Mackenzie Collins, MLS(ASCP)CM, a 2017 graduate of the UNC Clinical Laboratory Science program, presented a poster abstract titled Comparison of a Multiplex PCR Lower Respiratory Tract Assay with Bacterial Culture at the 2018 ASM Clinical Virology Symposium on May 8 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Mackenzie has worked as a medical technologist in the McLendon Clinical Laboratories Molecular Microbiology Laboratory since graduation. Her work includes clinical testing to detect microbial pathogens and analysis of gene sequences associated with antibiotic resistance.
Mackenzie worked with Medical Laboratory Specialist Elena Popowitch and Laboratory Director Melissa Miller, PhD, to study microorganisms present in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid specimens collected from patients with lower respiratory tract infections. The results of the study compared the traditional quantitative culture method currently in use to a more sensitive and rapid molecular method that could potentially improve detection and the turnaround time for results. Mackenzie is interested in working on more projects that will positively impact antimicrobial stewardship.