Translational Research and Molecular Diagnostics
Molecular Diagnostics is a rapidly evolving field that is continually acquiring new methods and instrumentation. Hygienic Laboratory scientists are involved in numerous studies and projects that utilize these state-of-the-art resources and apply them to tests and processes. This is known as translational research. The goal is to perform practical research that can be used to improve the health of Iowans within a short implementation timeframe.
- Working with the latest methods and instrumentation allowed us to better inform clinical laboratories about how their test methods function compared to molecular methods. Validation projects also led to tests that were subsequently implemented throughout the public health laboratory network. Additionally, many students interning at the lab or touring the facility were educated about the latest molecular testing methods, surveillance programs, and research and development activities.
Iowa achieved a major milestone with the initiation of newborn screening for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome in June 2013. Careful coordination of all aspects of the Newborn Screening program was required to implement the pilot. This included collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health and with the follow-up staff, medical consultants and physicians from the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.
Information about the implementation pilot was prepared and distributed to all physicians in Iowa, to the general public and to other relevant parties. This work was also presented at the 2013 Newborn Screening and Genetic Testing Symposium in Atlanta.
- Other research involved participation in test validation studies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that led to the Food and Drug Administration approval of a PCR test for the detection and strain typing of Influenza B.