UW-Madison: Three Finalists Named For Top Hygiene Lab Post

CONTACT: Darrell Bazzell, (608) 263-2467, [email protected]

MADISON – A national search has yielded three candidates for the top position at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, the state agency responsible for safeguarding public health in Wisconsin.

The lab’s primary mission centers on monitoring the public health of Wisconsin’s citizens, safeguarding the state’s environmental well-being and educating residents on issues of public health. The new director will succeed Ronald Laessig, who has directed the lab since 1980.

Identified as finalists for the post are Charles D. Brokopp, Michael John Mac and Kurt D. Reed.

Brokopp is currently the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Select Agents and Toxins in Atlanta. He also is that agency’s coordinating officer for terrorism preparedness and emergency response.

Mac is director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Environmental Research Center in Columbia, Mo., a lab with 130 employees and an annual budget of $15 million.

Reed directs the Marshfield Clinic’s Division of Laboratory Medicine and is an authority on infectious disease pathology, particularly in the area of emerging infectious diseases.

“We have three excellent candidates for this critical job,” says Darrell Bazzell, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s vice chancellor for administration who is responsible for overseeing the search for a new director for the lab. “Their backgrounds and experiences, although varied, lend themselves very well to leading the lab that is on the front line of public, environmental and occupational health in Wisconsin.”

The State Laboratory of Hygiene, notes Bazzell, has a mission that has been accentuated in recent years with the emergence of new pathogens such as hanta virus, new strains of avian influenza and other diseases that threaten public health. In addition, threats of bioterrorism have placed an added emphasis of public safety on the lab’s overarching mission.

With a staff of 350 people and an annual budget of nearly $37 million, the lab provides public, environmental and occupational health laboratory expertise to an array of local, state and national entities. It was established in 1903 as part of the University of Wisconsin, and many of the lab’s staff also serve as UW-Madison faculty.

The new director is expected to be named this summer.