Do you like solving puzzles? How about being a detective? If your answer is “yes”, you may be interested in Medical Laboratory Science. Our job is to work with patient specimens and help identify what is wrong or identify a disease process going on in the patient. We help clinicians solve problems happening with patients and help the patient get the proper treatment for various diseases.
In Microbiology, we utilize a variety of methods to identify microorganisms in all types of specimen sources from urine to blood. One of our main cultures is the identification of Streptococcus pyogenes the cause of “strep throat.” We utilize the DNA in the organism to identify the pathogen from a swab of a patient’s throat. Any positive result could potentially be harmful to the patient and all positive patients receive antibiotics to treat this infection. Many people have had or heard of urinary tract infections. We take the urine specimen in the lab and inoculate it to agar plates that help the organisms to grow. After overnight incubation, we look at the inoculated plates and identify any organisms that are growing.
These two examples are just a brief selection of what a medical laboratory science professional can do. If you are interested in Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology or Transfusion Medicine this is the right place to start. This is a great career choice or a great place to start and move on to medical school or physician assistant (PA) school. Mayo School of Health Sciences has its own Medical Laboratory Science program.