New hire expands team capabilities in molecular diagnostics.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sept. 2, 2015)—Battelle announced today that noted genomics research scientist Dr. Rachel Spurbeck has joined its Applied Genomics team.
In her new position, Spurbeck will be focused on expanding Battelle’s molecular diagnostic capabilities. Using next-generation sequencing technologies, molecular diagnostics allows for rapid identification of infectious agents. Instead of waiting for cultures, scientists can now directly identify potential disease-causing organisms by analyzing genetic material.
“Molecular diagnostics have huge implications for both healthcare and biological threat defense,” Spurbeck said. “Using these new technologies, we can directly sequence infectious agents using a single test, allowing for faster and more accurate diagnosis and more personalized medicine.”
Spurbeck also will be supporting forensic genomic efforts at Battelle. Spurbeck joins the team that recently developed Battelle’s revolutionary new software solution ExactID, which applies advanced bioinformatics to next-generation sequencing data. ExactID analyzes biomarkers that can predict physical appearance, ancestry, clinical traits and familial relationships among people. This information can be invaluable to forensic analyses and casework.
Spurbeck’s research background, which includes experience in both microbial pathogenesis and diagnostic applications of next-generation sequencing, makes her uniquely suited to support the next stage of growth for the Applied Genomics team. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Central Michigan State University. She earned her PhD in Genetics from Michigan State University and conducted her post-doctoral research at the University of Michigan.
Currently, she is pursuing research into molecular diagnostics for bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common infection of the female reproductive tract with potentially serious complications during pregnancy.
“Better diagnostics will allow for faster and more effective treatment that could prevent hundreds of thousands of premature births,” she said. “I’m excited to be working on a team where we are able to push the boundaries of science and technology to develop novel solutions that will have a positive impact out in the world.”
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit www.battelle.org.
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