medical students

Medical Students

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Overview for Prospective Medical Students

Electives in Pathology provide students an excellent way of broadening their knowledge of medicine and determining their level of interest in the specialty. Most pathology electives give students first hand knowledge of the central role pathology plays in the diagnosis of disease, and as such, are valuable for students going into almost any clinical specialty.

Both general and subspecialty electives in Pathology are available. Electives in anatomic pathology focus on morphologic and histologic diagnosis, while those in the clinical laboratory illustrate the effective use and interpretation of laboratory testing. Research electives provide insight into basic pathogenesis of disease. Students who have already made a firm decision to enter postgraduate training in Pathology should contact an advisor in the department to gain assistance in planning a balanced elective program.

How to Apply

Students must complete a registration form for each elective experience in order to receive academic credit. The forms are available from the Registrar's Office. After completing an elective registration form, the student must have it signed by the course director. Students are expected to consult with their advisors about their academic program at regular intervals.

It is the responsibility of the student to see that the Elective Registration Form is completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office in a timely manner.

A triplicate form with copies for the course director, the student, and the Registrar's Office is used register for all elective activities. The deadline for submission of elective registration forms is one month before the start of each quarter.

For more information, please refer to the complete Electives Book.

Visiting medical students (from other institutions), please contact [email protected].

Types of Electives

  • Service Electives: Students may choose one of the many divisions of anatomic or clinical pathology to spend a month (or two) as a sub-intern.
  • Research Electives: Students may do clinical or basic research in any of the divisions of anatomic or clinical pathology. Guidance may be from a particular pathologist or from the division as a group.

Elective Course Descriptions

Medical students at Johns Hopkins are offered various elective courses.

Adjustments Due to Global COVID-19 Pandemic: JHUSOM medical students converted to a Block schedule in summer 2020 due to curriculum changes necessitated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. During AY2020-21 we are operating on a block calendar where a half block (3-3.5 weeks in length) is equivalent to a half quarter (4-4.5 weeks). Specific questions about the academic calendar, quarter, or block schedule can be directed to [email protected] for JH medical students or [email protected] for visiting medical students.

Autopsy Pathology - JHH

Course Type: Clinical Elective

Department/Division: Pathology/Autopsy Pathology

Course Director: Dr. Avi Rosenberg

Phone: 410-955-3765

Faculty: Dr. Rosenberg, Dr. David Nauen, others

Availability/Duration: Throughout the year, but timing requires pre-approval by Course Director. Available as either a full quarter rotation or as a one month rotation if followed by pathology elective.

Prerequisite(s): Completion of Genes to Society

Drop Period: 2 months

Description: Students are trained to function as first year house officers on the autopsy service. They become responsible for work-up and sign-out of their cases and in other respects participate fully in the life of the department. There are informal case conferences at the autopsy table and at multi headed microscopes. Students have the opportunity to present cases at departmental and interdepartmental conferences or to write cases for publication. Brief supplementary exposures to other aspects of pathology (general surgery pathology, surgical pathology subspecialties, forensic pathology, and clinical pathology) are offered to students who enroll for a full quarter.

Blood Bank / Transfusion Medicine

Course Type: Tutorial or Clerkship

Department/Division: Pathology/Transfusion Medicine

Course Director: Dr. Evan Bloch

Phone: 410-614-4246

Contact: Lorraine Blagg - 410-502-9584 or [email protected] / Dr. Herleen Rai - [email protected]

Faculty: Dr. Herleen Rai and technical staff

Availability/Duration: All year, usually 1 month.

Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Pathology

Drop Period: 1 month

Description: This course provides an opportunity for medical students to gain experience in transfusion medicine {TM} in one of the largest and most academically productive TM services in the country. Students will learn about different types of blood products (I.e. indications, manipulation and management of adverse effects) as well as approaches to patients with complex transfusion requirements (e.g. hyperhemolysis, severe alloimmunization) or who are unwilling to be transfused. Students will have an active role in clinical consultations in the TM and apheresis services. Those with an interest in research are encouraged – but not required – to pursue projects with the TM faculty and technical staff. Collectively, this elective will enhance the ability to manage patients in diverse clinical settings. It is particularly recommended for students who are interested in pathology, surgery, anesthesiology, hematology, oncology, and intensive care medicine.

