Molecular Genetic Fellowship

About the Program

The fellowship program builds on the internationally recognized leadership of the University of Iowa in the field of human genetics and a state of the art Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory to provide a unique training experience in all areas of molecular pathology. The Molecular Pathology Laboratory serves as the primary site for molecular testing of genetic, infectious and neoplastic diseases from University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics as well as for regional, national and international clients.

We have over 30 diagnostic tests utilizing various methods including qualitative/quantitative PCR and real-time PCR, DNA sequencing, traditional and capillary electrophoresis and Southern blotting. The MGP fellowship includes six months of hands-on training in the Molecular Pathology Laboratory with special emphasis on molecular genetics, infectious disease and oncology, respectively. Another three to four months are spent predominantly in the Genetics Division of the Department of Pediatrics. This block includes two months of general genetics and a month of cytogenetics training. The Cytogenetics Laboratory will provide exposure to traditional cytogenetics, FISH and Comparative Genomic Hybridization using microarray technology. During these rotations the fellow functions as a junior attending, with levels of responsibility and supervision appropriate for level of training and experience. The fellow is also exposed to administrative aspects of directing a modern molecular diagnostics laboratory.

The remaining two-three months are spent with independent test development in the Molecular Pathology Laboratory or on basic research projects in any one of numerous laboratories associated with the program. The fellows are encouraged to use this time to obtain preliminary data serving as the basis for applications for career development grants from federal and private agencies.


What Pathology fellowships are available at Iowa?

There are fellowships available in surgical pathology, cytopathology, hematopathology, microbiology, blood/bank transfusion medicine, and molecular pathology.

How is vacation time handled?

Fellows have 15 weekday vacation days a year. Professional leave for meetings is negotiated on an individual basis. Leave is granted for National Board exams and American Board of Pathology exams but not for board preparation courses. For job interviews or board preparation courses, each house staff member will be allowed five working days of leave. Additional days taken for job interviews or board preparation courses must use vacation.

What about fringe benefits such as book/travel funds?

Each fellow is given $1500/year for books/journals, meetings or memberships. Travel to national conferences is paid for by the department for fellows presenting abstracts.

How well do Iowa fellows fare in finding jobs after training?

The established reputation of excellence in training at the University of Iowa, combined with the recent trend of increasing demand and aging of current pathologists, has meant a tremendous opportunity for fellows from our program. All departing fellows in recent years have had no difficulty getting offers for desirable positions in both academic and private settings.

Program Accreditation

The Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Information specific to program requirements for a pathology training program may be found at the ACGME’s Pathology Residency Review Committee.


Numerous conferences are available. The required conferences are listed below.

Name of Conference


Chromosome Conference Weekly
Clinical Pathology Morning Report Weekly
Human Genetics Journal Club Weekly
Infectious Disease Grand Rounds Weekly
Medical Genetic Meeting Weekly
Molecular Pathology Management Meeting Weekly
Molecular Genetic Pathology Didactics Weekly (May-June)
Pathology Grand Rounds Weekly





July 1   Sept. 25   Molecular Genetic Pathology – University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics Pathology Department
Rotations include molecular genetics, molecular infectious diseases, and molecular oncology.
Sept. 26 Oct. 23 Cytogenetics rotation – UI Stead Family Pediatrics Department
Oct. 24 Dec. 18 General Genetics and Cancer genetics – UI Stead Family Pediatric Department
Dec. 19 June 30 Molecular Genetic Pathology – UI Hospitals & Clinics Pathology Department
Rotations include molecular genetics, molecular infectious diseases, and molecular oncology.


Pathology has historically been defined by the intersection of laboratory science and clinical medicine. Each new advancement in science that has had an impact on diagnostic medicine has spawned a new area of "laboratory medicine", from the application of light microscopy to immunohistochemistry, from serology to flow cytometry, and molecular genetics. In order for a pathology department to lead, and not just follow, it must create and maintain "germinal centers" of those sciences related to human biology and pathobiology. This difficult and fragile process is called "research". It is the strength of our Pathology Department that this process has happened in the past. We are fully committed to its continuation.

Pathology Research Investigators

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying to the Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship Program, please send or email to Vicky Farrington-Howrey a cover letter, CAP Standardized Pathology Fellowship Application, current curriculum vitae, personal statement, medical school Dean’s letter, three letters of recommendation that include one from the Director of your Residency Program and two additional faculty, USMLE scores (steps 1, 2, and 3), copy of ECFMG certificate (applies to international medical graduates only), copy of Permanent Visa (if applicable), and copy of medical school diploma.

Applications will be accepted until fellowship position(s) are filled.

Priority Deadline

Applications are accepted in on an ongoing, rolling basis until fellowship positions are filled for any given fellowship year. Typically we begin to review applications approximately 18 months prior to the fellowship start date. Applications will continue to be accepted until fellowship position is filled.

Eligibility for Fellowship

Applications will be accepted from residents who are MD or MD/PhD and have residency training in Pathology or Medical Genetics.

