MEET THE AUTHORS
Meet our microbiology experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge with others in the field.
Ashley Umlauf joined the Molecular R&D team at Microbiologics in July 2016. Ashley is developing new products including instrument control panels using a variety of molecular biology-based techniques such as qPCR and molecular cloning. In addition, Ashley has experience in method validation, GMO product testing, and array-based high throughput genotyping. In 2012, Ashley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. See Ashley’s articles.
Amanda Yasgar is the Proficiency Manager at Microbiologics. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science in 2008 and began working at Microbiologics as a Laboratory Assistant in 2009. Amanda also worked in the Industrial Quality Control department as a Lab Tech before transitioning to Manager of Clinical Quality Control in 2012. Some of Amanda’s experiences include food microbiology (BAM methods), clinical strain knowledge, method validations, quality assurance, and auditing. As Proficiency Manager, Amanda oversees Microbiologics’ private proficiency accounts by assisting in building proficiency panels and ensuring overall customer satisfaction. See Amanda’s articles.
Vice President of Molecular Products and Services
Brian Beck is the Vice President of Molecular Products and Services for Microbiologics. Brian leads technology assessment activities focused on quantitation, inactivation, and preservation of microorganisms for novel, ready-to-use formats. He works closely with Microbiologics molecular diagnostic development partners to customize controls used in development, regulatory assessment and verification and validation activities. Before joining Microbiologics, Brian managed the Microbiology Collections at ATCC where he led efforts to acquire and authenticate Type cultures and emerging pathogens for the research community. Brian earned his Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed research appointments at the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan. See Brian’s articles.
Technical Support Representative
Cait Laudenbach is a Technical Support Representative at Microbiologics where she handles customer inquires and investigations. Previously, Cait was an Industrial Quality Control Technologist; in this role, she became very familiar with Microbiologics enumerated products and various testing methods. Cait holds Biomedical Science degree from St. Cloud State University. She is passionate about microbiology and enjoys being able to communicate with customers and distributors from all over the world. See Cait’s articles.
Technical Support Team
Jane Johnson has been with the Microbiologics Technical Support Team since March 2015. Jane has 23 years of experience working in food microbiology as well as previous experience in medical and clinical microbiology. In addition to this experience, Jane previously worked for Microbiologics in Quality Control and Customer/Technical Support. Jane carries a degree in medical technology from the Medical Institute of Minnesota. See Jane’s articles.
Site QA Leader
Jennifer Vavala is an accomplished leader in quality assurance, quality control, and regulatory compliance in the ever-challenging environments of pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Originally from the east coast, she came to California on a consulting job in 2018 and settled in Orange County before joining Microbiologics Virology Services Division in San Diego as the Site QA Leader. She hopes to use her 20 years of experience to manage the company’s quality systems for further expansion into clinical and pharma markets. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Millersville University and earned an MBA from Waynesburg University. She is also a certified quality auditor through ASQ. When she is not working, Jennifer enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time with her beau. She is an avid back-yard birder (a self-proclaimed bird nerd) and especially enjoys the dozens of hummingbirds that visit her 4 feeders.
Molecular Research & Development Technician
Jenny Rowan has worked as a Molecular Research & Development Technician at Microbiologics for two years. She came to Microbiologics with molecular experience from St. Cloud State University and the Applied Structural Genomics research program with bacterial culture, transformation and protein expression. Jenny carries a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biotechnology and a minor in Chemistry from St. Cloud State University. See Jenny’s articles.
Joshua X. Pulido, MHA, MLS (ASCP)
Business Development Manager
Joshua X. Pulido, MHA, MLS(ASCP), is the Business Development Manager at Microbiologics where he leads the business activities for the Virapur division. Josh has nearly 20 years of experience in clinical diagnostics and is a certified Medical Laboratory Scientist through the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Prior to joining Microbiologics, Josh worked in marketing and sales in the Clinical Diagnostics industry for 11 years, and previously had nearly nine years of experience working in clinical laboratories as a technologist and supervisor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from Weber State University and holds a Master of Health Administration from Weber State University. See Joshua’s articles.
Joslyn Pribble is an experienced auditor who has performed over 600 inspections for the College of American Pathologists (CAP). She serves as a member of the Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP) for CAP in Microbiology and Immunology and is the current Texas State Director for the Southwestern Association of Clinical Microbiology (SWACM).
Pribble graduated from the University of Colorado with a double major in biology and English writing. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in medical technology and a master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She holds a Black Belt certification with an emphasis in healthcare from Villanova University and is certified as a Master Black Belt with the American Society for Quality (ASQ).
