Christina Egan
    Laboratory personnel performing analysis of bacterial colonies isolated from an environmental sample.
    Laboratory personnel performing analysis of bacterial colonies isolated from an environmental sample.

Christina Egan, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Division of Infectious Diseases
Chief, Biodefense and Mycology Laboratories
Director, Biodefense Laboratory
Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Biodefense
Ph.D., Albany Medical College, Albany, NY
Postdoctoral training: Albany Medical Center
Postdoctoral training: New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center
(518) 473-6900
Fax: (518) 486-7971

Research Interests

The ability to rapidly detect and respond to the intentional release of pathogens and toxins is vital in protecting the health and well-being of New Yorkers. The intentional release of Bacillus anthracis through the US Postal Service in 2001 highlighted the need for improved diagnostics in the field of Biodefense. Research at the Biodefense Laboratory focuses on the development of diagnostics for the detection of biothreat agents using platforms such as real-time PCR and sequencing-based technologies. 

Characterization and identification of biothreat agents is performed through analysis of multiple and varied sample types such as clinical specimens, food, water, powders, and other environmental samples. Often, these samples can be difficult to test and specialized protocols are necessary in order to perform nucleic acid testing. This work includes the development and validation of assays that can detect agents such as C. botulinum neurotoxins, Staphylococcal enterotoxins, Orthopoxviruses, Francisella tularensis, Brucella spp. Bacillus anthracis, Ricin toxin, and Yersinia pestis in different samples types in a multiplex format. Additional interests include the evaluation of biothreat samples. The Biodefense laboratory works with federal agencies such as the CDC and DHS as well as other external groups such as test manufacturers and companies to improve biodefense related diagnostics and rapid testing devices.

Awards and Honors

  • Member, National Scientific Advisory Board for Biosecurity (2020)

  • Recipient of the 2019 North American Global 3Rs Award from AAALAC International and the IQ Consortium

  • 2017 APHL Leadership in Biosafety and Biosecurity Award

  • 2014 Thomas E. Maxson Education, Training and Workforce Development Award


Select Publications
Centurioni DA, Egan CT, Perry MJ. Current Developments in Diagnostic Assays for Laboratory Confirmation and Investigation of Botulism. J Clin Microbiol. 2022; 60 (4): e0013920. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.00139-20
E. Frye, C. Egan, M. Perry, E. Crouch, K. Burbank, K. Kelly. Outbreak of botulism type A in dairy cows detected by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2020; 32 (5): 722-726. DOI: 10.1177/1040638720943127
J. Halpin, J. Dykes, L. Katz, D. Centurioni, M. Perry, C. Egan, C. Luquez. Molecular Characterization of Clostridium botulinum Harboring the bont/B7 gene. Journal of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 2019; 16 (6): 428-433. DOI: 10.1089/fpd.2018.2600
G. Bergeron, J. Latash, C. Dacosta-Carter, C. Egan, F. Stavinsky, J. Kileci, A. Winstead, B. Zhao, M. Perry, K. Cahtham-Stephens, D. Sarpel, S. Hughes, M. Conlon, S. Edmunds, M. Monhanraj, J. Rakeman, D. Centurioni, C. Luquez, A. Chiefari, and S. Harper. Notes from the Field: Botulism Outbreak Associated with Home-Canned Peas - New York City, 2018. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2019; 68 (10): 251-252. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6810a5
Donahue MA, Newcomb G, Spinella S, Prasad P, Liesveld J, Egan CT, Smith GL, Newman AP, Bower WA, Blaney DD, Gee JE, Elrod MG, Chuang S, Babu TM. CNS Melioidosis in a Traveler Returning from Cabo, Mexico. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019; 6 (2): ofz005. DOI: 10.1093/ofid/ofz005
de Bruin OM, Chiefari A, Wroblewski D, Egan C, Kelly-Cirino CD. A novel chemical lysis method for maximum release of DNA from difficult-to-lyse bacteria. Microb Pathog. 2018; 126 292-297.
Ryan CW, Bishop K, Blaney DD, Britton SJ, Cantone F, Egan C, Elrod MG, Frye CW, Maxted AM, Perkins G. Public health response to an imported case of canine melioidosis. Zoonoses Public Health. 2018; 65 (4): 420-424.
Perry MJ, Centurioni DA, Davis SW, Hannett GE, Musser KA, Egan CT. Implementing the Bruker MALDI Biotyper in the Public Health Laboratory for C. botulinum Neurotoxin Detection. Toxins (Basel). 2017; 9 (3): pii: E94.
Chiefari AK, Perry MJ, Kelly-Cirino C, Egan CT. Detection of Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin production genes from patient samples using an automated extraction platform and multiplex real-time PCR. Mol Cell Probes. 2015; 29 (6): 461-467.
Hannett GE, Schaffzin JK, Davis SW, Fage MP, Schoonmaker-Bopp D, Dumas NB, Musser KA, Egan C. Two cases of adult botulism caused by botulinum neurotoxin producing Clostridium baratii. Anaerobe. 2014; 30 178-180.