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Featured Expert: Dr. Rachel Spurbeck:

Dr. Rachel Spurbeck Rachel Spurbeck

Dr. Rachel Spurbeck brings a new focus on molecular diagnostics to the Battelle Applied Genomics team. “Molecular diagnostics has huge implications for both healthcare and bio-warfare defense,” Spurbeck explains.

Rachel’s research background, which includes experience in both forensic and diagnostic applications of next-generation sequencing, makes her uniquely suited to support the next stage of growth for Battelle Applied Genomics. In her new position, Rachel will be focused on expanding Battelle’s molecular diagnostic capabilities. She will also support continued development of Battelle’s forensic genomic efforts, including support of ExactID™.

Using next-generation sequencing technologies, molecular diagnostics allows for rapid identification of infectious agents. Instead of waiting for cell cultures, scientists can now directly identify potential disease-causing organisms by analyzing genetic material. “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,” she says. 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.

Rachel joined Battelle in July of 2015. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Central Michigan State University and earned her PhD in Genetics from Michigan State University.