Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

UCLA pathologists assist with diagnoses and conduct research that helps expand treatment options.

Scientists working in a lab
A doctor holding a beaker in lab.

Why choose UCLA Health for pathology and laboratory medicine?

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is an integral part of both the research and clinical programs at UCLA Health. Not only do we assist with diagnoses, but we also conduct research and clinical trials to expand care options. Highlights of our department include:  

Diagnostic expertise: Each month, our team analyzes about 500,000 tissue samples, including about 10,000 biopsies. Our expert pathologists are an essential part of guiding diagnoses, patient care and treatment decisions across multiple UCLA Health programs and departments.

Clinical research: A crucial aspect of our division is our research efforts. We are constantly learning more about tumors, genetics and how your genetic makeup can affect your treatment plan. Being active in research and finding new therapies translates directly to better patient care.  

Commitment to education: At UCLA Health, we are dedicated to training the next generation of leaders. Because we train others, we are continuously learning new techniques and staying on top of the latest advancements in our field. In our department, we have multiple training programs for residents, fellows, researchers and allied health professionals.

Expanded access to care: The Center for Telepathology and Digital Pathology allows us to work from a distance. We use state-of-the-art technology to exchange laboratory images from around the world for diagnosis, education and research. This service expands access for patients, allowing us to provide pathology consultations around the country and world.  

What is pathology?

Pathologists evaluate disease causes and characteristics. Often, they act as a bridge between scientific research and the care you receive in the clinic.

Pathologists work in labs to analyze tissue or blood samples. The results of the tests a pathologist runs help health care providers make accurate diagnoses. An accurate diagnosis is the first step in an effective treatment plan.

Our services

Throughout UCLA Health, pathologists are an integral part of diagnosing a range of conditions. Our services include:   

Anatomic pathology

Anatomic pathology is a vast field. It includes multiple specialty areas for studying and treating diseases. Areas of anatomic pathology include:    

Cytogenetic laboratory: Cytogenetic testing is the process of evaluating small tissue samples to look for changes in chromosomes. At our Cytogenetics Laboratory, we use state-of-the-art technology to help detect leukemia, lymphoma, solid tumors and more.

Cytopathology: Cytopathology is the branch of pathology where we evaluate cells in small tissue fragments. We often use cytopathology in gynecologic care or during fine needle aspirations (using a small needle to take a tissue or fluid sample).  

Molecular pathology: We use molecular pathology to analyze molecules for the diagnosis of cancers, hereditary disorders and many other conditions. Our Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory is one of the first facilities of its kind in the country. We pioneered many techniques for DNA-based testing, such as DNA fingerprint analysis.

Neuropathology: Neuropathology is the evaluation of brain tissue. It helps us diagnose brain and pituitary tumors, epilepsy, dementia and neuromuscular disorders. Our neuropathologists are experts in advanced diagnostic techniques as well as leaders in education and research.  

Ophthalmic pathology: Our ophthalmic pathology services are critical for diagnosing eye conditions. We analyze tissue samples of the eyes or eyelids and continually conduct research about eye diseases.

Orphan disease testing: Orphan diseases are defined as conditions that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. We perform this type of testing to confirm or rule out these rare diseases. If we identify an orphan disease, genetic counselors and other specialists provide testing or counseling for patients and at-risk family members.

Pediatric pathology: Pediatric pathologists are experts in evaluating the pathology of pediatric conditions. We also provide consultation for disorders detected in-utero, such as cystic fibrosis or congenital heart defects.   

We also offer autopsies to help understand immediate and underlying causes of death. We use multiple approaches to evaluate the whole body or only specific organs. The more we learn about how different diseases affect the body, the more we can improve current treatment options.

Clinical Genomics Center

In the Clinical Genomics Center, we provide comprehensive analyses of patients’ genomes (your unique set of genetic code). Rather than analyzing genes one by one, we use a technique that simultaneously looks for all the genes that could possibly cause a condition. Our team also includes genetic counselors who can help you understand your lab results and potential next steps after a diagnosis.

Immunogenetics Center

Immunogenetics is the study of how your immune system and genetics interact with each other. Through the Immunogenetics Center, we provide testing for solid organ and stem cell transplants.

We have one of the first established laboratories of this kind in the country. Our pathologists are leaders in the field of immunogenetics and continue to advance in research, education and testing techniques.

Laboratory medicine

We provide diagnostic testing services for outpatient locations, as well as in the hospital and in hospital-based outpatient locations. Areas of laboratory medicine include:

Clinical chemistry: We use clinical chemistry to study blood, DNA, tissue and cells. This research helps us learn more about diseases and health. Our Clinical Laboratory is a crucial resource for detecting, diagnosing and guiding treatment plans for multiple diseases.  

Clinical microbiology: We offer testing to detect, isolate and find out more about bacteria and other agents that cause infections. Our Clinical Microbiology Laboratory serves as a reference center for many testing surveys. We also have one of the longest-running Clinical Microbiology Postdoctoral Training Programs in the country.  

Hemopathology: This area of pathology involves the study of disorders or diseases that affect your blood cells. These services are crucial for diagnosing leukemia and lymphoma, bone marrow disorders and more.   

Transfusion medicine and blood banking: Our pathologists perform compatibility testing for blood transfusions, as well as help diagnose diseases that affect the blood. To help ensure that all patients have access to transfusions, we collect about 30,000 whole blood and platelet donations per year. We also organize about 250 mobile blood drives throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area each year.   

Surgical pathology

In surgical pathology, the samples we analyze are a crucial part of a patient’s diagnosis. Either during or after surgery, the pathologist’s analysis advises your provider about the correct diagnosis, treatment and outlook.

Meet our team

Our pathologists are leaders in research and education. We use advanced laboratory techniques to detect, diagnose and learn more about a range of diseases.  

Learn more

To find out more, ask your health care provider about the diagnostic and laboratory tests available at UCLA Health.

Find your care

Our pathology team includes leaders in both clinical care and research. To learn more about pathology services, call 800-UCLA-MD1 (800-825-2631).