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Joy Dunkers

Physical Scientist

 Advanced Microscopy of Complex Microbial Communities

This project uses advanced optical imaging methods and associated data analysis tools to address shortcomings in the quality, quantity or specificity of information acquired from conventional microbial methods to help answer the following critical questions:  Who are they?  How many are here? What are they doing? 

Advanced, in situ imaging techniques such as broadband coherent anti-Stokes Raman microscopy (BCARS), structure illumination microscopy (SIM), optical coherence tomography (OCT), fluorescence lifetime microscopy (FLIM),  fluorescence polarization microscopy and high throughput epifluorescence microscopy obtain quantitative information about bacteria identity, morphology and location, metabolic state, and signaling molecules in commercially and clinically relevant mixed microbial communities and biofilms.

Current Projects:

  • Microbial Cell Counting
  • Microbial Viability

This work supports the Microbiome Community Measurements focus area.


Research Opportunities

NIST-NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateship Program: 2-year fellowship at NIST, US citizens only, $72,068 salary plus benefits, relocation expenses included, application deadlines are Feb. 1 and Aug. 1

Current opportunity available in Mapping Reponses in Complex Microbial Systems using Advanced Imaging
Contact: Joy Dunkers or Charles Camp


Awards and Funding

2011 - 2013: Co-champion of Innovations in Measurement Science Award for Shape Metrology Proposal

2007: Department of Commerce Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Federal Service for Creating and Implementing Rigorous Testing Protocols and Benchmarks Needed to Ensure the Security and Integrity of the New US ePassport

2006 – 2008: Secured Phase I ($75k) and Phase II ($270k) of a Small Business Innovative Research award to develop a high speed dual channel imaging microscope for deep imaging of cells, tissue and tissue engineered constructs using optical coherence microscopy and two photon fluorescence.


Professional Organizations

American Society for Microbiology (National and DC Chapters)


Structural Insights into DNA-Stabilized Silver Clusters

Danielle Schultz, Robert G. Brinson, Fahriye N. Sari, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Christina Bergonzo, Nancy J. Lin, Joy P. Dunkers
The structure and dynamics of Ag complexes derived from single stranded DNA (ssDNA) is less understood than their double stranded (dsDNA) counterparts despite

The Testing Program at NIST on Fibers Used in Soft Body Armor Applications

Walter G. McDonough, Amanda L. Forster, Jae Hyun Kim, Nathanael A. Heckert, Joy P. Dunkers, Scott A. Wight, Gale A. Holmes
The goal of this paper and presentation is to give an update of the research effort to date being conducted at the National Institute of Standards and
Created July 30, 2019, Updated February 27, 2020