Certification Requirements

Medical specialty certification in the United States is a voluntary process which serves multiple purposes for the trainee and the public.

Certification is

  • one mission of the training program to produce trainees who meet board eligibility criteria;
  • distinguishes a physician as someone with a distinct level of expertise;
  • provides more opportunities when applying for employment;
  • a commitment to life-long improvement for providing the best patient care; and
  • elevates physicians into the ranks of doctors committed to the highest standards of healthcare.

For more information visit the American Board of Pathology for specifics on board certification requirements.

The Interview

We will interview about 3-4 candidates for 1 position beginning in late September and ending by mid-March. Orientation for all new fellows begins on July 1, so you must be available for that start date and be licensed in Iowa by June 30.

I got an interview! Now what?

What should I expect the night before my interview?

The Fellowship Program Director and one or two additional faculty will join the candidate for dinner around 6 PM. Dress in casual attire but remember to bring/wear a coat/jacket appropriate for the weather.

This dinner is an opportunity for you to meet the faculty and have them answer any questions you may have. Don’t be shy about asking about the things that are on your mind.

What should I expect on the interview day?

The fellowship coordinator will meet you around 8:30 a.m. at the fountain entrance of the hospital and will escort you to your first interview. We suggest business attire for your interview day.

The components of your day will include: an overview of the fellowship program, individual meetings with the Head of the Pathology Department, Vice Chair of Educational Affairs, faculty and fellow(s) within the division. If there is a specific person you would like to visit with please let us know and we will try our best to accommodate your request.

Our People

Our people are the heart of our program. From the reception desk to the laboratory technicians, from the gross room to the molecular laboratory, from the blood bank to the FNA clinic, from the resident room to the faculty offices, you will find our people in our department interested and eager to help you become the best pathologist you can be.

At Iowa, you will be exposed to some of the best clinicians, teachers and clinicians in our profession. We provide high-powered opportunities for you to learn career-long lessons from these dedicated professionals while maintaining an open-door philosophy and collegial atmosphere.

Current Fellow

Vidya Nagrale, portrait

Vidya Nagrale, MBBS

6240F RCP
1-319-356-2104, pager #2422

Medical School: MBBS, Seth G.S. Medical College and King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India, 1991-1996
Residency:  Microbiology, Seth GS Medical College and King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India, 2001-2004
Residency: AP/CP, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, Chicago, 2010-2014
Fellowship: Oncologic Surgical Pathology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, N.Y., 2014-2015


Noureldin R, Athar S, Nagrale V, Gaba W:  Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) in renal transplant patient.  Clin Med (Lond) 2020;20(Suppl 2):S53-4

Nagrale V, Alduaij A, Alrustamani A,, Richard L:  Indolent primary effusion lymphoma.  eJHaem 2020:1-2

Nagrale V, Richard L:  g heavy chain disease.  Blood 2019;133(12):1382

Khoury T, Nagrale V, Opyrchal M, Peng X, Wang D, Yao S:  Prognostic significance of stromal versus intratumoral infiltrating lymphocytes in different subtypes of breast cancer treated with cytotoxic neoadjuvant chemotherapy.  Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol 2018;26(8):523-32

Khoury T, Peng X, Yan L, Wang D, Nagrale V:  Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in breast cancer:  Evaluating interobserver variability, heterogeneity, and fidelity of scoring core biopsies.  Am J Clin Pathol 2018;150(5):441-50

Past Fellows

Jhanvi Kanotra, portrait

Jhanvi Kanotra, MBBS (2021-2022)

MBBS:  Government Medical College, Srinagar, India, 2000-2006
Residency:  Family Medicine, Shanti Mukand Hospital, New Delhi
Residency:  AP/CP, Louisiana State University Health Center, New Orleans, 2016-2019; University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, 2019-2020
Current Position:  Clinical Pathology Faculty, Department of Pathology, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa

Rachel Starks, portrait

Rachel Starks, MD, PhD (2021-2022)

Graduate School: BS, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., 2000-2006
Medical School: MD, University of Kansas, Kan., 2010-2014
Residency: AP/CP, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, 2014-2018
Fellowship: Surgical Pathology Fellowship, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa 2018-2019
Current Position: Faculty, Sanford Imagenetics, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Jon Thomason, MD

Jon Thomason, MD (2019-2020)

Graduate School: BS, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan., 2000-2006
Medical School: MD, University of Kansas, Kan., 2010-2014
Residency: AP/CP, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, 2014-2018
Fellowship: Surgical Pathology Fellowship, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa 2018-2019
Current Position:  Pathologist, MAWD Pathology, Lenexa, Kans.

Harry Porterfield, DO (2018-2019)

Medical School: DO, Rocky Vista University, Parker, Colo., 2007-2012
Residency: AP/CP, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, 2012-2016
Fellowship: Medical Microbiology Fellowship, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, 2016-2017;
VA Quality Scholar Fellowship, Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Health System, Iowa City, Iowa, 2017-2018
Current Position: Pathologist, National Institutes of Health, NIH Clinical Center, Bethesda, Md.

