September 25, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 34

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Dr. George Kudolo


Photo by Fernando Serna


He’s humble and soft-spoken, yet earnestly committed to students and research. This associate professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences invests himself in preparing and teaching his students to not only excel in a clinical laboratory but to enjoy what they’re doing.

A former World Health Organization (WHO) Fellow, Dr. Kudolo’s enthusiasm for education began long before he began his teaching career in 1995. In 1990 he attended a teaching skills course. If he was going to teach, he was going to learn how better to convey information to students and more precisely understand their concerns so he could better help them learn.

He knows education and training programs must stay current with the times.

"Increased instrumentation and computerization of the clinical laboratory, especially in the area of clinical chemistry, has now made it possible to run some of these sophisticated instruments with very little training and human intervention," says Dr. Kudolo, a certified professional chemist who was recently accepted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry. "Today, it is important for students to be self-directed learners, capable of collecting vital information outside the classroom and applying it. I have emphasized problem-solving skills rather than fact memorization. "

Associate Professor Connie R. Mahon sees eye to eye with Dr. Kudolo when it comes to motivation.

"Dr. Kudolo develops learning activities such as case studies and scenarios, providing students opportunities to apply the theory they have learned," says Mahon, director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. "Moreover, he demonstrates versatility in conducting his courses by scheduling tours of facilities, such as the forensic laboratories of the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office, which aren’t part of students’ clinical experience."

The case study is an integral part of his teaching because it "provides students with real-life information that fosters meaningful learning, educating students about their responsibility to assure validity and accuracy of test results, proper utilization of lab tests and correct information upon which a physician can make a diagnosis or follow a course of treatment," says Dr. Kudolo.

He stresses that a physician’s physical diagnosis may not always go hand-in-hand with the lab results. He encourages his students to look deeper for the answer.

"I tell my students it affects how the physician interprets lab results if he doesn’t know a patient is taking, say dietary supplements," says Dr. Kudolo, referring to his much-publicized study on Gingko biloba, an herb extract that dates back almost 5,000 years but has only recently become popular in the United States as a dietary supplement. Gingko biloba is sold commercially to help circulation, combat migraines and improve memory and concentration, but few studies have been conducted to provide the necessary data to substantiate these claims. He is researching the effects, if any, this supplement may have on patients suffering from insulin resistance syndrome.

While Dr. Kudolo continues his research, this investigator-turned-teacher also teaches the graduate program in toxicology. He notes a change in the composition of students these days.

"They’re no longer the traditionally young students fresh from high school or undergraduate degree programs; 90 percent of the students in clinical lab science programs have second jobs," says Dr. Kudolo. "We who teach need to rethink our processes from traditional to nontraditional. We have to understand our students have other commitments. It affects how we present our courses—we have to adapt for the benefit of our students."

— Fernando Serna