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

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 President, 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. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Bottle Rocket Productions, Boys and Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau, Environmental Workshops, LLC as well as the Board of Visitors for the University of Tennessee Department of Microbiology. Dora received her degree in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.

Anita Biernacki
Vice President
of Operations

Anita joined Microbial Insights in 2006, and has helped to advance and implement the MI vision. Anita oversees the DNA, PLFA, and Stable Isotope Laboratories and is ultimately responsible for all processes from sample reception through analysis to report delivery and ensuring that we achieve the MI mission of offering our clients the most accurate and comprehensive spectrum of MBTs in the industry. As VP of Operations, Anita leads process improvement initiatives, oversees quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), works to sustain the lab and IT infrastructure, and manages employee relations. Her comprehensive business leadership developed through experience over the years of running MI with a managerial perspective. She received her B.S. in Biology from the University of South Florida and her M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee. During her graduate studies under Prof. David White, Anita employed a variety of MBTs to investigate the microbial community composition and structure associated with methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) biodegradation under anaerobic conditions at gasoline impacted sites.

Dr. Brett Baldwin
Vice President of Biotechnology

Brett’s focus is applied research and development that leads to actionable MBT data. At Microbial Insights, Brett was the PI on two NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, was a co-author of the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) guidance documents on qPCR, Microbial Fingerprinting, and Data Quality, and more recently co-authored the MBTs chapter of the ER Wiki (Remediapedia). Brett serves as a technical resource for MI project managers and staff scientists and writing publications and technical presentations that promote the appropriate selection, application and interpretation of MBTs in environmental remediation. Brett received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Purdue University. During his Ph.D. studies, Brett was among the first to design and field validate qPCR assays to evaluate biodegradation of BTEX and PAHs. While a Sr. Engineer, he developed corrective action plans for petroleum impacted sites, managed a RCRA site, and served as a co-PI on the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded grant using MBTs to evaluate monitored natural attenuation (MNA) and enhanced bioremediation.

Dr. Kate Clark
Technical Director

Kate is responsible for project development and implementation as well as comprehensive and historical reporting. With expertise and experience ranging from the lab bench to field sites, she is uniquely suited for project development and management — aiding clients from MBT assay selection and study design through reporting and result interpretation. 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
Director of Environmental Forensics

Sam optimizes and implements new analyses in our stable isotope facility. With his expertise and experience in the development and validation of cutting-edge analytical techniques and methods, Sam ensures that the Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA) Laboratory meets the highest standards of accuracy and precision while he continues to broaden the scope of environmental molecular diagnostics for environmental and MIC assessment. 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.

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.

Casey Brown
DNA Laboratory Director

Casey manages the DNA Laboratory, where she has been responsible for all processes including DNA and RNA extractions, qPCR, QuantArray, and report delivery. With detailed knowledge of molecular biological tools (MBTs) and experience in assessment of remediation technologies, Casey directs study design, assay selection, and result interpretation. She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University at Buffalo and her M.S. in Forensic Science from Buffalo State College. For her M.S. thesis, Casey developed a single cell hydrogel array that allowed her to investigate cellular responses to environmental stresses such as osmotic shock. After completing her Master’s, she performed treatability studies to assess biodegradation of BTEX and chlorinated solvents and evaluate chemical oxidation of soil and groundwater contaminants with persulfate and Fenton’s reagent.

Jennifer Amos
Customer Service Director

Jennifer is at the hub of operations responsible for overseeing bottle orders, sample check-in, routine quoting and often serving as the initial point of contact and liaison between our clients and project managers. At MI, we strive to match cutting edge MBTs with exceptional customer service that simply cannot be matched by other laboratories. To achieve this goal, Jennifer combines scientific knowledge and experience with outstanding skills in organization, logistics and communication. While completing her B.A. in Biology, she performed an undergraduate thesis project investigating the orientation of turtles. After graduation, Jennifer oversaw all daily operations of a veterinary practice and went on to hone her customer service skills by managing client contact and business operations for a company with a staff of over four hundred. She received her B.A. in Biology from Maryville College.