Karla I. Fjeld
Research and Development Scientist
Karla I. Fjeld is the Research and Development Scientist at Microbiologics. Karla received a Bachelor of Arts in biology and chemistry at the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota in 2001, and a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan in 2007. As the R&D Scientist, she works on both new products and product and process improvements. See Karla’s articles.
Midwest Area Sales Manager
Kelly Hedlund holds a Bachelor of Science in microbiology. Her experience at Microbiologics includes working as a microbiologist and managing one of the Quality Control laboratories. Currently, she is the Midwest Area Sales Manager for Microbiologics, and assists customers and distributors with their QC microorganism needs. Kelly has industrial experience with wastewater testing as well as food quality testing. Through her education and career, Kelly has developed a strong background in microbial testing and identification. She has experience with validations of laboratory equipment and processes, and is also a certified internal auditor for ISO 9001:2008. See Kelly’s articles.
Kali Sorum has been with the Technical Support Team at Microbiologics for three years. She has vast knowledge in the pharmaceutical industry with experience working as a Pharmacy Technician for three years. Kali carries a Bachelor’s degree with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry from Nebraska Wesleyan University. See Kali’s articles.
Marylou Gibson, PhD
Marylou Gibson’s experience has been gained over the past 25 years in production and purification of biopharmaceuticals. Her Ph.D. degree is in virology.
Laboratory Director at Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle
Melissa Gilmore oversees a full-service medical diagnostics laboratory and a staff of more 47 employees as the Laboratory Director at Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle in Columbus, Mississippi. Melissa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the Mississippi University for Women, as well as a Medical Technology degree from Baptist Memorial Hospital School of Medical Technology. Most recently, Melissa has served as clinical work group Chairperson for a collaborative microbiology project involving 13 hospitals within her healthcare system.
Laurie Kundrat, MT (ASCP)
Laurie Kundrat, MT (ASCP), is a former Microbiologics employee and regular contributing author to the Microbiologics Blog. She has over 30 years of experience as a microbiologist and a clinical technologist. During her career at Microbiologics, Laurie was an active member of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and served as a member of the Microbiology Committee. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in biology. She also earned a medical technology degree from Fairview General Hospital. See Laurie’s articles.
Robin E. Stombler
President of Auburn Health Strategies, LLC
Robin E. Stombler is President of Auburn Health Strategies, LLC, a strategic and business development company serving health and science clients nationwide.
Prior to founding Auburn Health Strategies in 2003, Stombler served as the Vice President of Government Affairs for the 140,000 members of the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and directed its Washington Office for over nine years. She previously served as a Senior Washington Associate for the American College of Surgeons.
Stombler has published peer-reviewed and trade journal articles on a variety of health, science and business topics. Among her publications, she wrote Culture Collections Serve Invaluable Functions, A Food Safety Test We Have Yet to Pass, and co-authored Laboratory Preparedness for Bioterrorism: From Phlebotomist to Pathologist; Institute for Quality in Laboratory Medicine: Recognizing Excellence in Practice: Highlights from First Landmark Summit –An Opportunity to Enhance Medical Care.
A veteran of Capitol Hill and state government, she has lectured for the Washington Representatives Program at The George Washington University. Jefferson Medical College’s Department of Health Policy appointed Stombler a Senior Scholar for 2006-2007. A member of the Board of Discipline Editors of the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, Stombler has served on the Board of Directors of Women’s Health Virginia.
Rodney E. Rohde, PhD
Professor and Chair for the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Program in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University
Rodney E. Rohde, PhD is a Professor and Chair for the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Program in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University. He serves as Associate Dean of Research and as Associate Director for the Translational Health Research Center. Dr. Rohde is a Global Fellow and Honorary Professor of International studies. He is an ASCP board-certified Specialist in Virology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. He spent a decade as a public health microbiologist and molecular epidemiologist with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Bureau of Laboratories and Zoonosis Control Division prior to his academic career, including two terms as a CDC Visiting Scientist. His research interests include Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs), antimicrobial resistance, and clinical/public health microbiology. Dr. Rohde has published over 60 research articles and abstracts, two books, and is a highly sought keynote presenter with over 100 international, national, and state conference presentations. In recent years, he has become a globally viral author subject matter expert utilizing invited articles, podcasts, videocasts, and interviews to enhance science communication and translational health research literacy.
Sue D. Monas
Former Microbiologics Employee
Sue D. Monas is the pen name of a Microbiologics Technical Support Specialist with extensive food industry experience. See Sue’s articles.
Tina Sobania, M.S.
Director of Corporate Quality
Tina Sobania, M.S., is the Director of Corporate Quality at Microbiologics where she leads the Quality Systems and Technical Support departments. Tina has over 20 years of medical device quality system and regulatory experience. She earned her bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering from St. Cloud State University and holds a Master of Science from the University of St. Thomas. See Tina’s articles.