Clerkship in Surgical Pathology – JHH

Course Type: Clinical Clerkship

Department/Division: Surgical Pathology

Course Director: Dr. Marissa White - [email protected]

Phone: 410-614-3653

Faculty: Dr. White and staff

Availability/Duration: All year; ½ quarter or negotiable as arranged with course director; Visiting Medical Students accepted upon approval of course director

Prerequisite(s): Completion of Introduction to Pathology or Genes to Society

Drop Period: 2 months

Description: Students are trained in the techniques of general surgical pathology and then become responsible for the gross description, gross dissection, and microscopic examination of their assigned cases. Students are supervised by faculty members and senior residents, and they participate in all conference activities in the division. The elective exposes the student to a variety of modern techniques employed in the pathologic diagnosis of medical and surgical diseases and increases their awareness and understanding of the role played by surgical pathology in patient management. There are opportunities for exposure to other diagnostic pathology services (e.g., cytopathology and neuropathology)

Clinical Chemistry

Course Type: Tutorial

Department/Division: Pathology/Clinical Chemistry

Course Director: Dr. Daniel Chan

Phone: 410-955-2674

Faculty: Dr. Chan and staff

Availability/Duration: all year; to be arranged with instructor

Prerequisite(s): Third or fourth year medical student; completion of Introduction to Pathology

Drop Period: 1 month


Description: This course will provide an introduction to the clinical and research activities of the Clinical Chemistry Division. Clinical aspects will focus on the analytical methods, quality assurance and the clinical interpretation of biochemical, immunological, and proteomics tests. Laboratories include: automated chemistry, critical care, emergency department, immunoassay for hormones and tumor markers, toxicology, and therapeutic drug monitoring. Research aspects will focus on clinical proteomics through interaction with the biomarker discovery laboratory. Students will meet with individual faculty members, attend laboratory meetings, rotate in the laboratories and be involved in research projects

Diagnostic Cytopathology

Course Type: Clinical Clerkship

Department/Division: Cytopathology

Course Director: Dr. Syed Z. Ali

Phone: 410-955-1180

Faculty: Dr. Syed Z. Ali and staff

Availability/Duration: One quarter or shorter; arrange with course director

Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Pathology.

Drop Period: 1 month


Description: An opportunity to learn about the clinical significance of morphologic changes in cells and other elements of the cytologic specimen in health and in disease. The materials utilized are specimens from the Johns Hopkins Hospital Diagnostic Cytopathology Service, including Pap tests and biopsies from the Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Service. There will be an active correlation of the clinico-radiologic, cytomorphologic and histopathologic findings and follow-up information..

Equitable Healthcare - Virtual

Course Type: Other

Department/Division: Pathology and Oncology

Course Directors: Dr. Marissa J. White - [email protected] and Dr. Richard Ambinder - [email protected]

Availability/Duration: Next Course Offering to be determined.

Prerequisite(s): Completion of Internal Medicine core clerkship

Drop Period: N/A


Description: This course is a 2-week virtual clinical experience for students to engage in clinical and learning opportunities in the field of Surgical Pathology and Medical Oncology. It is designed for students who have already completed an Internal Medicine core clerkship and plan to apply into either Pathology or Internal Medicine residency, or wish to learn more about the multi-disciplinary management of cancer. The course will consist of a shared, universal curriculum that will cover topics such as health disparities, global health, LGBTQIA+ health, telemedicine, palliative care, and community resources in Baltimore. The morning specialty-specific curriculum will explore equitable healthcare within Surgical Pathology and Medical Oncology through lectures, independent review and team discussion of digital histologic slides, and team discussion of Medical Oncology problem sets, allowing students to refine their skills while networking with residents and faculty.

Fellowship Year in Pathology

Course Type: Other

Department/Division: Pathology

Course Director: Dr. Ralph Hruban - [email protected]

Phone: 410-955-9790

Description: A special one-year fellowship for medical students in good standing who have completed their second year in an accredited medical school. This fellowship is highly competitive and it is designed to give the student an in-depth learning experience in pathology. The fellowship is research-based, and the research can be either be anatomic or clinical pathology. The research is performed under the direction of a faculty mentor. In addition, the student is expected to participate in departmental conferences, meetings, and teaching activities. One year of credit toward board certification in pathology may be received for this fellowship.

Availability/Duration: Up to 2 fellowships per year. Contact Dr. Hruban or any faculty member for additional information; one year duration.

