University of Connecticut1 1994M.S: BiotechnologyBiotechnology
University of New Hampshire1 1992B.A: MicrobiologyGPA: Cum LaudeMicrobiology Cum Laude Microbiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Responsibilities involved the development of immunoassays designed for two automated ELISA instruments, the Automated Chemiluminescent System: 180 and the ACS: Centaur, which provide diagnostic screening assays.
I served as technician for chemiluminescent reagent preparation, preparation of paramagnetic and magnetic latex particles, running of gel filtration columns, comparative use of manual assays and competitor kits including bead assays and ELISAs.
I performed experiments including reagent testing, patient populations testing, method comparisons, and other parameters used to determine precision, interference, stability testing, and troubleshooting of the instrument.
I was responsible for data preparation, analysis and presentation to management.
I participated on five different assay development teams: Folate, Theophylline, anti-Hepatitis B Core IgM, anti-Hepatitis B Surface Antigen, and anti-HIV.
October 2006 to Current
I work with bacterial respiratory diseases, specifically those agents that cause atypical pneumonia: Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae as well as Chlamydia psittaci and Legionella spp.
I design, develop and validate diagnostic assays to detect these pathogens in clinical samples.
I was the lead laboratorian for the development and validation of a real-time PCR assay for the detection of M.
This assay is now the main real-time PCR assay used in our lab to detect M.
pneumoniae in unknown samples both domestically and internationally.
I have been the lead laboratorian in our laboratory's response to numerous outbreaks of atypical pneumonia caused by both M.
pneumoniae and C.
This involved receiving, logging and testing thousands of specimens using real-time PCR.
I oversee our specimen database in StarLIMS.
I have entered every specimen we have received in this laboratory since we started using StarLIMS in April 2008.
I am responsible for entering, tracking, and reporting results for all specimens received.
I also work closely with my supervisor to generate result reports for both internal and external use.
I am an integral member of the International Emerging Infectious Disease Program/Global Disease Detection initiative.
I have worked with laboratories and scientists around the world to help establish laboratories for the detection and surveillance of respiratory diseases in these countries.
I have worked with and trained visiting scientists on the proper methods of nucleic acid extraction, real- time PCR and other diagnostic methods for the detection of bacterial respiratory pathogens.
I have developed and written protocols that are used in these laboratories as well as reagents and positive controls.
In September of 2007 the Respiratory Disease Branch along with IEIP/GDD held a training course, Laboratory Workshop for Respiratory Diagnostics.
This workshop brought together visiting scientists from China, Thailand, Egypt, Guatemala, Kenya and Bangladesh to train on respiratory disease detection and surveillance.
I was the lead microbiologist in charge of the design, development and execution of the wet laboratory portion of this course.
This workshop won the James Virgil Peavy Workforce Development Award at the 2008 CDC/ATSDR Honor Awards.Experience I often communicate with our GDD partners to answer questions and aid in troubleshooting of these assays at GDD site.
In November of 2008 I traveled to China to conduct a 3 day training course covering several aspects of respiratory disease surveillance.
This course included both a lecture and hands on laboratory training on the many aspects of respiratory disease detection and surveillance.
These included a description of surveillance activities in other GDD sites, background on the use of real-time PCR for detection of both bacterial and viral targets, proper laboratory design and set up, proper execution of both the extraction and testing of clinical specimens, as well as proper specimen storage and transport.
This course was conducted by me and one other colleague with approximately 36 students attending the course.
All lectures and protocols were written in both English and Chinese and interpreters were available throughout the 3 day course as many of our students spoken only limited English.
In addition to the training course we also made site visits to few labs around China to make recommendations and determine the readiness of these labs for a pilot surveillance study.
Experience Microbiologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bioterrorism Rapid Response and Advanced Technology LaboratorySeptember 2000 to October 2006CHIRON DIAGNOSTICS WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS
I worked with highly infectious (BSL-3) bacteria, viruses and toxins considered agents of bioterrorism.
I routinely performed extensive experimentation to design, develop and validate diagnostic assays for high-hazard biological threat agents including: Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, Brucella spp., Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Yersinia pestis, Coxiella burnetii, West Nile virus, Orthopox virus, Variola virus, Vaccinia virus, Clostridium botulinum toxin, Staphylococcal enterotoxin B and Ricin toxin.
I regularly processed a wide variety of diagnostic samples including environmental samples such as swabs, powders, filters (Biowatch filters, large industrial filters, air handling filters, vacuum cleaner filters), food, letters, soil, contaminated clothing and contaminated equipment as well as a variety of human specimens including blood, serum, plural fluid, bronchial aspirates, lung tissue(and other internal organ tissues) and skin lesion tissues for the presence of biological threat agents such as those listed above.
This work required new and innovative techniques in order to process new and unusual samples types.
I was an integral member of the BRRAT lab response team.
I responded to 100+ BT events (i.e., Anthrax mail attacks of 2001), and was the first BRRAT lab member field deployed to investigate index cases for the 2001 anthrax attacks (Miami, Florida).
I served as technical advisor assisting with assay development and troubleshooting, for both real-time PCR and Time Resolved Fluorescence (TRF) immuno assays, in multiple field deployed national security special (NSSE) events, and BT incidents as requested by LRN members.
I was responsible for development of novel real-time PCR assays used in the BRRAT lab and LRN.
I assisted in the development speciation assays for Brucella spp.
and Francisella tularensis.
I was involved in numerous training courses held by the BRRAT lab to train laboratorians from state, local and federal public health laboratories in the proper methods for sample processing, real-time PCR and TRF.