Shahanawaz Jiwani

Shahanawaz “DJ” Jiwani, MBBS, PhD (2017-2018)

Medical School: Jawahar Medical Foundation's Annasaheb Chudaman Patil Memorial Medical College, Dhule, India, 2000-2005
MS/PhD: University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla., 2007-2012
Residency: AP/CP, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark., 2013-2017
Current Position: Faculty, National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Md.

Brian Chang

Briang Chang, MD (2016-2017)

Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2008
Residency: University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, 2011-2015
Fellowship: Chemical Pathology, William Beaumont Hospital, Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, Mich., 2015-2016
Current Position: Pathologist, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

Kimberly Cole, MD (2015-2016)

Medical School: State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University, College of Medicine, Syracuse, N.Y., 2006
Residency: AP/CP, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 2006-2010
Fellowship: Breast Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, 2010-2011
Current Position: Pathologist, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit

Jacqueline Lekostaj, MD, PhD (2014-2015)

Doctorate: Tumor Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, 2008
Medical School: Georgetown University, School of Medicine, Washington, 2010
Residency: AP/CP, McGaw Medical Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, 2010-2014
Current Position: Pathologist, Genoptix, Carlsbad, Calif.

Ling Gao, MD (2013-2014)

Medical School: Shandong Medical University, Jinan, Shandong, China, 1985
Residency: Internal Medicine, Affiliated Hospital of Shandong Medical University, Jinan, Shandong, China, 1987;
Anatomic Pathology, University of Chicago Hospital, Chicago, 2011-2012
Fellowship: Cytopathology, University of Chicago Hospital, 2012-2013
Current Position: Pathologist, Chicago

Anthony Snow, MD (2012-2013)

Medical School: Creighton University, School of Medicine, Omaha, Neb., 2008
Residency: AC/CP, Wake Forest University, Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C., 2012
Fellowship: Surgical Pathology, Brown University, Providence, R.I., 2013-2014
Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Department of Pathology, Iowa City, Iowa

Gabriel Caponetti

Gabriel Caponetti, MD (2011-2012)

Medical School: University of Buenos Aires, School of Medicine, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2003
Residency: AP/CP, Baystate Medical Center, Tufts University, School of Medicine, Springfield, Mass., 2009
Fellowship: Hematopathology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb., 2011
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.

Fellowship Leaders

Program Director

Deqin Ma, MD, PhD
     Deqin Ma, MD, PhD
     Clinical Associate Professor
     Pathology - C606 General Hospital
     200 Hawkins Drive
     Iowa City, IA 52242-1009
     Phone: 1-319-384-5700

Fellowship Coordinator

Vicky Farrington-Howrey
     Vicky Farrington-Howrey
     200 Hawkins Drive
     C684 General Hospital
     Iowa City, IA 52242
     Phone: 1-319-356-0319
     Fax: 319-384-9613

Key Faculty and Staff

Molecular Pathology Laboratory

Sharathkumar Bhagavathi, MBBS, MD
Molecular Genetic Pathology

Ma, Deqin, MD, PhD
Program Director, Molecular Genetic Pathology Fellowship Program and Director, Molecular Pathology Laboratories

Moore, Steven, MD, PhD
Neuromuscular Disease

Snow, Anthony, MD
Molecular Genetic Pathology

The Division of Medical of Genetics & Genomics

Berberich, Stan, PhD
Newborn Screening

Bernat, John, MD, PhD
Clinical Geneticist

Calhoun, Amy, MD
Clinical Geneticist

Darbro, Benjamin, MD, PhD

El-Shanti, Hatem, MB, BCh
Molecular Genetics/Director

Mathews, Katherine, MD
Neuromuscular Clinic/Director

Nagy, Jaime, PhD
Clinical Geneticist

Sheffield, Val, MD, PhD
Molecular Genetics

Sidhu, Alpa, MBBS, PhD
Clinical Geneticist

Smith, Richard, MD
Hearing Loss Clinic/Director

Stone, Edwin, MD, PhD
Eye Disease Clinic/Director

Associated Research Laboratories

Campbell, Kevin, PhD
Neuromuscular Disorders

Henry, Michael, PhD
Biology of Metastasis

Howe, James, MD
Pathogenesis of Colon Cancer Syndromes

Lentz, Steve, MD, PhD
Molecular Determinants of Blood Clotting

Mathews, Katherine, MD
Genetics of Neuromuscular Disorders

Moore, Steven, MD, PhD
Neuromuscular Disease

Murray, Jeffrey, MD
Genetics of Craniofacial Development

O’Dorisio, Sue, MD, PhD
Biology of Neuroblastomas

Sheffield, Val, MD, PhD
Genetics of Obesity

Smith, Richard, MD
Genetics of Hearing Defects

Stone, Edwin, MD, PhD
Genetics of Eye Disease

Waldschmidt, Thomas, PhD

Welsh, Michael, MD
Cystic Fibrosis Pathogenesis