Prerequisite(s): Pathology A-1

Drop Period: N/A

Forensic Pathology - Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

Course Type: Other

Department/Division: Pathology

Course Director: Dr. Nikki Mourtzinos, Program Director, 900 West Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21223 (BioPark)

Phone: 410-333-3353

Availability/Duration: All year; 4 weeks or one quarter; only one student rotating at any given time unless approved. To request approval contact Eleanor Thomas at 410-333-8159 or [email protected]. Visiting medical students must follow JHUSOM quarter dates

Prerequisite(s): Completion of Introduction to Pathology

Drop Period: 1 month

Description: Students will acquire first-hand knowledge of legal medicine by participating in regular functions of the Office of the Chief Medical examiner. Included are investigations of sudden, unexpected, and violent deaths, autopsy procedures, and toxicological and histological studies. Students are encouraged (after adequate orientation) to assist at autopsies, to participate in on-the-scene investigations, and to observe staff members testifying in court. They participate in daily rounds, lectures, and seminars. There are also opportunities to participate in on-going research projects centered on forensic pathology.

Gynecologic Pathology

Course Type: Tutorial

Department/Division: Gynecologic Pathology

Course Director: Dr. Russell Vang

Dr. Russell Vang and faculty

Availability/Duration: Negotiable; also offered as a 4 week elective.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of Instructor

Drop Period: 1 month

Description: Students observe and participate in the gross and histological assessment of gynecologic pathology specimens under the supervision of residents, fellows, and attendings.

Medical Microbiology

Course Type: Other (Laboratory Rotation)

Department/Division: Microbiology

Course Director: Dr. Karen Carroll

Phone: 410-955-5077 (Paula Mister)

Faculty: Dr. Karen Carroll and faculty within the Division of Medical Microbiology

Availability/Duration: All year; 4 weeks, limited to two students per quarter

Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of Microbiology

Drop Period: 1 month

Description: Laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases and detection of antimicrobial resistance. Visiting Medical Students accepted upon approval of Course Director and must arrange times directly with the Education Coordinator, Paula Mister.

This course will emphasize all facets of diagnostic testing. The student will review specimen collection guidelines as they pertain to microbiology samples. Diagnostic methods and specific technologies for detection of a broad range of clinically significant pathogens will be learned. Susceptibility testing methods including tests designed to detect resistance mechanisms will be covered. A major objective is to provide correlation of laboratory information with disease presentations in patients through a dynamic interface with healthcare providers and other divisions within the Department of Pathology. Learning objectives are fulfilled through bench rotations in the laboratory, daily work rounds, didactics, and interdisciplinary conferences.


Course Type: Tutorial


Course Director:
Dr. Juan Troncoso

Phone: 410-955-5632

Faculty: Drs. Juan Troncoso, David Nauen, Charles Eberhart, Fausto Rodriguez, and Meaghan Morris

Availability/Duration: 1 month or longer; visiting medical students must follow JHUSOM quarter dates

Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Pathology. Approved neuroanatomy and histology.

Drop Period: 1 month


Description: An opportunity to learn the fundamentals of diagnostic neuropathology. The student will examine brain and spinal cord specimens obtained at Hopkins and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and will also participate in the evaluation of surgical neuropathology specimens from the inpatient and outside consultation services. Self-study materials and individual tutoring sessions on special topics in neuropathology are available. Students are encouraged to identify small research projects in their areas of interest. This experience is recommended for students interested in pathology, neurology and neurosurgery.

Surgical Pathology at Bayview

Course Type: Clinical Clerkship

Department/Division: Pathology

Course Directors: Dr. Kevan Salimian

Phone: 410-550-4253

Availability/Duration: All year; ½ quarter or full quarter; Visiting Medical Students accepted upon approval of Course Director

Prerequisite(s): Introduction to Pathology or Genes to Society

Drop Period: 2 months

Description: This course offers an opportunity to see and experience at first hand a wide spectrum of activities in anatomic pathology. Students will rotate in Surgical Pathology, functioning at the level of a first year resident in pathology. The student will perform gross dissections, dictate clinical summaries, review microscopic sections and sign out the surgical pathologic material under senior staff supervision.

