Microbiology, Virology & Molecular Diagnostics
The Division of Microbiology, Virology, and Molecular Diagnostics in the Department of Pathology at Northwell Health Core Lab performs hundreds of thousands of infectious disease diagnostic tests annually.
The Division of Infectious Disease Diagnostics in the Department of Pathology at Northwell Health Core Lab performs more than one-million infectious disease diagnostic tests annually. We provide microbiology, virology and molecular diagnostics lab services for tertiary care teaching hospitals including North Shore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Cohen Children's Medical Center and Lenox Hill Hospital, as well as eight community hospitals, numerous hospital affiliated clinics, over 30 nursing homes and over 300 physician offices. Our clients are located in New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County.
The supervisory staff and technologists in our microbiology, virology and molecular diagnostics lab have decades of infectious disease diagnostic experience in bacteriology, mycobacteriology, parasitology, mycology, virology, and molecular diagnostics. We provide routine and reference laboratory tests that support the needs of routine and specialized hospital departments, outpatient-based clinics, pharmaceutical trials and extensive extra-murally funded research studies.
The microbiology, virology and molecular diagnostics lab services are directed by Dr. Christine Ginocchio who has both extensive clinical and research experience in all aspects of infectious diseases testing. Her research studies include bacterial pathogenesis, viral infection diagnosis, viral drug resistance, nucleic acid amplification testing and laboratory quality control. Dr Ginocchio has received research funding from the US Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the NY State Department of Health and various Biotechnology Companies. Dr. Ginocchio is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Virology and president elect of the Pan American Society of Clinical Virology. Dr Ginocchio is a member of the hospital infection control and antibiotics stewardship committees within Northwell Health. Dr Ginocchio holds the academic rank of professor at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Department of Molecular Medicine, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.
Our microbiology, virology and molecular diagnostics lab has an extensive directory of infectious diagnostics tests for pediatric and adult practices in bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology, and molecular diagnostics. Theses services include bacterial culture and identification, antibiotic susceptibility testing, viral culture, fungal culture, parasite identification, viral load quantitation, and other nucleic acid amplification tests such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or NASBA (nucleic acid sequence based amplification).
When adequate commercial tests are not available, the microbiology, virology and molecular diagnostics lab has developed, tested and validated new molecular tests for a variety of infectious agents. These tests are reviewed and approved by the New York Department of Health. We have extensive quality control and quality management to ensure accurate results.
During the 2009 novel H1N1 influenza A outbreak, the Northwell Health Core Laboratory was able to rapidly validate a new influenza assay and provide testing for ten of thousands of patients in a matter of weeks. The Northwell Health Infectious Disease laboratory, along with the New York State Department of Health, did the confirmatory testing for the novel 2009 H1N1 virus for New York City and Long Island.
The microbiology lab provides comprehensive diagnostic testing in bacteriology, mycobacteriology, mycology and parasitology to assist clinicians in the hospital and outpatient settings. The laboratory uses a combination of traditional culture, microscopy, biochemical testing, automated detection, antibiotic panels and molecular probes. The spectrum of tests ranges from routine streptococcal throat and urinary tract tests to identifying blood stream infections and highly antibiotic resistant pathogenic bacteria. The microbiology lab can identify fungal infections in both immunocompromised and immunocompentent patients including yeasts, molds and unusual opportunistic pathogens. Fungal susceptibility testing is available. Our staff has extensive experience in identifying a wide variety of parasitic worm and protozoan infections in immuno-suppressed or traveling patients from around the world. The microbiology lab serves as a national reference center for the identification and speciation of malaria parasites through the use of a proprietary molecular diagnostics assay.
Examples of tests performed by the microbiology lab include:
- Blood cultures
- Throat and respiratory cultures
- Wounds, tissues and body fluids
- Urine cultures
- Stool cultures (salmonella, shigella, etc)
- Biochemical identification testing
- Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (including MRSA, ESBL, KPC)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (Neisseria gonorrhea)
- Acid fast smear (sputum, other body fluids)
- Culture and biochemical identification of both rapid and slow growing mycobacteria (including mycobacterium tuberculosis)
- Molecular probe identification of mycobacteria (mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, mycobacterium avium complex, mycobacterium kansasii, mycobacterium gordonae)
- Fungal culture (yeast, molds, dimorphic fungi)
- Malaria and other blood parasites identification
- Protozoa identification (cryptosporidium, microsporidium isosporia, giardia, entamoeba)
- Ova and parasites (taenia, hookworm, pinworm, schistosomiasis etc)
The virology laboratory isolates and identifies viruses involved in respiratory disease, meningitis, skin lesions, blood (cytomegalovirus), gastrointestinal disease and other clinical conditions. Chlamydia, an obligate intracellular organism, is also tested in virology. The laboratory uses traditional culture, shell vial culture, hybrid and genetically engineered cell lines, direct immunofluorescent antigen tests and direct antigen tests. The virology laboratory has extensive experience and expertise in conducting vaccine and anti-viral drug pharmaceutical trials. Some testing of viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C viral loads are performed in our molecular diagnostics laboratory.
Examples of tests performed by the virology laboratory include:
- Respiratory virus culture and direct fluorescent antigen (DFA) test
- Herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus and cytomegalovirus culture
- Herpes simplex/varicella direct antigen stain (skin lesions)
- Cytomegalovirus antigenemia in blood
- Adenovirus culture
- Enterovirus culture from respiratory and cerebrospinal fluid
- Rotavirus antigen test in stool
- Chlamydia culture and direct antigen stain from genital and other sites
Molecular Diagnostics Lab
The molecular diagnostics laboratory uses a variety of nucleic acid amplification methods to detect and identify unique nucleic acids sequences (DNA and RNA) in infectious organisms including viruses, bacteria and parasites. Molecular methods are useful when infectious agents are difficult to culture and identify by traditional culture methods.
Examples of tests performed by the molecular diagnostics laboratory include:
- Quantitative HIV and genotyping (drug resistance)
- Quantitative hepatitis C virus and genotype (subtyping)
- Quantitative hepatitis B virus
- Quantitative Epstein Barr virus and cytomegalovirus
- Respiratory Virus Panel (detection of 10 different respiratory viruses including influenza subtyping)
- Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhea
- Human papillomavirus (HPV), high risk
- Herpes virus detection (HSV 1 and 2, VZV, EBV, CMV, HHV-6)
- Group B streptococcus (GBS)
- Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Clostridium difficile
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis
- Trichomonas vaginalis
- Plasmodium spp. (malaria)