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Choosing Our Center

Our highly trained laboratory professionals are skilled at handling the unique needs of children and families.

Services are provided in the following areas

Anatomic pathology/histology
Includes the gross and microscopic examination of surgical specimens, immunohistochemistry, cytopathology and post-mortem studies.

Clinical chemistry
Involves the qualitative and quantitative testing of blood, urine and other body fluids. Standard chemistry tests offered include glucose, electrolytes, proteins, enzymes, hormones, and therapeutic drug monitoring. These results are essential in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Hematology is the study of blood, blood-forming organs, and blood diseases. Hematology testing includes the quantitative and functional analysis of red cells, white cells and platelets in blood and bone marrow. Coagulation studies include the analysis of proteins and enzymes involved in the body's bleeding and clotting processes. Urinalysis is the physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of urine and is used to detect a wide range of disorders, such as urinary tract infection, kidney disease and diabetes.

Mass spectrometry
An extension of the chemistry department introducing the technologies of chromatography and mass spectrometry for the accurate and specific analysis of small molecules. Applications include biochemical genetics, metabolite analysis and therapeutic drug monitoring.

Involves the study of microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. Testing involves isolation, identification, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of medically important pathogens. Serological testing is offered to detect antibodies produced by the body's response to an organism and can be helpful in making a diagnosis.

Molecular Diagnostic Testing (PCR)
Cutting edge molecular technology is used to perform rapid and accurate detection and identification of viral and bacterial pathogens.

Lab assistants at Cook Children's utilize pediatric expertise to collect blood, urine, and sweat specimens with exceptional patient care and minimal discomfort. Specimen processing involves receiving, handling and test preparation of patient samples delivered to the laboratory for testing.

Point-of-care testing
Involves rapid medical testing provided at or near the patient's bedside. This allows physicians to make immediate clinical decisions concerning patient care. Testing is conducted by Clinical Laboratory, Nursing, ED, Transport, Surgery and Respiratory staff. The Point-of-Care department in the Laboratory ensures all regulatory requirements and quality standards set forth by regulating agencies are followed.

When a highly complex lab test is ordered, the Referral department locates a lab, processes, packages and ships the specimen following the appropriate referral lab directions and IATA, ICAO and US DOT regulations.

Transfusion services
Performs blood typing, antibody screening and cross-matching blood products to provide treatment of acute blood loss, chronic anemia, low platelet count and other bleeding disorders. This department provides services and clinical support for routine, pre-op, acute emergencies and ECMO patients.

Meet our team:

Morgan A. Pence Ph.D., D (ABMM)Morgan A. Pence Ph.D., D (ABMM)

Morgan A. Pence, Ph.D., D (ABMM) has been a clinical microbiologist with Cook Children's Medical Center since 2014. She graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign in 2006. Her senior thesis was titled "Breeding and survival of novel and dystonic mouse lines and characterization of Dyt1 knock-in and knockdown mice." Dr. Pence received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from The University of California, San Diego in 2012 after completing her dissertation on "Molecular genetic analysis of bacterial antimicrobial peptide resistance phenotypes." She subsequently completed a Clinical Microbiology fellowship in 2014 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Pence has professional affiliations with The American Society for Microbiology, Southwestern Association of Clinical Microbiology, Pan American Society for Clinical Virology and Infectious Diseases Society of America. She serves on the hospital Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee, Infection Control Committee and Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee.

Matthew Shashack, Ph.D.Matthew Shashack, Ph.D.

Matthew Shashack, Ph.D. has been a clinical chemist at Cook Children’s Medical Center since 2017. He graduated magna cum laude with a BS in biology from Texas Lutheran University in 2004. Dr. Shashack received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas in 2011. He subsequently completed a clinical chemistry fellowship in the Department of Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2014. Dr. Shashack has professional affiliations with the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry.

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For further questions concerning Cook Children's Outpatient Laboratory, click here to review our FAQ.

If you have additional questions, please call Cook Children's Pathology office at 682-885-4847.