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Physician-Scientist Track — CP

For clinical pathologists in academic centers or larger community hospitals, practice usually involves running one or more clinical laboratories; e.g., blood bank and apheresis, clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology , microbiology and virology, molecular diagnostics.

In the academic center, research work integrates extraordinarily well with clinical pathology practice, making this career path especially attractive to physician-scientists. In many medical disciplines, the universe of knowledge needed for state-of-the-art clinical care is growing substantially independently of the expanding universe of bench research, but in pathology, the life of the physician and the life of the scientist remain very closely entwined.

Although emergencies occasionally arise, the majority of one's clinical activities can be planned in advance so that time devoted to bench work can be optimized and carried out without disturbance. In addition, many clinical laboratory issues often directly relate to the work done at the research bench (optimization of a PCR-based assay, understanding "false positives," image analysis interpretation, and so forth). Similarly, much of the consultative and interpretive work in Laboratory Medicine is rooted in an appreciation of basic scientific principles.

During residency training, it is often possible to complete the core clinical training in an 18-24 month block and devote a significant portion of one's additional residency time to begin (or continue) scientific investigations. This is possible because the body of knowledge needed to be a clinical pathologist physician overlaps significantly with that needed to be a scientist (including both an understanding of the scientific basis of disease and administrative skills involved in running a laboratory.)