Like a deepening relationship, clinical microbiology and clinical chemistry have been growing closer in recent years. A morning symposium on July 28 at AACC’s Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, “The Marriage of Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Chemistry: A Technological Exchange of Vows and Partnership” (33105), will discuss the areas of overlap between the two disciplines—from the perspectives of both a clinical chemist and a microbiologist.

“The session will include significant analogies to marriage, particularly as a result of the growing convergence of clinical chemistry and microbiology. Though in recent years this merger has become significantly more pronounced, there are longstanding examples of testing that transcends the two disciplines,” according to the presenters.

They include Marc Couturier, PhD, medical director for microbial immunology, parasitology and fecal testing, and infectious disease rapid testing at Utah-based ARUP Laboratories, Joely Straseski, PhD, co-director of the Automated Core Laboratory at ARUP Laboratories, and Carey-Ann Burnham, PhD, associate professor of pathology and immunology, molecular microbiology and pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

An actual experience involving a clinical chemist who needed assistance interpreting complex automated serology assays, and a microbiologist who had to figure out all of the numbers and quality metrics associated with automated chemistry analyzers, is what inspired the idea for this session.

“While neither would traditionally receive training in these opposing areas, directors and technologists are increasingly needing to interact and adopt practices from various disciplines,” the presenters told CLN Stat.

ARUP representatives Couturier and Straseski will address the challenge of automated/chemiluminescent immunoassays using a partnership-based presentation style. The two presenters will take turns addressing relevant issues and challenges from the perspectives of each discipline.

Burnham’s presentation will touch upon mass spectrometry, a technology conventionally owned by chemistry, and how it’s become an integrated part of routine microbiology laboratories. She will also discuss future applications, and how the partnership with chemistry can play into that technology sharing.

“The audience will learn the limitations of the current overlapping methodologies as well as gain an appreciation for the different methodological processes in which the different disciplines approach these avenues of laboratory testing,” according to the speakers.

Future collaboration between these two disciplines seems promising. Recently, a large influx of trainees in both clinical microbiology and clinical chemistry “are expected to oversee testing that may not be in the traditional purview of each respective discipline,” the speakers observed. “Rather than maintaining traditional silos, the two disciplines can maximize potential by working cohesively on mutually beneficial and overlapping areas.”

Register online and say “I do” to this fascinating session on the intersection between clinical chemistry and microbiology.