Molecular Methods in Clinical Microbiology (A Historical Review) (Online CE Course)

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Author: Cathy Dragoni, MT(ASCP)SM
Reviewer: Julie Ann West, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, SM(ASCP)CM

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Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1.5 hour(s)
Approved through 10/31/2024
Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel Credit Hours - General (Microbiology/Mycology/Parasitology): 1.5 hour(s)
Approved through 10/31/2024


  • Describe some of the history of molecular methods and their introduction into the routine diagnostic laboratory.
  • Describe some of the advantages of molecular methods over traditional microbiology.
  • Describe the requirements and some of the challenges of implementing molecular methods in the setting of a routine clinical microbiology laboratory.
  • Describe the principles of the basic methods of molecular techniques.
  • Describe several assays of interest (and principles of reaction) for use in the field of infectious disease.

Customer Ratings

(based on 214 customer ratings)

Course Outline

Click on the links below to preview selected pages from this course.
  • Some History of Development
      • Prior to 1985
      • Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae
      • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Mycobacterium
      • Hepatitis and Viral Load Testing
      • Initially, why were molecular methods difficult to perform in routine clinical laboratories?
      • Why were Chlamydia and Neisseria logical targets for the development of a commercial molecular assay?
  • Potential Benefits of Molecular Methods over Traditional Microbiology
      • The Key Benefits: Improved Sensitivity of Detection
      • The Key Benefits: Improved Sensitivity of Detection, continued
      • The Key Benefits: Specificity of Identification
      • The Key Benefits: Reduced Turnaround Time
      • In traditional culture or antigen detection methods, the sensitivity of detection is adversely affected by which of the following?
      • Why can molecular methods offer improved turnaround times over-cultivation methods?
  • Challenges for Implementing Molecular Microbiology
      • Challenges for Implementation: Space Requirements
      • Challenges for Implementation: Separation of Key Activities
      • Challenges for Implementation: Workflow Requirements
      • Challenges for Implementation: Required Work Skills
      • Challenges for Implementation: Cost
      • Why is it important to consider work space and workflow design for molecular methods?
      • Molecular testing entails precise workflow requirements. Technologists must progress through a series of steps in a specific order to ensure quality r...
  • Definitions and Principles of Basic Methods
  • Application to Infectious Diseases
      • Assays of Interest
    • Assays of Interest for Infectious Disease [Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA)]
    • Assays of Interest for Infectious Disease [Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses]
      • Influenza: Prior Traditional Methods and the Need for Change
      • Introduction of Molecular Methods
      • 2009 H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)
      • Incremental Improvements for Influenza Testing
      • 2019 SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
      • Which statement about the 2009 H1N1 virus is TRUE?
      • Which statement is TRUE about the molecular methods made available under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) during 2009 H1N1?
    • Assays of Interest for Infectious Disease [Clostridioides difficile]
      • Clinical Significance of Clostridioides difficile
      • Previous Methodologies: Culture and Cell Cytotoxicity Neutralization Assay (CCNA)
      • Other Methodologies: Antigenic Detection of Toxin and Glutamate Dehydrogenase (GDH)
      • Molecular Methods
      • Example #1
      • Example #2
      • Other examples...
      • Several methods of detection are available for the detection of Clostridioides difficile (previously known as Clostridium difficile) in clinical sampl...
      • What statement is TRUE about the glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) assay for Clostridioides difficile?
  • The Future of Development
      • The Future ...
  • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Intermediate 
Intended audience: Medical laboratory scientists, medical technologists, and technicians working in the microbiology and molecular sections of the laboratory. This course is also appropriate for clinical laboratory microbiology and molecular department supervisors, medical laboratory science students, and pathology residents.
Author information: Catherine Dragoni, MT(ASCP)SM, received her BS degree in medical technology from the State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse. She began her career as a bench microbiologist at Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine. Currently, she has experience as the Assistant Chief Technologist of Microbiology and Molecular Pathology at NorDx Laboratories, Scarborough, Maine.
Reviewer Information: Dr. Julie Ann West is certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) and as a Specialist in Microbiology (SM). In addition, Dr. West has earned a PhD in Public Health - Infectious Disease Epidemiology - and is Certified in Public Health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Dr. West is experienced as a Technical Specialist, Safety Officer, Educator, and Lead in the Veterans Administration Healthcare System, and has prior experience as an Administrative Laboratory Director.
Course description: This course offers a historical look at the progression of molecular methods used in the clinical laboratory. The advantages of these molecular methods over traditional microbiology are discussed, along with the requirements and challenges faced during implementation in a routine clinical setting. Basic methods and molecular techniques are described, including the principle reactions of some assays of current interest for infectious diseases.

How to Subscribe
MLS & MLT Comprehensive CE Package
Includes 181 CE courses, most popular
$109Add to cart
Pick Your Courses
Up to 8 CE hours
$55Add to cart
Individual course$25Add to cart
24469 Multi-channel pipettors

FISH technique. (5)

H1N1 Influenza Virus photo taken in the CDC Influenza Virus Laboratory. (6)

PCR Reaction