Source Molecular Discusses qPCR Automation at APHL Annual Meeting

Source Molecular Corporation’s Dr. Yiping Cao was invited to speak at the APHL Annual Meeting in Pasadena, California, where she talked about the laboratory’s development of its Automated Microbial Source Tracking (MST) qPCR Platform.

Dr. Cao was invited as one of the speakers for the session, “Successes and Challenges of Implementing Molecular Techniques in Environmental Microbial Surveillance”. Her presentation is titled: “Scaling up Molecular Environmental Microbial Surveillance through Automation.”

Hundreds of participants attended the 2018 APHL Annual Meeting and Twelfth Government Environmental Laboratory Conference that was held from June 2 to June 5, 2018. The four-day conference addressed elements specific to laboratory preparedness. In particular, sessions covered next-generation sequencing, infectious disease, environmental health, informatics, legalized marijuana, biomonitoring, food safety, newborn screening, and emergency preparedness.

Watershed managers across the country regularly conduct microbial water quality monitoring in order to safeguard public health. In fact, the Natural Resources Defense Council, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt membership organization, reported that “American beaches violate public health standards thousands of times a year, mostly because of bacteria carried in raw sewage, animal waste, and stormwater runoff that can make people sick.”

Dr. Cao noted that traditional methods used in microbial water quality monitoring includes culturing fecal indicator bacteria. However, it has been demonstrated that microbial source tracking (MST) technologies are far more superior because bacteria sources can be identified. But the problem is MST isn’t available in local laboratories. Water managers have to reach out to special MST labs in order to get their samples analyzed.

There is a need for more MST laboratories so water managers can have easier access to the technology. Dr. Cao says the solution is automation. By automating the qPCR process, Dr. Cao says, it will minimize unnecessary hands-on work and time; improve standardization; decrease technical barrier, training and maturation time; and increase the sustainability of acquired capacity.

For more information about Source Molecular’s Automated qPCR Platform and to get a copy of the presentation, please contact Dr. Cao at