Applied research at the Wadsworth Center encompasses a wide variety of highly collaborative activities.  Staff are committed to perform extensive research to develop and apply new methods and technologies to detect and characterize human diseases, environmental analytes, and infectious disease pathogens.  While focused on improving public health, this research often translates to clinical applications, which serve to fill gaps where commercial products and services are unavailable.  Some examples in infectious diseases include application of molecular methods to detect cases of botulism, tuberculosis, pertussis and HIV-2.  Clinical research is also aimed to improve methods for assessing genetic relatedness among microbes, which is essential to public health outbreak investigations and improving surveillance.  In Newborn Screening, a major focus is on refining existing methods or developing new methods to screen for additional conditions and to reduce the number of false positive results.  In environmental testing the focus is on expanding our capabilities in biomonitoring and to better detect new and existing contaminants.

Associated Researchers

Sudha Chaturvedi, Ph.D.

Director, Mycology Laboratory

We develop new technologies for fungal diagnostics and pathogenic mechanisms of Cryptococcus gattii and Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the etiologic agents of human cryptococcal meningitis and bat white nose syndrome, respectively.

April D. Davis, DVM, Ph.D.

Director, Rabies Laboratory

We focus on developing and improving diagnostic tools for rabies. Additional research programs focus on studying rabies in bats within the laboratory and in field environments.

Christina Egan, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Division of Infectious Diseases

We focus on the development and validation of assays to detect pathogens and toxins associated with bioterrorism or food-borne disease. We utilize methods such as real-time PCR, whole genome sequencing, and mass spectrometry for rapid detection of agents.

Vincent Escuyer, Ph.D.

Director, Mycobacteriology Laboratory

We are interested in the mechanisms underlying resistance of M. tuberculosis to major TB drugs and in the development and validation of molecular assays involving whole genome sequencing for rapid detection of drug resistant tuberculosis.

Denise M. Kay, Ph.D.

Newborn Screening Program

We use targeted and genome-wide approaches to identify and characterize mutations/genes involved in diseases affecting children, including conditions screened by the NYS newborn screening program and birth defects.

Kimberlee A. Musser, Ph.D.

Clinical Director, Wadsworth Center David Axelrod Institute

We develop molecular diagnostic assays and reference testing for the detection and characterization of pathogenic bacteria and mycobacteria and to predict antibiotic resistance using real-time PCR and whole genome sequencing.

Joseph Orsini, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Newborn Screening Program

We focus on simplifying and automating published low-volume newborn screening tests in order to transform them into high-volume assays.

Patrick J. Parsons, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Environmental Health Sciences

We study human exposure to toxic metals/metalloids (biomonitoring) and long-lived nuclides (radiobioassay); and develop novel speciation methods by coupling LC and GC to ICP-MS, while using portable XRF for field-based studies.

Kirsten St. George, Ph.D.

Chief, Laboratory of Viral Diseases

We develop viral detection and characterization assays and investigate new molecular chemistries and platforms. Research includes rhinovirus infection in transplant recipients, drug-resistant influenza and adenovirus evolution.

Buu N. Tran, Ph.D.

Organic and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory

We develop analytical methods to identify unknown chemicals in foods and environmental samples including toxic compounds and chemical terrorism agents, thus providing national surveillance of the food supply.