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The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is committed to the support of three IU School of Medicine Health Professions Programs.  The Clinical Laboratory Science and Cytotechnology programs each offer Bachelor of Science degrees and the Histotechnology program offers the option of a certificate program or an Associate’s degree. 

About Clinical Laboratory Science
Clinical laboratory science (formerly medical technology) is a dynamic, applied science-based profession focused on the accurate performance of laboratory testing procedures on biological samples from patients.  Examples of tasks performed by the clinical laboratory scientist include:

  • Analysis of body fluids (liver function, hormone levels, drug toxicity, etc.) 
  • Evaluation of cellular components of blood. (white cells, red cells, and platelet counts; hemoglobin; hematocrit; etc.) 
  • Preparation of blood components for patient therapy. (packed red blood cells, platelet concentrates, plasma, etc.) 
  • Isolation and identification of microorganisms. ( bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, parasites from various body sites, and antibiotic susceptibility testing for bacteria.) 

Clinical laboratory scientists may choose to specialize in areas such as blood banking, chemistry, coagulation, hematology, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, or virology.  Other areas of specialization include administration, computer science, education, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, research, and sales.  Post-graduate education is not necessary to practice; however, the Clinical Laboratory Science degree provides an excellent background for those students planning to attend medical school, dental school, pathology or other graduate programs.

Other Program Facts

  • Program was established in 1938.

  • Over 1100 students have graduated from the Indiana University Clinical Science Program.

  • The Indiana University Clinical Laboratory Program is accredited by National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720 Rosemont, Illinois, 60018-5119.

  • Graduates of the program have a greater than 95% passing rate on national certification examinations.

About Cytotechnology
Cytotechnology is the microscopic study of cell samples from various human body sites for the detection and diagnosis of disease. In certain organ systems, clinical cytology is used as a mass screening procedure to detect early precancerous changes. The best known example of this is the cervical "Pap" smear for carcinoma of the cervix. In other organ systems, for example the respiratory tract and urinary tract, it is used in a similar fashion on patients who are at high risk for developing cancer. Additionally, clinical cytology is used in most body sites to determine or help rule out the presence of cancer, determination of specific types of cancer, and their degree of differentiation.

Cytotechnologists are not limited to identifying only cancer. Through morphologic study of cells, diagnoses can be made of non-malignant tumors, inflammatory diseases and their microbiological causative agents, and other disease processes. Clinical cytology can also be used in the follow-up of patients on chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, post renal transplant patients, etc.

The cytotechnologist's responsibilities include microscopic examination of cytologic specimens and providing a specific interpretation of the state of disease in the specimen. Negative pap smears are signed out solely by the cytotechnologist, in most cases. All other cases are reviewed by the Pathologist. It is the Pathologist's responsibility to make the final diagnoses in these cases. Although there is limited direct patient contact in this field, the responsibility to the patient is extremely important. Close working relationships with other cytotechnologists and pathologists are common. The interaction with other physicians, health professionals and nurses will depend upon the specific employment situation.

About Histotechnology
Histotechnology is the dynamic and evolving art and science of applying chemicals and dyes to thin sections of tissue so that particular components of that sample can be demonstrated microscopically.  A proper diagnosis of a disease state begins with excellent histology.  Histology labs encompass all fields of laboratory science.  Chemistry or histochemistry of tissue, invasion of tissue structures by microorganisms and hematologic disorders in bone marrow biopsies and smears are all demonstrated by good histology techniques.  Workflow in the histology lab includes:

  • Fixation - preparation for maintaining existing form and structure of specimens
  • Tissue processing - bringing samples from a fixed state to support media so that thin sections can be obtained
  • Embedding - insures stability for microtomy and orientation of tissue for proper diagnosis view
  • Microtomy - cutting a section thin enough to be viewed under the microscope

Routine and special staining - importing color to the element to be studied so that visualization of detail and tissue structure at the light microscope level is possible.

Histologists must also know chemical compositions and how they react as well as tissue composition so that appropriate treatment of the tissue of interest is possible.  Distinguishing tissue structures through microscopic examination is also an important task of the histology employee.  Histotechnologists may also assist with or perform frozen sections, gross dissection and dictation/documentation.

Other Program Facts

  • Non-traditional distance education Histotechnology Program
  • Provides a link between the University and community based histopathology laboratories
  • Designed to meet health care manpower needs in urban and rural settings
  • Over 500 students have graduated since the inception of the program in 1995
  • Histotechnology Program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Graduates are eligible for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) Histotechnician exam

Dept. of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Administration Office | Van Nuys Medical Science Building | 635 Barnhill Drive, room A-128 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 Indiana University Health Pathology Laboratory: 350 W. 11th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202