State-of-the-art diagnostic testing capabilities rely on the latest research findings and access to the latest technologies. This allows for the rapid application of novel concepts or emerging technologies to public health threats. Research conducted in the Biodefense Laboratory fosters collaboration with other scientists at Wadsworth Center and from institutions conducting related investigations, the primary goals of which are:

  • Maturation of technologies to reduce cost or improve performance
  • Development of novel diagnostic screening assays to supplant more hazardous diagnostic assays


The Biodefense Laboratory research scientists have unique training and experience that allow them to evaluate novel and emerging detection technologies and platforms. Many of the evaluation studies lead developers to refine their technology or begin the validation process. Evaluations conducted include:

  • Prototype evaluation of an All Hazards Receipt Facility (AHRF) for Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Homeland Security study on handheld detection devices
  • Third party evaluations for field deployable handheld detection platforms
    • Air Samples
    • Rapid PCR detection units
    • Handheld devices
  • Evaluation of rapid food screening assays as part of the Food Emergency Response Network


Wadsworth Center's unique facilities, resources and staff have attracted interest from developers of commercial diagnostic systems to validate their technologies against microorganisms that could be used as bioterrorist weapons (these microorganisms are called "select agents"). With the increasing restrictions on select agent use outlined in the Select Agent Rule (42CFR73) and the USA Patriot Act, there is a very limited pool of organizations that can participate in validation studies. The Biodefense Laboratory has the necessary permits and personnel to use these organisms for research on assay validation, such as the following:

  • Validation of a Mass Spectrometry method for the detection of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin
  • Clinical FDA validation site for a rapid Anthrax diagnostic assay
  • Third party contract validation for field-deployed, handheld detection of B. anthracis and E. coli
  • Validation of environmental screening assays
  • Validation of food screening methods


