The Wadsworth Center Bacteriology Laboratory serves as the New York State (NYS) public health reference laboratory providing bacterial identification and characterization. The laboratory’s unique public health services for reference level identification include conventional and molecular microbiological methods.  

The methods utilized continue to evolve with new advances in testing methods and instrumentation that are evaluated and as appropriate developed, optimized and validated for clinical and environmental testing. This laboratory often incorporated the use of testing algorithms for the rapid identification of bacteria in specimens and environmental sources for outbreaks and investigations of foodborne, waterborne, and healthcare associated origin.

The laboratory services of the Bacteriology Laboratory include the following:

  • Isolation and identification of aerobic and anaerobic bacterial pathogens
  • Direct clinical specimen bacterial detection by molecular methods
  • Serogrouping, serotyping, and molecular serogroup determination
  • Specialized antimicrobial susceptibility testing of aerobic and anaerobic organisms
  • Real-time PCR testing to identify mobile genetic elements that cause antibiotic resistance.
  • Real-time PCR testing to detect and characterize bacteria
  • Real-time PCR testing to identify toxin genes
  • 16S rRNA, rpoB, and hsp65 gene sequence-based identification of bacteria
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization- time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) bacterial identification
  • Bacterial strain typing and characterization including next generation sequencing (NGS) technology such as whole-genome sequencing (WGS), amplicon-based sequencing and long read sequencing.
  • Bioinformatic pipeline development and validation for surveillance, outbreak, and clinical testing purposes