Diagnostic microbiology is a discipline encompassing the detection of a wide range of infectious agents using a variety of techniques. When feasible and appropriate, an estimation of the most probable response to an antimicrobial agent is also made. Infectious agents cultured or otherwise identified in the WVUH laboratory include:

  1. prokaryotic bacteria – aerobic, anaerobic, aerobic actinomycete and mycobacterial organisms
  2. fungi – yeasts, hyaline, dematiaceous and dimorphic molds
  3. parasites – protozoa, helminths and ectoparasites
  4. viruses

Methodologies Utilized

  • Direct detection
    1. Microscopy – unstained preparations (wet preps +/- KOH) and chemical stains (Gram, acid-fast, calcofluor white, trichrome, acridine orange)
    2. Immunologic reagents – direct/indirect immunofluorescence stains, membrane immunoassays, ELISAs, EIAs
  • Cultivation
    1. solid, selective, differential, and broth media
    2. isolate testing – biochemical, immunologic, genotyping
    3. susceptibility tests – Kirby Bauer, broth microdilution, epsilometer and automated methods
  • Molecular tests
    1. DNA probes
    2. nucleic acid amplification tests – PCR, TMA, LCR, NASBA, etc.
    3. gene sequencing

The breadth of scientific material and the depth of the technologic approaches in clinical microbiology make this a challenging field. The microbiology rotation at West Virginia University is designed to instruct trainees in microbiologic practice in a tertiary care, academic setting as well as a large community hospital. As they evaluate patient specimens, pathologists in training are instructed in the methods of each of the above disciplines and techniques.

Training Sites/ Institutional Site Directors

WVU - Peter Perrotta, M.D.


  • Duration of Rotation: 3 months
  • Post Graduate Level of Residents Involved in Rotation: PGY levels 1-4

Coordinating Teaching Faculty Member

WVU - Dr. Rocco LaSala

Teaching Faculty Members

West Virginia University

Rocco LaSala, M.D.