Focus on Virology: Applications to Enable Discovery
Kristen N. Peters Olson, Ph.D. is an Imaging Specialist and Field Applications Scientist for BioTek Instruments in the Greater Boston Area. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and Pathobiology from the University of Missouri in 2012. Her dissertation focused on the Yersinia pestis effector protein, YopK, in modulating cell death modality during pneumonic plague. This in vivo infection model focused on the lung immune response to pneumonic plague and was performed in BSL3 conditions at the University of Missouri Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research. In her postdoctoral position at University of Massachusetts Medical School, she studied efferocytosis and its impact on the innate and adaptive immune response in the lung during tuberculosis. To broaden her infectious disease expertise, she accepted a postdoctoral position at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University, focused on Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa viruses. There, she collaborated with academic colleagues and industry leaders to develop a no-wash diagnostic assay based on SERS technology for the detection of hemorrhagic fever viruses in the field. With the onset of the Zika epidemic, she shifted her focus to Zika virus and developed a novel human placental explant model of infection to understand the cellular tropism, host response, and how the virus causes such severe impact to the developing fetus. This diverse background focusing on host-pathogen interaction in multiple disease models using a variety of assays prepared her for her current position. As an Imaging Specialist for BioTek Instruments, she assists researchers in learning automated imaging technology, developing protocols to best suit their needs, and providing suggestions to improve their research.