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Monica Parker, Ph.D.
The Bloodborne Viruses Laboratory serves as the state public health reference laboratory for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing. Dr. Parker's lab performs a wide range of serological and molecular methods to confirm HIV and HCV infection. The laboratory's referral testing services include confirmation of HIV infection following rapid test screening at one of the New York State Department of Health Anonymous Counseling and Testing sitesor a number of other clinics and community organizations statewide. Activities include the Pediatric HIV Testing Service which provides testing to definitively confirm or exclude HIV infection for all infants born to HIV-infected women in New York State. The Bloodborne Viruses Laboratory also works closely with epidemiologists on outbreak investigations involving bloodborne viruses, particularly those involving healthcare facilities. The lab employs a number of viral genotyping and sequence analysis techniques to help identify the source of infections under investigation and assess the risk to the public. Dr. Parker's research interests complement these public health laboratory activities and provide data for clinical guidelines and surveillance programs. A major focus of our research is the development of new methods and strategies for improving diagnosis and clinical management of HIV and HCV infections, especially development of methods which are not commercially available. An important area of the team's research involves the optimization of testing strategies for early detection of HIV infection in both the pediatric and adult population. The lab has a strong interest in genetic variation of bloodborne viruses, and have conducted a number of studies to characterize drug resistant and atypical virus strains circulating in the population.