Dr. Jason Kralj has served on the NIST staff since 2006, currently working in the Complex Microbial Systems group as the Project Leader for developing standards for pathogen detection using metagenomic next generation sequencing (mNGS). Infectious disease remains a burden on the healthcare system, costing lives and billions of dollars each year that are largely preventable if the causative agents can be quickly identified. He believes that mNGS, in combination with rapidly developing technologies in DNA sequencing and infomatics tools, will help dramatically lower these costs.
The development of these new materials and methods will serve to improve our ability to employ mNGS for identifying potential harmful bacteria without a priori knowledge of their identity. To achieve this, he works with academic, industrial, and government stakeholders to develop standards that will bolster confidence in this emerging technology and translate it from the laboratory into general practice.
Besides, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, and standards development, Dr. Kralj also has a background in microfluidics for biological and chemical analyses and PCR-based diagnostics.
NIST is accepting post-doctoral fellowship applications for US Citizens within 5 years of finishing their PhD through the National Research Council (NRC) Research Associateship Program (RAP). Base Stipend is currently $72,028/yr, for two years. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Kralj directly.
Dr. Kralj is an advisor on:
Mixed Pathogen Detection -- addressing challenges and strategies to evaluate metagenomic NGS analyses to improve the sensitivity and specificity of organism identification within complex samples.
Rapid Pathogen Detection -- to improve infectious disease diagnostics employing new technologies and strategies. These should ideally be rapid, robust, point-of-care, and inexpensive so as to eventually enable clinically-actionable solutions.