Microbial Insights provides unparalleled expertise. There is no substitute for experience. Our laboratory personnel have received graduate degrees, and are published, recognized experts. You can rest assured that your samples are in the hands of our dedicated professionals.

Meet a few of these extraordinary scientists below:

Dora Taggart
Chief Executive Officer

Since joining Microbial Insights in 2001, Dora Taggart has advanced the field of Molecular Biological Tools, including pioneering work in qPCR analysis and stable isotope probing. Dora continues to propel MI forward by collaborating with leading researchers in academia and federal agencies to keep MI at the forefront of the industry. As CEO, Dora has become a global ambassador for MBTs, regularly presenting as an invited speaker at environmental and corrosion conferences, leading hundreds of technical workshops worldwide, and co-authoring guidance documents with groups like the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) EMD team and ER Wiki (Remediapedia) to support appropriate use and interpretation of MBTs. In 2011, Dora was named the most valuable team member for the ITRC EMD team, in 2016 received the woman-owned business of the year, in 2017 was honored as Business Person of the Year and in 2022 received the National Groundwater Association Technology Award. She also serves on the Board of Directors of  Boys and Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau, Environmental Workshops, LLC as well as serves on the town council committee of Farragut, and the Board of Visitors for the University of Tennessee Department of Microbiology. For 2022 and 2023, Dora will serve as chair for the National Institute of Health MCST (12) section.  Dora received her degree in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Kate Clark
Vice President of Global Laboratory Services

Kate directs the scientific and laboratory operations at MI, coordinating with lab directors, clients, international partners, and project managers to ensure that high-quality, accurate results are produced on time and our high customer service standards are upheld. With over a decade of experience and expertise in the analyses MI offers, she is uniquely suited to guide the lab in consistently delivering scientifically sound data and maintains the technical insight needed to interpret and apply the results.  She received her B.S. in Biology from Rhodes College and went on to complete her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tulsa. During her Ph.D. studies, Kate focused on the use of molecular biological tools (MBTs) including qPCR and stable isotope probing (SIP) to assess biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons and fuel oxygenates. She was also instrumental in the development and full scale, field validation of innovative in situ bioreactors for enhanced biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents.

Dr. Sam Rosolina
Vice President of Applied Innovation

As VP of Applied Innovation, Sam works with each of the laboratories within Microbial Insights and collaborates with experts across multiple industries to continually drive innovation forward. Throughout the development of new molecular biological tools, his focus is a balance of hard science, accessible methods, and actionable data. He received his B.A. in Chemistry from Berea College and went on to complete a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Tennessee. Throughout his Ph.D. research, Sam focused on analysis of trace-level environmental toxins including heavy metals and toxic gases. Detection and quantification of trace contaminants in complex mixtures and media is an especially challenging field requiring not only the development and optimization of innovative new analytical methods but also the establishment of highly rigorous QA/QC procedures for initial and continuing method validation.

Rhonda Mullins
Controller

Rhonda oversees the operations of the accounting department and all accounting related tasks.  She prepares monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements for management, provides other reports to assist in the evaluation of ongoing operations.  She also manages all Human Resource functions, including employee recruitment and retention, employee benefits, time and attendance systems. She also ensures the company complies with local, state, and federal government reporting requirements.  She received her BS in Organizational Management from Tusculum College and has over 30 years’ experience in accounting, HR, finance, and operations.

John Gallagher
Vice President of Business Development

John works closely with the Research and Development team to commercialize new products and services.  In addition, he works with MI’s sales teams, both domestically and around the globe, to ensure that clients have access to the tools they need to accomplish their goals.  Finally, he is charged with monitoring business processes and quality controls to ensure that MI is working as efficiently and accurately as their clients have come to expect.  He received his B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University and his M.S. in Accounting from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Charles Slater
Senior Research Scientist

Charles is instrumental in qPCR and QuantArray® assay design and ensuring that Microbial Insights continues to remain at the forefront of molecular microbiology. Charles’ expertise and experience both at the lab bench and at the computer spans the continuum of molecular biology from DNA (extraction, qPCR, sequencing) through gene expression (mRNA, RT-qPCR) to protein purification and analysis (SDS-PAGE, HPLC, MS). Over the past 20 years, the molecular microbiology field has exploded not just in terms of technology but also in terms of data volume with nearly 200,000,000 gene sequences available. Simply put, developing and validating new MBTs requires a special team of scientists and a corporate commitment to research and development. He received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Tennessee and his M.S. in Forensic Science and Biotechnology from the University of Alabama.

Omara Robles
DNA Laboratory Director

As Assistant DNA Laboratory Director, Omara is responsible for processing and analyzing samples using techniques such as qPCR, QuantArray® and Next Generation Sequencing. She has diversified her skills in quality assurance and management working in the biopharmaceutical industry for many years. She received her B.S. in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, where she performed undergraduate research in cell regeneration and gene expression granted by the National Institute of Health (NIH). She assists by overseeing the DNA Laboratory operations, her main goal is to ensure the quality of the process while providing accurate results to uphold our high customer service standards.

Michael Williamson
Analytical Director

Michael runs the analytical chemistry side of Microbial Insights including Compound Specific Isotope Analysis and Stable Isotope Probing. His role includes ensuring that Microbial Insights’ high standard of QA/QC is met within each project and finding ways to enhance the sample process flow. Michael received his B.S. in Microbiology from Middle Tennessee State University. He has many years of diverse laboratory experience with a strong background in analytical chemistry method development and optimization, bioassay development, and quality control and process improvement.

Christian Polanco
Project Management

Christian is responsible for project management and helps clients with selecting the correct assays for their projects, sampling logistics, and routine customer service requests. He also assists the technical director with overseeing the customer service department and DNA, PLFA, and CSIA laboratories to ensure that high-quality, accurate results are delivered on time. Christian is a detail-oriented Biotechnologist specialized in cell culture with extensive experience in Biopharmaceuticals. He is passionate about the environment and draws from his previous experience to improve processes in our facilities and communicate to clients the utility and applications of our MBTs.  He obtained a B.S. in Biotechnology from the InterAmerican University in Arecibo, PR.

Benjamin Brubaker
Assistant DNA Laboratory Director

Benjamin is a Data Analyst with Microbial Insights and works to streamline the data handling process along the path from the raw output to its implementation in the final deliverable. His role includes analyzing data output from qPCR, QuantArray®, and sequencing tests to ensure accurate and informative results, as well as working to push the reliability and further automation of the report generation process. His ultimate goal is to ensure the highest standard of quality assurance for every sample processed.  With a background in Bio-Cellular Chemistry and Microbiology (University of Tennessee), Benjamin helps contribute to the technical side of the DNA analysis process while also helping to ensure the interpretability and functionality of the data and analyses being provided to clients.

Dr. Ali Taleghani

Senior Scientist

As a senior scientist, Ali is responsible for project development and implementation as well as comprehensive and historical reporting. With a background in data analysis and modeling, contamination tracking, and remediation planning, Ali leverages his comprehensive skill set to provide superior data interpretation and reporting. He received his B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology and his M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Sharif University of Technology. During this time, his research focused on modeling the transport of contaminants in multiphase environments as well as producing activated carbon derived from agricultural residues to remove heavy metals in industrial wastewater. While pursuing his Ph.D. in Biological Engineering at the University of Missouri, he investigated the biodegradation of veterinary antibiotics via bench-scale anaerobic digesters and established a full-scale ammonia stabilization project.