The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program is modernizing the nation’s public health system’s disease-investigation capabilities by integrating traditional epidemiology with next-generation genomic sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics to look at pathogens in new ways. Innovations developed through AMD yield insights into disease-causing microbes and how to stop them; identify known and emerging infectious pathogens; find disease outbreaks faster; understand, monitor, and control antimicrobial resistance; and develop and target measures to protect people’s health.

The AMD program employs the latest technologies and improves capacity in laboratory science,

bioinformatics, and epidemiology. Through these advancements in genetic sequencing and other high throughput laboratory technologies, AMD is contributing to important changes in the practice of clinical and public health microbiology.

Leidos’ scientists and technical experts received a 2022 Innovation Award from FedHealthIT for their work supporting the AMD program in providing scientific computing and bioinformatics support services to CDC scientists. Today we speak with Dr. Vinayaka Kotraiah and Hunter Seabolt to learn more.

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About Dr. Vinayaka Kotraiah, Program Manager, Scientific Computing and Bioinformatics Services for CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases

Dr. Kotraiah has 15 years of relevant experience in project management and vaccine and drug discovery research. He has supported projects totaling more than $15M from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as Principal Investigator and Project Manager. He has also been a discovery scientist in the Biotech sector and has led target discovery and validation efforts in the context of multi-year Biotech-Pharma collaborations in the areas of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. He has one awarded patent, four pending patent applications, and 14 publications. He has licensed out two inventions as an awarded solver through Innocentive Inc.’s crowdsourcing platform. He is currently the Program Manager for the $13M Scientific Computing and Bioinformatics Services contract from CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (NCEZID).

About Hunter Seabolt, Bioinformatics Team Lead, Leidos

Hunter Seabolt has 9 years of relevant experience in bioinformatics and molecular biology research. His work has primarily focused on untangling the genomes of pathogenic microbes and parasitic organisms dating back to his early graduate school days through the present day. His development efforts include extensive benchside R&D to develop novel techniques to facilitate whole-genome sequencing of microbial genomes, the design and implementation of new analytical methods for genomic data, and contributions to open-source scientific computing initiatives like Nextflow’s nf-core. He has published eight research articles to date and is currently the lead Bioinformatics Scientist for the Scientific Computing and Bioinformatics Services contract from CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (NCEZID).

About Leidos

Leidos is a Fortune 500® technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world’s toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, civil, and health markets. The company’s 43,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Va., Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $13.7 billion for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021. For more information, visit http://www.Leidos.com.

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