The Section of Chemical Pathology deals with the biochemical basis of diseases and biochemical tests for the purpose of diagnosis and management. It relates to all the medical specialties bringing together science and medicine. It is a large section with three consultants, one junior faculty member, one manager, two assistant managers and 40 well-trained and qualified technologists.
Consultants in the specialty have dual responsibilities; in addition to providing a reliable analytical service, they have an important clinical role wherein advice is provided on the management of patients with endocrine, metabolic and other hormonal disorders.
The Section has an effective internal and external quality control programme to ensure that consistently precise and accurate biochemical data is provided for both short- and long-term medical decision making. Currently, the Section participates in external quality assurance programmes from Bio-Rad, UK and College of American Pathologist.
Chemical pathology is a rapidly evolving field of clinical pathology in Pakistan. The residency programme in chemical pathology at AKU provides training in both chemical and applied chemical pathology. Residents rotate through medicine and outpatient clinics. In the laboratory, they learn to interpret and report tests relevant to clinical chemistry. They also participate in teaching, research, quality control and management aspects of the laboratory. The teaching scope also encompasses the interpretation of laboratory data, analytical techniques, instrumentation studies, evaluation of analytical methods, laboratory management including Quality Assurance, health and safety, competencies and clinical audits.
Knowledge regarding physiology, biochemistry, pathogenesis, patho-physiology, diagnosis, causes, classification and complications of diseases are acquired throughout training.
The clinical laboratory has a year-long, structured training programme for technologists. Faculty and residents of the Section participate and takes pride in teaching the technical staff of the clinical laboratory.
Scope of research and availability and variability of data in chemical pathology is enormous and second to none.
The residents are encouraged to develop scientific and research abilities by formulating research questions and developing appropriate experimental design. They are also encouraged to undertake analytically- and clinically-based research and/or development projects, design, cost, undertake and evaluate experiments, troubleshoot methods, make appropriate modifications and test for validity statistics appropriate to clinical and laboratory practice, write reports and maintain an enquiring attitude. The provision of library and IT facilities helps residents in critical review and appraisal of literature, assess the validity of data and experimental design and implement evidence-based chemical pathology.
Additionally, residents and technical staff are regularly encouraged to present an abstract or poster or publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal.
The research and development in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology is overseen by ethical committees. Project grant schemes and charitable research funding sources are highly recommended.