I served as the lead writer/editor for all BRRAT lab protocols used by both BRRAT lab personnel and for distribution to the LRN.
I also developed protocols for all BRRAT Lab activities including quality control testing of reagents and quality assurance of the laboratory.
I acted as technical advisor in evaluating commercial hand held assays for Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis, and several automated DNA extraction methods.
I developed new procedures for optimal production of spores for numerous Bacillus species including Bacillus anthracis.
I worked on collaborative projects with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) for the development of a multiplex PCR assay that utilizes the Luminex Bioplex system to simultaneously detect multiple agents of bioterrorism in a single tube.
This system is currently being deployed for use by BioWatch and the LRN.
ExperienceI was the database manager who tracked thousands of samples received in the BRRAT lab to ensure all events and samples were accurately logged and maintained Chain of Custody for forensic and legal purposes.
Further, I ensured that all sample results are entered and properly captured in the database.
I regularly worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to coordinate the receipt of all potential bioterrorism samples into the BRRAT lab.
I worked closely with these agencies as well as the of the Director of the BRRAT laboratory to ensure all information is captured accurately, follow up information is captured, any necessary forensic samples or information is sent back to the appropriate agencies and to ensure that laboratory reports and results were sent in a timely manner.
In addition, I was responsible for all database trouble shooting, maintenance, and enhancements as well as training all BRRAT lab personnel in the use of the StarLIMS database.
I acted as lead scientific information liaison for the BRRAT lab working in conjunction with the NCID StarLIMS deployment team to customize and develop the BRRAT Lab unit of StarLIMS.
I was a voting member of the NCID StarLIMS working group for implementation of StarLIMS NCID-wide.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia Microbiologist, Special Pathogens Branch: I worked with maximum hazard (BSL-4) viruses including: Ebola, Marburg, Lassa Fever, Hanta, Sin Nombre, CCHF and Nipah.
My duties included culturing hemorrhagic viruses, processing patient specimens, plaque assays in BSL-4 Maximum Containment Laboratory.
Additionally, when applicable, BSL-3 experiments were performed with agents requiring this level of safety.
I was responsible for tracking, testing, and reporting of all incoming clinical samples using a colorimetric based ELISA assay for both antigen and antibody detection as well as immuno fluorescence assays.
Further, I was responsible for inventory and preparation of all reagents used in these assays.
I was responsible for quality control and troubleshooting of all new and existing reagents.
I acted as lead scientist in the evaluation and development of both singleplex and multiplex assays using the Luminex system for Ebola, Marburg, Sin Nombre, Lassa Fever, and CCHF for antigen detection, IgG and IgM antibody detection.
I prepared regular written and oral reports of all pending projects, status of incoming clinical samples as well as updates on inventory status.
I served on extended field deployments in the response to two major outbreaks, Rift Valley Fever (1998) and Nipah Virus (1999).
I served as lab coordinator and lab ISO 9001 representative which included implementation of instrument calibration and maintenance procedures, document control procedures, education of lab members on ISO 9001 requirements, and organization and assignment of lab duties.
Co-authored three abstracts one of which was presented at the 1996 National Meeting of the American Society of Microbiology.
Developed and delivered course lectures, graded student lab reports and quizzes, assisted student with laboratory experiments.
I provided hands-on laboratory training to undergraduate students.
Masters Research: Research involved the development of an assay to allow rapid detection and enumeration of microorganisms in metal working fluids.
The protocol for the assay was based on a bioluminescent luciferin/luciferase assay.
EMORY UNIVERSITY, ATLANTA, GEORGIA Research Assistant: Responsibilities included DNA sequencing, mini and maxi DNA isolation, aided research assistants by preparing cultures, electroporant competent cells, performing transformations, and routinely performed Western blot analysis on various samples.
Experience Comparison of laboratory diagnostic procedures for detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in community outbreaks.
Thurman KA, Walter ND, Schwartz SB, Mitchell SL, Dillon MT, Baughman AL, Deutscher M, Fulton JP, Tongren JE, Hicks LA, Winchell JM.
Clin Infect Dis.
2009 May 1;48(9):1244-9.
Comparison of nucleic acid extraction methods for the detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae Thurman KA, Cowart KC, Winchell JM.
Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis.
Epub 2009 Sep 19.
Evaluation of three real-time PCR assays for detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in an outbreak investigation.
Winchell JM, Thurman KA, Mitchell SL, Thacker WL, Fields BS.
J Clin Microbiol.
Epub 2008 Jul 9.
Indentification of P1 variants of Mycoplasma pneumoniae by use of high-resolution melt analysis.
Schwartz SB, Mitchell SL, Thurman KA, Wolff BJ, Winchell JM.
J Clin Microbiol.
Epub 2009 Oct 14.
Evaluation of two real-time PCR chemistries for the detection of Clamydophila pneumoniae in clinical specimens Mitchell SL, Budhiraja S, Thurman KA, Lanier Thacker W, Winchell JM.
Mol Cell Probes.
Epub 2009 Jul 30.
Community outbreak of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection: school-based cluster of neurologic disease associated with household transmission of respiratory illness.
Walter ND, Grant GB, Bandy U, Alexander NE, Winchell JM, Jordan HT, Sejvar JJ, Hicks LA, Gifford DR, Alexander NT, Thurman KA, Schwartz SB, Dennehy PH, Khetsuriani N, Fields BS, Dillon MT, Erdman DD, Whitney CG, Moore MR.
J Infect Dis.
2008 Nov 1;198(9):1365-74.
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