Robert L. Glaser

Robert L. Glaser, Ph.D.

Director, Division of Laboratory Operations
Ph.D., Cornell University (1989)
Postdoctoral training: Carnegie Institution of Washington

Research Interests

The Division of Laboratory Operations oversees the Wadsworth Center's operations at five facilities in the Albany area, totaling ~900,000 square feet of space and over 210 acres of real estate. The facilities include:

  • Biggs Laboratory at the Empire State Plaza
  • David Axelrod Institute for Public Health on New Scotland Avenue in Albany
  • Griffin Laboratories in Guilderland
  • Life Sciences Innovation Building on New Scotland Avenue in Albany
  • Division of Laboratory Quality Certification in Albany

The Division provides services that support all the public health missions of the Wadsworth Center, including clinical and environmental testing, research, education, and regulatory oversight. The Division is comprised of the following programs:

  • Facilities Management – engineering, maintenance, and custodial services; transportation services between facilities; instrumentation and automation services for the maintenance and repair of scientific equipment. 
  • Safety Office – ensure safe, healthy work environment; mitigate work place risks and hazards; compliance with applicable state and federal rules, laws, regulations; programs in biosafety, chemical, fire, occupational, environmental and radiation safety; laboratory inspections; accident, incident investigations and follow-up.
  • Mail, Receiving and Shipping – receiving and ship out of mail, supplies and equipment across all five sites.
  • Equipment Inventory and Asset Management - maintain a Center-wide equipment inventory, accounting for, and properly safeguarding, all laboratory, office, and operations equipment; track each piece of equipment from acquisition, during use, to final disposition.
  • Multimedia Services – oversees the Wadsworth Center’s internal and external web presence and provides photography and design services for research and administration.
  • Glassware – glassware services to the Center's public health and research laboratories.
  • State Order Desk - coordinate the assembly and ship out of diagnostic sampling kits to members of the health care community in need of public health testing services. 

Dr. Glaser joined the Wadsworth Center in 1993 as a research scientist with training and expertise in the areas of medical entomology and insect genetics. His primary research focus was to elucidate how genetic variation in mosquitoes modifies a mosquito's ability to transmit viral diseases, primarily studying Culex mosquitoes and West Nile virus. Other areas of research interest that Dr. Glaser has pursued using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system include the function of histone variants in control of transcription and DNA repair, and the role of the lysosomal enzymes in the etiology of Batten Disease, a genetic neurodegenerative disease of children. Dr. Glaser was also an active member of the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University at Albany prior to becoming Division Director.

Dr. Glaser has served on a wide variety of Wadsworth Center committees over the years, notable among them as Chair of the Center's Institutional Biosafety Committee since 1997. In this context, in addition to managing the Biosafety Committee's role in providing oversight of biosafety-related issues for the Center, Dr. Glaser also established protocols for compliance oversight of Wadsworth Center research involving recombinant DNA methodologies and dual-use agents, as well as formalizing review and oversight of laboratory biosafety plans for programs working in high-containment BSL-3 labs.

As Director of Lab Operations, Dr. Glaser provides overall programmatic, staffing, and budgetary guidance and direction to all programs within the Division, ensuring that Lab Operations provides the best possible support services to all the Center's programs, so they, in turn, can be successful in achieving their goals in protecting and improving public health.

Select Publications
Tettey TT, Gao X, Shao W, Li H, Story BA, Chitsazan AD, Glaser RL, Goode ZH, Seidel CW, Conaway RC, Zeitlinger J, Blanchette M, Conaway JW. A Role for FACT in RNA Polymerase II Promoter-Proximal Pausing. Cell Rep. 2019; 27 (13): 3770-3779. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.05.099
Emerson KJ, Glaser RL. Cytonuclear Epistasis Controls the Density of Symbiont Wolbachia pipientis in Nongonadal Tissues of Mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. G3 (Bethesda). 2017; 7 (8): 2627-2635. DOI: 10.1534/g3.117.043422
Micieli MV, Glaser RL. Somatic Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) levels in Culex quinquefasciatus and Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) and resistance to West Nile virus infection. J Med Entomol. 2014; 51 (1): 189-99. DOI: 10.1603/me13152
Glaser RL, Meola MA. The native Wolbachia endosymbionts of Drosophila melanogaster and Culex quinquefasciatus increase host resistance to West Nile virus infection. PLoS One. 2010; 5 (8): e11977. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011977
Chotkowski HL, Ciota AT, Jia Y, Puig-Basagoiti F, Kramer LD, Shi P-Y, Glaser RL. West Nile virus infection of Drosophila melanogaster induces a protective RNAi response. Virology. 2008; 377 (1): 197-206. DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.04.021
Mavrich TN, Jiang C, Ioshikhes IP, Li X, Venters BJ, Zanton SJ, Tomsho LP, Qi J, Glaser RL, Biggin M, Schuster SC, Gilmour DS, Albert I, Pugh BF. Nucleosome organization in the Drosophila genome. Nature. 2008; 453 (7193): 358-362. DOI: 10.1038/nature06929
Hickey AJ, Chotkowski HL, Singh N, Ault JG, Korey CA, MacDonald ME, Glaser RL. Palmitoyl-protein thioesterase 1 deficiency in Drosophila melanogaster causes accumulation of abnormal storage material and reduced life span. Genetics. 2006; 172 (4): 2379-90. DOI: 10.1534/genetics.105.053306
Madigan JP, Chotkowski HL, Glaser RL. DNA double-strand break-induced phosphorylation of Drosophila histone variant H2Av helps prevent radiation-induced apoptosis. Nucl. Acids Res. 2002; 30 (17): 3698-705. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkf496
Leach TL, Mazzeo M, Chotkowski HL, Madigan JP, Wotring MG, Glaser RL. Histone H2A.Z is widely but nonrandomly distributed in chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster. 2000; 275 (30): 23267-72. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M910206199