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Cytopathology Fellowship (Minnesota)


Program description

The one-year Cytopathology Fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, develops expertise in the performance and interpretation of fine needle aspiration biopsies; interpretation of gynecologic and nongynecologic exfoliative cytology; and application of ancillary techniques such as flow cytometry, molecular diagnostics, cytogenetics, and immunocytochemistry.

The emphasis is on reviewing and diagnosing clinical cytology specimens and interacting with the clinicians and radiologists involved with these patient specimens. The annual volume of cytology specimens at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, is:

  • Gynecologic cytology — 31,500
  • Nongynecologic cytology — 11,200
  • FNAs: Superficial, deep and endoscopic — 9,250

Diagnostic material consists of a wide variety of specimens including gynecologic (cervix, uterus, vagina), breast, thyroid, urine, pulmonary, body fluids, lymph node, biliary tract, and liver. Performance of superficial fine needle aspirations and on-site assessment of superficial and image-guided deep aspirates provides you with extensive expertise in this popular technique.

You are given increasing responsibility in cytopathology sign-out as you acquire experience. Research opportunities in immunocytochemistry, morphometry, and applied molecular pathology are available.

Training in molecular cytopathology includes fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for urine, biliary and bronchial brushings; digital image analysis (DIA); and CellSearch for circulating tumor cells. Training in the techniques of ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) for thyroid FNAs is given under the guidance of endocrinologists.


The Cytopathology Fellowship is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).


After successfully completing the fellowship, graduates are prepared and qualified to take the American Board of Pathology examination in cytopathology if they are certified in anatomic pathology or combined anatomic and clinical pathology.

Program history

The Cytopathology Fellowship at Mayo Clinic began in 2009. Since that time, more than seven physicians have completed training. It is anticipated that one fellow will complete this program annually.