Medical and Public Health Laboratory Microbiology

The UCLA CPEP fellowship experience is designed to provide comprehensive training to well-qualified academically-oriented individuals that will prepare them for careers as directors of clinical microbiology or public health laboratories. The content and extent of training is tailored to each individual entering the program according to their unique background and interests. Rarely, however, will the length of the program be other than 2 years, or the time spent in the major training areas be outside the ranges suggested by the ABMM-CPEP. The training occurs primarily in the UCLA Clinical Microbiology laboratory. Training in the clinical aspects of infectious disease occurs at the West Los Angeles Veterans' Administration Medical Center and at the Westwood Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

The first year is heavily oriented toward the fundamental laboratory aspects of diagnostic microbiology, occupying approximately 70% of the fellow's time. Although much of this time is spent on the bench, integral parts of this include presentations during laboratory rounds, case follow-up, and consultations with clinicians. The remaining 30% is divided among research (15%), clinical rounds (5-10%), and formal course and seminar attendance (5-10%), running concurrent with the section rotations

This schedule is influenced by the fact that most fellows elect to complete a year-long state accredited training program (at UCLA) leading to a limited license in Medical Technology. The state of California requires individuals holding doctoral degrees to be licensed before they can be employed in a laboratory to perform diagnostic tests and assume a position directing a laboratory.

In addition to the more "classic" aspects of diagnostic microbiology, the training includes the following:
Use of the laboratory computerized recording and reporting systems; evaluation and use of automated systems including transport, infection control, blood donor testing, laboratory inspections, attention to appropriate specimen collection and handling; use of various immunologic and molecular methods for direct detection and/or rapid identification of pathogens; cellular immunologic methods, including flow cytometry; and internal and external quality control or performance improvement methods.

The experience at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center provides an opportunity to see a patient population, institutional structure, and approaches to laboratory practice in a medical facility with characteristics different from those of the UCLA Health System. The Public Health rotation is at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Fellows observe the technical and administrative aspects of public health microbiology, its interactions with hospital-based laboratories as well as state and national agencies, and participate in onsite public health investigations. On the infection control rotation, the fellow will work with the hospital infection control practitioners including nurse-epidemiologists and physician director. In addition, fellows will be guest members of the Hospital Infection Control Committee throughout their second year. The clinical infectious disease rotation will be with the adult and pediatric ID services at UCLA. While on the above-mentioned West Los Angeles VA lab rotation, fellows will attend ID rounds there daily.

Attendance at administrative and clinical meetings listed above continues in the second year, with fellows having the opportunity to plan conferences and to act as moderator. Under the guidance of the section chief or other appropriate member of the staff, the fellow is given primary responsibility for investigating current technical, clinical, or administrative issues or problems facing the laboratory and devising approaches to their resolution. Fellows are also kept abreast of and included when possible, in ongoing major administrative and management issues.

Fellows are encouraged to become involved with research projects during the first year, and to continue these on a more active basis during the second year. Research may be conducted in any area with any of the staff, or on a collaborative basis with faculty in other departments. This is expected to lead to one or more abstracts and papers for which the fellow is the principle author. Projects are undertaken with the  advice and consent of the program directors. Fellows are given financial support to attend meetings at which they present abstracts.


The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is located on the UCLA campus in West Los Angeles, and consists of a 500-bed inpatient and large outpatient care facilities. Other medical school and biomedical research facilities including a bookstore and library are adjacent. The Microbiology Laboratory at UCLA encompasses nearly 13,000 square feet in a nearby offsite facility adjacent to the VA. The Microbiology Laboratory is one of four sections of the UCLA Medical Center Clinical Laboratory, administered by the Division of Laboratory Medicine. Faculty member assigned to the Microbiology section full time is: Dr. Omai Garner D(ABMM), Associate Director and Section Chief, Clinical Microbiology. Excluding faculty, the laboratory staff numbers 43 full time equivalent employees, 29 of whom are microbiologists with Bachelors degrees at the technical level, 3 with PhDs, and 9 with Masters degrees. Approximately 270,000 specimens are handled annually. Fellows have designated desk and bench space and ready access in the laboratory to current microbiology and infectious disease texts and journals, and to computers with word processing, database and graphics software.

The following is the amount of time spent in the first year in various sections of the laboratory at UCLA if a fellow is in the limited license program:

Immunology and Serology2

Fellows also attend the following regularly scheduled conferences:

Clinical Microbiology Seminarweekly 1 hr
Director's Conferenceweekly 1 hr
Plate rounds with Pediatric ID teamweekly 45 min
Bench rounds3/week, 1/2 hour
Teaching seminars with Pathology Residentsmonthly 1 hr
Combined Clinical Infectious Disease Roundsmonthly 1-1/2 hr

Together, these conferences provide the fellow with a broad and continuing exposure to current and relevant aspects of clinical microbiology administration and management, the pathology, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestation of infectious diseases, and the role of the laboratory in patient management.

During the second year, scheduled rotations are as follows:

West Los Angeles VA Laboratory3
Public Health Laboratory3
Infection Control (UCLA)0.5
Infectious Disease Service (UCLA)2.5


Applications are considered from qualified candidates with PhD, ScD, MD, DrPH, DVM, and DO, or DDS degrees who are U.S. citizens or hold a valid immigration visa that permits employment for more than one year. Applicants must have completed their doctoral degrees within the past 10 years and have no more than three years of cumulative postdoctoral research experience (NOT including medical residencies or clinical appointments).


Two years, 4 weeks vacation/year.


Fellows are paid a competitive annual stipend. Health benefits are also provided.

Non-Discrimination Clause

Selection for this position will be based solely on merit, without discrimination for non-merit reasons such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, politics, marital status, sexual orientation, age or membership or non-membership in an employee organization.


The items listed below constitute a complete application:

  1. The initial application form from the American Society of Microbiology Web site for the Postdoctoral Fellowship
  2. A letter of intent, including a statement of your reasons for applying and long term career goals, with names of individuals who will be sending letters of reference. In either your letter or CV please describe experience relevant to interpersonal and/or administrative skills, teaching, and medical microbiology.

    If not a US citizen, please indicate visa status. UCLA does not sponsor HB1 visas. J-1 visas cannot be extended beyond a third year, if one was previously obtained within a specified time frame.
  3. Letters of reference from three individuals most capable of assessing your potential.
  4. Official transcripts from graduate and undergraduate schools attended.

    Please note that the State of California requires that all non-US credentials are authenticated by "Current Members" of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) before they will issue a training license. For a list of current members, please visit the NACES website at For other information regarding licensure in the State of California, please review the California Laboratory Field Services website.
  5. A current CV and bibliography.
  6. Address, telephone, FAX, and email numbers for future correspondence.

    We accept completed applications between June 1st and September 1st and will notify by September 30th whether we will continue the application process with an interview for a position the following year. Candidates must pay their own transportation costs to Los Angeles for the interview. Please feel free to contact me for any additional information. I look forward to hearing from you.


Omai B. Garner, Ph.D., D(ABMM)


Inquiries may be directed to:
Victoria Amador | Email
Student Affairs Coordinator