Virtual Surgical Pathology

Course Type: Clinical Clerkship

Department/Division: Pathology

Course Directors: Dr. Marissa White

Phone: 410-614-3964 or [email protected]

Availability/Duration: All year; ½ quarter or negotiable as arranged with course director; Visiting Medical Students accepted upon approval of course director

Prerequisite(s): N/A

Drop Period: 1 month

Description: Online surgical pathology student rotation for medical students who have completed the pre-clinical curriculum. This case-based rotation is designed to simulate a surgical pathology resident experience, and will include remote previewing and sign-out of scanned cases multiple times per week with surgical pathology faculty and/or senior residents. Assigned reading will guide independent or group case previewing. Rotators will also be expected to attend surgical pathology meetings hosted on Zoom including pathology grand rounds, daily QA conferences, live sign-outs, and resident lectures. Rotators will be evaluated at the end of the rotation in the form of a brief 10 minute presentation on a pathology topic and a short assessment. At the end of the course students will:

  • Summarize the role of a general surgical pathologist as a member of the multidisciplinary care team
  • List the defining histologic features of several common pathologic entities
  • Demonstrate how to determine the pathologic stage for an oncologic resection
  • Describe how to approach assessing biopsy specimens


Faculty Research Interests
Syed Ali Cytopathology; digital photoimaging; web-based teaching tools
Robert Anders Tumor immunology, tumor immune microenvironment, liver and gastrointestinal pathology
Lois Arend Pathology of native and transplanted kidney
Pedram Argani Breast cancer, gall bladder, and bile duct carcinomas; pediatric renal tumors
Serena Bagnasco Pathology of native and transplanted kidney
Alexander Baras Machine learning/artificial intelligence applied to biological sequences and biomedical imaging; urological and gynecological pathology
Denise Batista Prenatal and Postnatal Clinical Cytogenetics; Chromosome Microarray; delineation of genetic syndromes
Evan Bloch Transfusion transmitted infections; Babesiosis; global blood transfusion safety; international health
Michael Borowitz Leukemia and lymphoma, especially pediatric leukemia; flow cytometry
Karen Carroll Diagnostic test development and evaluation for bacteria with emphasis on healthcare associated infections
Patrizio Caturegli Autoimmune diseases; thyroiditis; hypophysitis; mouse models
Daniel Chan Tumor markers; proteomics; immunoassay
Daniela Čiháková Immunology, cardiac inflammation, myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, myocardial infarction, T cells, Macrophages, Innate lymophioid cells, cytokines
Ashley Cimino-Mathews Breast cancer, tumor immune microenvironment
William Clarke Therapeutic drug monitoring; clinical toxicology; drug assay development, point-of-care testing
Angelo De Marzo Molecular pathogenesis of prostate cancer
Charles Eberhart Pathogenesis of brain and eye tumors
Jonathan Epstein Genitourinary pathology
James Eshleman Early detection of pancreatic cancer; genes causing familial pancreatic cancer; liquid biopsy for patients with solid tumors; targeting cancer based on its genotype; novel molecular tools for cancer
Susan Eshleman HIV genetic diversity, transmission and drug resistance; novel methods for HIV analysis
Mary Glenn Fowler Prevention of mother and child transmission of HIV; treatment of pediatric HIV infection; and prevention among high risk adolescents and women in international settings
Edward Gabrielson Molecular pathology of breast and lung cancer
Christopher Gocke Molecular diagnostics and hematopathology
Michael Goggins Pancreatic cancer, particularly early detection; cancer genetics; cancer epigenetics
Mary Kate Grabowski Human immunodeficiency virus, epidemiology, pathogen phylogenetics, international health
Marc Halushka Cellular expression and cardiovascular disease
Abdu Hamad Type I diabetes, underlying mechanisms and innovative therapeutic strategies, role of B cells and Natural killer T-cells
Ralph Hruban Cancer of the pancreas
Chien-Fu Hung Cancer vaccine; immunotherapy; DNA vaccine
Peter Illei Pulmonary pathology and cytopathology
Aaron James Bone biology, bone repair, mesenchymal stem cells, bone tumors
Thomas Kickler Hemostasis/thrombotic disorders
Claire Knezevic Critical care testing, TDM/toxicology, Mass Spectrometry
Vassilis Koliatsos Traumatic brain injury, traumatic axonopathy; stem cell therapies for neural injury
Scott Krummey Transplant immunology, high-dimensional flow cytometry for immune profiling of transplant patient populations, histocompatibility, HLA antibody testing
H. Benjamin Larman High throughput molecular assay development, human immunology, autoimmunity
Tatianna Larman Intestinal epithelial biology, intestinal stem cell niche homeostasis, early colorectal cancer pathogenesis, GI/liver/soft tissue pathology
Anne Le Metabolism of disease and metabolomics technologies
