When a killer infection spreads in the movies, the Doctors triage and isolate the patients while a medical biologist races to diagnose the illness and find a cure. Inevitably a national emergency follows as the virus or bacteria wipe out an unsuspecting population. While this may be Hollywood's vision, at LLNL we are developing tools to identify the organism in a few minutes so that Doctors can be certain of the need for antibiotics, patient isolation, or additional intervention.

Speaker Bios


Dr.Reg Beer

Reg Beer is the Medical Diagnostics Initiative Leader at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he develops Lab-on-Chip technologies for time-critical Molecular Diagnostics applications. His interest in real-time detection is focused on supplying the physician or emergency responder with tools for rapid and accurate diagnostics. His research and publications in digital PCR, on-chip miniaturization, and rapid amplification have led to several new technologies for improved diagnostics applications and outcomes. In addition to his biomedical research, Reg is also developing technologies to detect Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's) on the battlefield.  Reg received his PhD in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering in 2007 from the University of California at Davis while working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.



Erin McKay

Erin M. McKay is a Biology teacher at Tracy High School in Tracy, CA. She received her BS in Biology with an emphasis in Plant biology in 2001 and her Science teaching credential in 2002 from University of California Davis.  While attending UC Davis she interned at a small startup, AgraQuest, in their microbiology department. After finishing her education, she began teaching at Tracy high in 2002, and began participating in Lawrence Livermore National Lab's Teacher Research Academy. As of the summer of 2011, she and three other west coast teachers began collaborating with Rutgers University's Waksman Institute's student scholar program.  This program trains teachers and students how to do genuine Molecular Biology research in the classroom.  In the summer of 2012, Erin helped organize and instruct the student scholar program at Lawrence Livermore Lab's Teacher Research Academy.

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