Medical laboratory science program students participate in Cell Bowl

MLS student Lilia Lysinger (left) with faculty member Jennifer McBride, MS, MLS (ASCP)CM

This fall, students in the Medical Laboratory Science program at Radford University Carilion (RUC) in Roanoke participated in the Cell Bowl, a nationwide competition between medical laboratory science (MLS) and medical laboratory technician (MLT) programs.

The RUC students came together weekly to play the CellAtlas cell quiz, which presents each participant with a total of 30 cells (normal, abnormal and malignant) to correctly identify within 60 seconds. The program tests the skills of MLS and MLT students at recognizing findings from the peripheral blood smear while enhancing their hematology knowledge.

Not only do RUC MLS students benefit from participating in these activities, but the MLS program at Radford University as a whole benefits. Weekly videos of the competition are made and posted on Medical Lab Lady Gill’s YouTube channel, as well as on the website of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. This helps to increase the visibility of the MLS program at RUC.

MLS program Director Laura Link (right) with Commonwealth Transfusion Foundation Director of Grants Management Susan Dewberry.

On Nov. 30, the MLS program hosted a celebration to commemorate the completion of the 2023 Cell Bowl and recognize several students for their accomplishments. The event was sponsored by Commonwealth Transfusion Foundation, which provided more than $50,000 in scholarships for MLS students this year, and Director of Grants Management Susan Dewberry was on hand to help congratulate the participants.

  • Christina Pham was named the most improved participant by increasing her correctly identified cells in 60 seconds from 12 at the beginning of the competition to 25.
  • Two MLS students earned perfect scores during the competition. Jordan Lockhart was recognized for being able to correctly identify all 30 challenges in less than 60 seconds for two weeks in a row, with a personal best score of 43.74 seconds. Additionally, David Sellers achieved multiple perfect scores and beat the clock three weeks in a row with a best time of 36.32 seconds.
  • Lilia Lysinger achieved the highest score each week in the competition overall, with a score of 48.74 seconds in the first week, placing RUC at 11th in the east region (21st  in the country). In week two, Lysinger correctly identified all 30 cells in 32.73 seconds, achieving a rank of seventh in the region (13th in the nation). Week 3 was another improvement for Lysinger, with a best score of 27.89 seconds, moving the RUC MLS program up to sixth in the east (11th in the nation). In week 4, with a time of 24.34 seconds, Lysinger helped the RUC MLS program place fifth in the region and ninth amongst the total of 64 programs competing across the nation.

Week five of the competition marks the beginning of “playoffs,” where the top teams from each division in each region played head-to-head to determine the winner for each. This year, they divided the groups into varsity – those who achieved perfect scores in less than 60 seconds – and junior varsity — those who never achieved a perfect score but had the most correct among the remaining teams.

The RUC MLS team was not in the top three teams in the east region for varsity but performed too well to be included in JV, so RUC was out of the running after week four.


MLS student Christina Pham.


MLS student Jordan Lockhart.


MLS student David Sellers.

Dec 1, 2023
Mark Lambert