Egan CT, Perry MJ. Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei) and Glanders (Burkholderia mallei) In: Leber AL and Burnham CAB, editors. Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. 2023; (5): DOI: 10.1128/9781683670438.CMPH.ch16.9
Aden TA, Blevins P, York SW, Rager S, Balachandran D, Hutson CL, Lowe D, Mangal CN, Wolford T, Matheny A, Davidson W, Wilkins K, Cook R, Roulo RM, White MK, Berman L, Murray J, Laurance J, Francis D, Green NM, Berumen RA 3rd, Gonzalez A, Evans S, Hudziec M, Noel D, Adjei M, Hovan G, Lee P, Tate L, Gose RB, Voermans R, Crew J, Adam PR, Haydel D, Lukula S, Matluk N, Shah S, Featherston J, Ware D, Pettit D, McCutchen E, Acheampong E, Buttery E, Gorzalski A, Perry M, Fowler R, Lee RB, Nickla R, Huard R, Moore A, Jones K, Johnson R, Swaney E, Jaramillo J, Reinoso Webb C, Guin B, Yost J, Atkinson A, Griffin-Thomas L, Chenette J, Gant J, Sterkel A, Ghuman HK, Lute J, Smole SC, Arora V, Demontigny CK, Bielby M, Geeter E, Newman KAM, Glazier M, Lutkemeier W, Nelson M, Martinez R, Chaitram J, Honein MA, Villanueva JM. Rapid Diagnostic Testing for Response to the Monkeypox Outbreak - Laboratory Response Network, United States, May 17-June 30, 2022. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2022; 71 (28): 904-907.
Centurioni DA, Egan CT, Perry MJ. Current Developments in Diagnostic Assays for Laboratory Confirmation and Investigation of Botulism. J Clin Microbiol. 2022; 60 (4): e0013920. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.00139-20
Schuler K, Claymore M, Schnitzler H, Dubovi E, Rocke T, Perry MJ, Bowman D, Abbott RC. Sentinel Coyote Pathogen Survey to Assess Declining Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) Population in South Dakota, USA. J Wildl Dis. 2021; 57 (2): 264-272. DOI: 10.7589/JWD-D-20-00015
E. Frye, C. Egan, M. Perry, E. Crouch, K. Burbank, K. Kelly. Outbreak of botulism type A in dairy cows detected by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2020; 32 (5): 722-726. DOI: 10.1177/1040638720943127
M. Perry, M. Conlon, C. Egan. Utilization of Standard Method Performance Requirements for the Detection of Coxiella burnetii in Environmental Samples. Journal of AOAC International. 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jaoacint/qsaa101
Ackelsberg J, Liddicoat A, Burke T, Szymczak WA, Levi MH, Ostrowsky B, Hamula C, Patel G, Kopetz V, Saverimuttu J, Sordillo EM, D'Souza D, Mitchell EA, Lowe W, Khare R, Tang YW, Bianchi AL, Egan C, Perry MJ, Hughes S, Rakeman JL, Adams E, Kharod GA, Tiller R, Saile E, Lee S, Gonzalez E, Hoppe B, Leviton IM, Hacker S, Ni KF, Orsini RL, Jhaveri S, Mazariegos I, Dingle T, Koll B, Stoddard RA, Galloway R, Hoffmaster A, Fine A, Lee E, Dentinger C, Harrison E, Layton M. Brucella Exposure Risk Events in 10 Clinical Laboratories, New York City, USA, 2015 to 2017. J Clin Microbiol. 2020; 58 (2): e01096-19. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.01096-19
J. Halpin, J. Dykes, L. Katz, D. Centurioni, M. Perry, C. Egan, C. Luquez. Molecular Characterization of Clostridium botulinum Harboring the bont/B7 gene. Journal of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 2019; 16 (6): 428-433. DOI: 10.1089/fpd.2018.2600
G. Bergeron, J. Latash, C. Dacosta-Carter, C. Egan, F. Stavinsky, J. Kileci, A. Winstead, B. Zhao, M. Perry, K. Cahtham-Stephens, D. Sarpel, S. Hughes, M. Conlon, S. Edmunds, M. Monhanraj, J. Rakeman, D. Centurioni, C. Luquez, A. Chiefari, and S. Harper. Notes from the Field: Botulism Outbreak Associated with Home-Canned Peas - New York City, 2018. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2019; 68 (10): 251-252. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6810a5
N. Mishra, J. Ng, J. Rakeman, M. Perry, D. Centurioni, A. Price, R. Thakkar, A. Angus, P. Williamson, E. Delwart, C. Carrington, T. Briese, R. Tokarz, W. Lipkin. One-step pentaplex real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for detection of zika, dengue, chikungunya, and West nile viruses and a human housekeeping gene. Journal of Clinical Virology. 2019; 120 44-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcv.2019.08.011
Perry MJ, Centurioni DA, Davis SW, Hannett GE, Musser KA, Egan CT. Implementing the Bruker MALDI Biotyper in the Public Health Laboratory for C. botulinum Neurotoxin Detection. Toxins (Basel). 2017; 9 (3): pii: E94.
J. Rudrik, M. Soehnlen, M. Perry, M. Sullivan, W. Reiter-Kintz, P. Lee, D. Pettit, A. Tran, and E. Swaney. Safety and Accuracy of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption – Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI – TOF MS) to Identify Highly Pathogenic Organisms. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2017; 55 (12): 3513-3529. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.01023-17
Perry MJ, Antenucci AJ, Kelly-Cirino C, Heyl M, Aldous K, Egan C. All Hazards Receipt Facility (AHRF) Testing Algorithm Modifications for Enhanced Screening and Safety. Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense. 2016; 7 (1): 1-6.
Chiefari AK, Perry MJ, Kelly-Cirino C, Egan CT. Detection of Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin production genes from patient samples using an automated extraction platform and multiplex real-time PCR. Mol Cell Probes. 2015; 29 (6): 461-467.
Zink SD, Van Slyke GA, Palumbo MJ, Kramer LD, Ciota AT. Exposure to West Nile Virus Increases Bacterial Diversity and Immune Gene Expression in Culex pipiens. Viruses. 2015; 7 (10): 5619-31. DOI: 10.3390/v7102886
Hannett GE, Schaffzin JK, Davis SW, Fage MP, Schoonmaker-Bopp D, Dumas N, Musser KA, Egan C. Two cases of adult botulism caused by botulism neurotoxin producing Clostridium baratii. Anaerobe. 2014; (30C): 178-180.
Prusinski MA, White JL, Wong SJ, Conlon MA, Egan C, Kelly-Cirino CD, Laniewicz BR, Backenson PB, Nicholson WL, Eremeeva ME, Karpathy SE, Dasch GA, White DJ. Sylvatic typhus associated with flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) in New York State, USA. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 2014; 14 (4): 240-244.
Chai E, Choi E, Guitierrez C, Hochman M, Johnkutty S, Kamel W, Mekles T, Zarnegar R, Ackelsberg J, Balter S, Lee E.H, Li L, Ramos A, Rodriguez T, Weiss D, Yung J, Zhao B, Davis SW, Egan C, Hannett GE, Rao A, Toprani A, N. Sreenivasan. Foodborne Botulism Associated with Home-Fermented Tofu in Two Chinese Immigrants, New York City, March–April 2012. MMWR. 2013; 62 (26): 529-532.
Egan, C, Kelly-Cirino, C. Applications of Real-Time PCR to Biothreat Analysis. In “Real-time PCR: Advanced Technologies and Applications” (N. Saunders and M. Lee Eds). Caister Academic Press. 2013;