Development of molecular diagnostic testing methods
Dr. Sheila Wood’s microbiology experience has been shaped by feasibility projects in academic, government, private, and clinical lab environments and amplified by collaborations with competent scientists. Starting out with a Medical Technology degree, her first job was with the University of Virginia in the clinical microbiology lab. Her next experience at UVa was with the geographic medicine group and involved setting up a laboratory to serve patients in a small village in Brazil. Additionally, she helped develop laboratory media for Campylobacter, Entamoeba, and SXT susceptibility testing. UVa provided her with a good background in molecular microbiology during her time in basic science microbiology. Graduate school at VCU-MCV provided a PhD in Clinical Pathology with a specialty in microbiology. Graduate experiences included tissue culture, adherence assays, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, receptor characterization, and an appreciation for the pathogenic capabilities of Clostridium difficile. Post graduate work provided opportunities in industry (Becton Dickinson) and government laboratories. A fifteen year career period with the Department of Defense, yielded a substantial publication and patent roster. As part of this effort, projects with the University College Galway, Ireland and participated in NATO conferences in Italy provided a platform to present data on detection methods involving DNA hybridization, receptor adhesion binding, and antigen-antibody interactions. Teaching experiences include American University Medical School on St. Maartin, Rowan University in New Jersey and Clinical Laboratory Science School at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. Most recently, after a return to the clinical microbiology laboratory in director positions, Dr. Wood has become involved in the identification of the agent that causes Lyme disease. Rarely has such a challenging and intriguing subject presented itself with such need. Clearly, the acquisition of many different acquired techniques proves to be useful in her present position. Her life in New Jersey revolves around her son and cat, as both contribute to her relaxation. Interests outside work include fly fishing, meditation, Reiki, energy healing, and metaphysics.