Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Pathology

Cytopathology Fellowship

Our fellowship has now been filled for the year beginning July 1, 2019

The Department of Pathology offers two ACGME-accredited fellowship positions in cytopathology yearly that emphasize a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach. This specialty area is headed by Ritu Nayar, MD, and Program Director Elizabeth Morency, MD. She and the four other subspecialty board-certified faculty members involved in the program are committed to fellow training and actively involved in cytopathology at the local, national, and international level.

Program Aims

  1. Provide fellows an organized, comprehensive educational experience in the high volume, academic setting of Northwestern University that teaches them the skills required to be a successful practicing cytopathologist in a variety of practice settings
  2. Provide a strong and diverse didactic and practical cytopathology curriculum, including cytomorphologic diagnostic skills, scientific and medical knowledge, technical skills, and administrative and lab management experience.
  3. Teach fellows to utilize ancillary studies like immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, molecular pathology and microbiology in coming to a final cytopathologic diagnosis.
  4. Promote the development of investigational skills by encouraging fellows to participate in research projects, prepare abstracts for submission to national meetings and write manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed journals.
  5. Promote the development of teaching and presentations skills through participation in interdepartmental conferences as well as being an integral part of the yearlong didactic curriculum, in order to prepare them for future academic endeavors.


The program offers the opportunity to learn the diagnostic and prognostic applications of cytopathology in a variety of specimen types including gynecologic and non-gynecologic samples, as well as fine-needle aspirates of deep-seated organs and superficial masses. Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center is an NCI-designated comprehensive facility for the treatment and research of neoplastic disorders and an amazing spectrum of interesting cases are seen by Pathology. The Division of Cytopathology's annual volume is approximately 40,000 (25,000 gynecologic and 15,000 non-gynecologic). There is a FNA clinic within the division and the staff and trainees participate in performance of superficial FNAs as well as on site evaluations/triage of specimens acquired in interventional Radiology, Bronchoscopy, and Interventional Gastroenterology.

Clinical Experience

Unique features of our program are the performance of ultrasound guided head and neck biopsies (>120 per fellow/year) by our fellows in ENT, and core biopsies performed in radiology stay with the FNA and touch prep in cytology. Ancillary facilities in immunocytochemistry, flow cytometry, molecular diagnostics, liquid based and automated (Cytyc ThinPrep imager) cytology, as well as other emerging technologies are available. A close working relationship exists with surgical pathology and hematopathology, especially since the cytopathology division signs out a large number of core biopsies. Regular teaching conferences are held in cytopathology for residents and fellows and there is significant involvement in departmental, inter-departmental, and multidisciplinary conferences. An outstanding comprehensive teaching slide set collection is available on site. The fellows participate in service, review of outside consultations, teaching, quality assurance activities, and translational research.

Requirements and Eligibility

Applicants must have completed AP training or concluded the AP/CP requirements for Board eligibility, and hold a license to practice medicine in the State of Illinois. Recruitment interviews occur between January and February of the preceding year.


The stipend is commensurate with the fellow’s PGY year of training. Find stipend information via the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University site.

Application Process

Two Cytopathology fellowships are offered annually. Applications should be submitted between July and September two years prior to the starting date of the fellowship. In-person interviews for selected candidates will take place during the months of September and October, following the review of applications. Prepare an application package with the following items:

Send application materials and letters of recommendation by email to

Elizabeth Morency, MD
Assistant Professor of Pathology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Director of Cytopathology Fellowship Program
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
251 East Huron Street, Galter 7-132C
Chicago, IL 60611


Fellowship Program Director


Elizabeth Morency, MD

Program Faculty

Xiaoqi Lin, MD, PhD

Ritu Nayar, MD

Haijun Zhou, MD, PhD

1 Vacant faculty position to be filled by July 2018

Housestaff Research Portal

Feinberg has the infrastructure and resources to assist McGaw trainees interested in conducting scientific research. Visit our Housestaff Research Portal to learn more.