing assays or instrumentation, sales force, clinical trials, customer services), in hospitals as laboratory directors, in universities as faculty and clinical laboratory directors, at teaching institutions/associations, at healthcare management associations, at basic research institutions, at pharmaceutical companies. Some adjustments can be made to your training emphasis, depending on your particular career interest.

Norah Alghamdi, PhD
Ciera Sharp, Ph.D.

Erik Korte, PhD
Penn Muluhngwi, Ph.D.
Tyler De Lu Yin, Ph.D.
Chesinta Voma, Ph.D.
Lori Millner, Ph.D.
Trevor Pitcher, Ph.D.
Thomas Kampfrath, Ph.D.
Steven Truscott, Ph.D.
Mark P. Borgman, Ph.D
Sean L. Barnes, M.D., Ph.D
Mohammad Al-Ghoul, Ph.D.
Pamela Steele, PhD, MS, FACB
Kenneth Thenetu, Ph.D., FIMS, NRCC
Deanna DH Franke, Ph.D., DABCC
Marjorie Bon Homme, Ph.D., DABCC
Yusheng Zhu, Ph.D.
Ntei Abudu , Ph.D.
Kristen K. Reynolds, Ph.D.
Zakaria Ahmed, Ph.D.
Bonny L. (Bukaveckas) Van, Ph.D.
Ling Qiu, M.D., Ph.D.
Mohammed Attaelmannan, Ph.D.
Deborah A. Green, Ph.D. E
Zhiman (Tim) Cao, Ph.D.
Irina V. Kaplan, Ph.D. .
Nina Zolotrajova, Ph.D.
Saeed A. Jortani, Ph.D.
Andrea Rose, Ph.D., MBA
Gregory Hobbs, Ph.D.
Mark W. Linder, Ph.D.
P. Patrick Hess, Ph.D. (Deceased)
James J Miller, Ph.D. (Deceased)

Latosha Cowherd, C-TAGME
Program Coordinator
Department of Pathology
550 S. Jackson Street ACB, Education Suite, Room A1E17
Louisville, KY 40202

502) 852-8203