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Medical Biochemistry

Medical Biochemistry is that branch of medicine concerned with the study and measurement of biomedical abnormalities in human disease.  The medical biochemist is trained in the operation and management of hospital biochemistry laboratories, and acts as a consultant in all aspects of their use.

Medical Biochemists provide expert advice on the selection and interpretation of laboratory tests. Most Medical Biochemists also maintain a clinical practice focused on metabolic disorders and/or toxicology, such as lipidology, biochemical genetics or nutrition medicine. Medical Biochemists typically assume a leadership role for laboratory medicine, provide consultative support for the clinical laboratory as well as internal medicine and pediatric services. Academic practitioners also perform research and teaching activities.

The McMaster program has access to excellent facilities and Faculty that provide one of the best training environments for Medical Biochemistry on a international  basis.  The residency program is integrated with the postdoctoral training program in Clinical Biochemistry and the Clinical Chemistry component  of the General Pathology program, providing residents with an opportunity to acquire an appreciation for the role colleagues in these closely related fields.

Program Information

This residency program is for 2 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

Medical biochemistry is a two years program with training in medical biochemistry laboratories in Hamilton. The rotations are divided between the 4 teaching hospitals and the planned schedule allows the resident to spend 6 consecutive months at each hospital. The content of these years is very dense as there is a wide variety of methodology that the resident is required to know before the examination. In addition, the pathophysiology of disease needs to be well entrenched in the resident’s knowledge so that the utility of testing can be understood. During the medical biochemistry laboratory training, the resident will be expected to continue to develop their area of clinical practice through out-patient clinic rotations.

The need for Medical Biochemists, with expertise in clinical medicine, laboratory medicine and research training has been recognized by the Royal College of Physician of Canada. Rapidly changing laboratory creates a need for experts that can bridge both laboratory medicine to the needs of patients and health care systems. Laboratory medicine is poised to take an increasingly important role in the care of patients, and there is a need to translate these advances into improved care through laboratory medicine leadership and collaboration with clinical colleagues. Medical biochemists are employed by academic centres, private laboratories, as well as community hospitals.



Clinical Training:

During Medical Biochemistry training, residents are encouraged to participate in specialty outpatient clinics (Lipids, Preventative cardiology, Inborn errors of metabolism, Obesity, Diabetes, with others possible depending on the specific interest of the resident) up to one half day per week, enabling them to main clinical skills and enhancing their opportunity to interact with clinical faculty and with resident colleagues in various clinical services. These clinics are conducted in 6-month longitudinal blocks allowing for the development of independence in the outpatient setting.

Laboratory Training:

The training is divided into 8-week blocks and groups so that the resident spends at least three 8-week blocks at 3 hospital sites.  In PGY4, the two specialized groups of laboratory training will take place at the McMaster University Medical Centre (Paediatric clinical chemistry, biochemical genetics and pregnancy) and the Hamilton General Hospital (immunology and specialized methods). The PGY5 year will include a range of elective opportunities to allow the resident to balance the needs of the curriculum and their specialized interests.

Research Training:

Residents are encouraged to participate in research.  There are projects in the clinical laboratory that are required as part of the training program, and in addition, there is opportunity to develop or participate in other structured research with our excellent faculty. There is access to resident research grant funding from the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.  Each year, they are expected to present their work during the annual residents’ research day.

Educational Activities:

The resident will participate in the Medical Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry half-day program.   This is largely a problem-based learning course that covers the full spectrum of knowledge required for the RCPSC examination in Medical Biochemistry that will be taken in PGY5.  There are some sessions that cover material in a more didactic fashion and the residents will get the opportunity to deliver these sessions under supervision. There are also sessions on laboratory management that are run for all Laboratory Medicine residents.

There is funding available to support residents’ education needs in attending conferences, etc.


Candidates with Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residency must apply to the Laboratory Medicine Program through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Basic eligibility criteria for the program can be viewed at the CaRMS website.

Selection Criteria

It may be advantageous, but not mandatory, for applicants to have previous experience or to have taken an elective in medical biochemistry or clinical chemistry laboratory.

Selection is based on the candidates:

  • academic record
  • references
  • a demonstrated interest in laboratory medicine as a career

Given the large number of applicants each year, we are not able to offer an interview to all candidates. Personal interviews are offered to candidates based on the criteria listed above and are mandatory for admission to the program.

International Medical Graduates accepted into the program will have access to the same opportunities, training and experience as Canadian Medical Graduates.

Medical Biochemistry: This elective will focus primarily on the analytical method, quality assurance and the clinical interpretation of biochemical and immunological tests performed in the Clinical Chemistry division. Laboratories include automated chemistry, immunoassay for hormone and tumor markers, as well as toxicology, drug monitoring, and biochemical genetics. Students will meet with individual faculties of the division, attend lectures and seminars, rotate through the laboratories and may be involved in a research project. Elective will take place at one of the laboratories associated with the training program. Each elective will be tailored to meet the requirements of the student.

McMaster Students:

To arrange an elective, please email Elena Bidochka, Senior Education Program Associate


Please follow the application guidelines outlined by McMaster Undergraduate Medical School.

If you are interested in an elective in Medical Biochemistry as part of your postgraduate training you must first ensure that this meets your program requirements and our McMaster Postgraduate Office requirements.

The Medical Biochemistry Residency Program accepts elective requests from residents currently enrolled in postgraduate training programs outside of McMaster University. If you are interested in arranging an elective in Medical Biochemistry please email   Please ensure you include information on the specific rotation, dates and site you are interested in.

We offer a range of electives from 2 weeks to 2 blocks that can meet the learning needs of a variety of physicians in training. Please see the list of available electives and if the one you are looking for is not available please contact us and we will see if we can still accommodate your interests.

Occasionally we can accommodate post residency fellowships. These are typically focused on a research project and are dependent on funding. Post-residency fellowships for sponsored candidates are also possible if the candidate is able to meet the requirements of the McMaster Postgraduate office. These can be tailored to meet the requirements of the trainee. Please contact Elena Bidochka, Senior Education Program Associate

Program Contacts

Elena Bidochka

Senior Education Program Associate

Dr. Guillaume Pare

Program Director