Qing Kay Li Biomarkers in lung cancer and prostate cancer
Tong Li Molecular biology of neurobiological diseases
Ming-Tseh Lin Molecular diagnosis of solid tumor
Tamara Lotan Prognostic and predictive molecular biomarkers for prostate cancer; PTEN/Pi3k/mTOR signaling in development and tumorigenesis; genitourinary pathology
Zahra Maleki Cytopathology; Lung Neoplasms, Salivary Gland and Head and Neck Cytopathology
Joseph Mankowski Comparative pathology and viral pathogenesis; neuroimmunology
Lee Martin Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease; mitochondria; stroke; neonatal brain ischemia; cell death; apoptosis-necrosis continuum; motor neuron disease; transgenic mice
Mark Mazinke Analytical pharmacology, laboratory automation, precision medicine and pharmacogenetics
Andres Matoso Urologic pathology including rare tumors and bladder cancer
Alan Meeker Molecular pathology and telomere biology of prostate and other cancers
Heba Mostafa Diagnostic Molecular Virology, Viral Surveillance and Evolution
David Nauen Structure and function of human hippocampus
Kiyoko Oshima Liver and biliary pathology, liver transplant pathology
Nicole Parrish Antibiotic development; use of natural compounds as antimicrobials and the basis for synthetic scaffolds; diagnostic development for rapid detection of antimicrobial resistance; understanding antibiotic consumption and the relationship to development of antimicrobial resistance in both pathogens and commensal organisms
Nicholas Roberts Pancreatic cancer, inherited cancer, in vitro and in vivo cancer models
Richard Roden Cervical cancer; ovarian cancer; papillomavirus; vaccine development; virology
Fausto Rodriguez Surgical neuropathology and pediatric brain tumors
Brigitte Ronnett Gynecologic pathology
Max Rosario Corona Virus T cell vaccines and NK cell immunology
Scheherazade Sadegh-Nasseri Molecular mechanisms of Antigen Processing in relation to autoimmune diseases, HIV, memory T cell longevity, and vaccine designs
Alena Sovonenko Cognitive deficits in animal models of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and schizophrenia; testing experimental treatments for these diseases; their mechanisms, safety, and side effects
Jonathan Schneck Basic mechanisms controlling T-cell mediated immune responses; cellular engineering; adoptive immunotherapy; cellular microarray-based high-throughput analysis of immune responses
Karen Sfanos Cancer biology; prostate cancer
Ie-Ming Shih Molecular events that drive precursor lesion to invasive cancer; Molecular targets for new therapy by exploring caner genomics; Integrated proteogenomic analysis of human cancer
Trish Simner Clinical microbiology, antimicrobial resistance and novel diagnostic tools for infectious diseases
Lori Sokoll Clinical chemistry; tumor markers; immunoassays
Charles Steenbergen Cardiac pathology; myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury and cardio protection
Shuying Sun Neurodegenerative diseases and RNA metabolism
Elizabeth Thompson Pancreatic tumors, tumor immune microenvironment, immune response to different stages of neoplasia
Aaron Tobian Transfusion medicine and HIV
Juan Troncoso Neuropathology of normal aging, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease with emphasis on morphological and biochemical studies of human postmortem tissues. My laboratory has access to >2500 autopsy brains, with fixed and frozen tissues, of neurodegenerative diseases and controls (30 to 65 years of age)
Chris VandenBussche Genitourinary pathology; ancillary testing in small biopsy specimens; cytomorphologic digital analysis
Russel Vang Gynecologic pathology
Tian-Li Wang DNA damage repair in cancer development; Chromatin remodeling in ovarian cancer; Cancer stem cell study; Innovative cancer detection using body fluid
Philip Wong Molecular mechanisms and mouse models of neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases; experimental therapeutics
Laura Wood Cancer genomics; pancreatic and liver cancers; gastrointestinal and liver pathology
T.C. Wu Cancer, immunotherapy for HPV associated malignancies and other gynecological cancers; molecular pathology and DNA vaccines
Rena Xian B-cell lymphoma genomics, next-generation sequencing, non-invasive diagnostics, viral-associated lymphomas
Deyin Xing Diagnosis and molecular pathogenesis of gynecologic neoplastic and non-neoplastic lesions
Mark Zarella Digital pathology, Human interpretable machine learning using histology images
Hui Zhang Developing and applying high-throughput mass spectrometric technologies and data analysis pipeline for multiomics characterization of proteins and protein phosphorylation/glycosylation
Sean Zhang Medical mycology; molecular diagnosis of fungal infections
Zhen Zhang Bioinformatics; biomarker discovery; computational methods for expression data analysis; biomarkers for ovarian cancer
Ying Zou Characterization of chromosomal structural abnormalities in leukemia and lymphoma using cytogenomics methods; Fluorescence in situ hybridization