Laboratory and Genomic Medicine

​Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine
Ronald W. McLawhon, M.D., Ph.D., Division Chief

For more than four decades, the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine has been a nationally-recognized leader and driving force in one of the two major academic disciplines of the field of pathology…specifically, clinical pathology. With over twenty full- and part-time faculty physicians and clinical scientists, we are at the forefront of advancing UC San Diego Health's tripartite mission by providing state-of-the-art clinical care, innovation and excellence in biomedical research, and comprehensive education in diagnostic medicine and therapeutics.

The Division is responsible for overseeing UC San Diego Health's Clinical Laboratories, which collectively perform over 13 million reportable diagnostic tests on 2 million patient specimens annually.  Our wide array of clinical services support UC San Diego Health's Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla and Hillcrest Medical Center (with a combined licensed capacity of 808 beds)—including a Level I trauma and burn center and the region's only NCI-comprehensive cancer center—and over 1 million outpatient visits each year at UC San Diego Health's Physician Group and CommUnity Care locations. The Clinical Laboratories also serve as regional referral/outreach resource for other hospitals and clinical integration network partners in a five-county region in Southern California and Mexico, and provides testing for the regional organ procurement organization, Lifesharing, that supports all transplantation programs in the greater San Diego metro area.

The majority of the Division and its faculty are primarily based at the Center of Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM), which is located one mile from the Jacobs Medical Center and the University's main campus in La Jolla.  This 90,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility opened in 2012, and performs most of the routine outpatient testing and all specialized, esoteric testing as the hub of our hub-and-spoke service delivery model for UC San Diego Health.  Rapid Response Laboratories (for STAT and priority testing) and two full-service Blood Banks remain at each tertiary, acute care teaching hospital to address the complex, high-acuity inpatient and outpatient needs on the La Jolla-East and Hillcrest medical campuses.

All faculty in the Division are engaged in some type of investigative and scholarly activity—whether its clinically-applied, translational, or basic biomedical research—and, a majority also have extramural funding through grants, contracts, and industry-based clinical trial support. Approximately one-third of our faculty are tenure-track physicians and physician-scientists who have maintained NIH-funded research laboratories on the Health Sciences main campus.

Noteworthy accomplishments by Laboratory and Genomic Medicine faculty include establishing centers of excellence in clinical mass spectrometry, clinical genomics/precision medicine, molecular microbiology/emerging pathogens (including pandemic preparedness), immunogenetics/transplantation sciences, and laboratory automation/robotics. The CALM was actually one of the first U.S. academic laboratories to develop clinical applications for next-generation sequencing (NGS) of solid and hematolymphoid neoplasms for diagnosis/targeted therapy, characterization of inherited genetic disorders such as cardiomyopathies/ion channelopathies, and for use in HLA typing in bone marrow and solid organ transplantation. We were also responsible for establishing the first advanced cellular therapy laboratory at UC San Diego to handle CAR-T cell and other emerging gene-based and cellular biologics.

During the recent COVID-19 public health emergency, several of our faculty were widely acknowledged at the federal, state, and local levels for leading the way in developing and rapidly deploying novel laboratory technologies (both molecular and serologic) for the detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 infections, variant identification, and adaptive immune responses, as well as for their key contributions to the understanding of potential risks and benefits of different therapeutic management approaches (e.g., convalescent plasma).  Over one million COVID-19 tests have been performed at the CALM, since the earliest days of the pandemic in March 2020.

Faculty in the Division actively support undergraduate and graduate medical education, the training of PhD clinical scientists and visiting scholars, and also participate in a NAACLS-accredited Medical Laboratory Scientist training program through the UCSD Extension.  Electives in various subspecialties in laboratory medicine/clinical pathology are available for medical students, inside and outside of UC San Diego.  Pathology residents (both AP/CP and CP only) spend an immersive, full-year on core laboratory medicine rotations, with subsequent rotations devoted to gaining progressive experience including serving in laboratory management roles and with ample opportunities for intensive subspecialty electives and participation in research. 

Current clinical fellowships include ACGME-accredited one-year programs in Hematopathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology for subspecialty certification by the American Board of Pathology, and a two-year ComACC-accredited program in Clinical Chemistry.  The Division also participated previously in Laboratory Genetics and Genomics training pathway accredited by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.  Additional clinical fellowships are currently under development.

Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine Faculty
Ronald W. McLawhon, M.D., Ph.D. - Division Chief

Clinical Chemistry
Michael J. Kelner, M.D., M.S. - Director
Robert Fitzgerald, Ph.D.
Raymond Suhandynata, Ph.D.
David N. Bailey, M.D.
Ronald W. McLawhon, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Genomics and Molecular Pathology
Wei Song, M.D., Ph.D. - Director
Richard Wong, M.D., Ph.D.
Jae Elkind, M.D., M.P.H.

Coagulation and Hemostasis
Dzung T. Le, M.D., Ph.D. - Director
Steven L. Gonias, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Hematology and Hematopathology
Huan-You Wang, M.D., Ph.D. - Director
Michelle Don, M.D., M.S.
Richard Wong, M.D., Ph.D.
Erik Ames, M.D., Ph.D.
Kyle Backer, M.D.
Xiangdong (Don) Xu, M.D., Ph.D.

Diagnostic Immunology and Flow Cytometry
Jack Bui, M.D., Ph.D. - Director

Immunogenetics and Transplantation (HLA)
Gerald P. Morris, M.D., Ph.D. - Director
Patricia Kopko, M.D.
Deanna Fang, M.D.
Amena Usmani, M.D., M.B.A.

Medical Genetics and Genomics
Sarah Murray, Ph.D. - Director
Marie Dell'Aquila, Ph.D. - Director Emeritus 
Kiely James, Ph.D. (effective 8/2023)

Clinical Microbiology and Virology
David T. Pride, M.D., Ph.D. - Director
Sharon L. Reed, M.D. - Director Emeritus
Aaron Carlin, M.D., Ph.D.
Ahnika Kline, M.D. Ph.D.

Point-of-Care Testing and Satellite Laboratories
Dzung T. Le, M.D., Ph.D. - Director
David N. Bailey, M.D. - Director

Stem Cell Processing and Cellular Therapy
Jack Bui, M.D., Ph.D. - Director

Clinical Toxicology and Mass Spectrometry
Robert L. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. - Director
David N. Bailey, M.D.
Michael J. Kelner, M.D., M.S. 
Raymond Suhandynata, Ph.D.

Transfusion Medicine and Blood Banking
Patricia Kopko, M.D. - Director
Elizabeth Allen, M.D.
Laura Stephens, M.D.​
Dzung Le, M.D., Ph.D.
Deanna Fang, M.D.
Amena Usmani, M.D., M.B.A.