Michal Chojnacky is a physicist in the Thermodynamic Metrology Group. Her work at NIST helps companies and other laboratories measure temperature accurately to regulate manufacturing processes and public utilities, keep products safe, and advance research and development in fields like aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and metrology.
Michal leads NIST research on the storage and handling of vaccines, which are highly temperature-sensitive products. Her work supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vaccines for Children Program, which distributes approximately $4 billion worth of federally subsidized vaccines to underinsured U.S. children each year. The program identifies current vaccine storage and handling practices and equipment, replicates these conditions in controlled laboratory experiments, and develops best practices guidance that is easily translated to a public health audience. She is also involved in the first U.S. effort to standardize vaccine storage equipment through the creation of an ANSI standard for vaccine refrigerators and freezers.
Michal is also responsible for the primary NIST temperature realization and dissemination of the SI (kelvin) through the International Temperature Scale of 1990 (ITS-90). The NIST Standard Platinum Resistance Thermometer (SPRT) Calibration Laboratory provides SI temperature traceability through measurement services from the Ar TP (83.8 K) to the Ag FP (1234.9 K) to U.S. industry and critical national and international stakeholders, including military, aerospace, academic, and government laboratories. The lab also engages in international key comparisons and provides proficiency testing services to NVLAP stakeholder laboratories.
ANSI Next Generation Award (2018): For demonstrating vision, leadership, dedication and significant contributions to standardization of vaccine storage equipment.
NIST Judson C. French (2013): For creating an internationally accepted NVLAP proficiency test program that enables U.S. industry to compete in the global marketplace (w/ S. Bruce, K. Garrity, G. Strouse, and D. Olson)
Arthur S. Flemming Award (2012): For translating laboratory research in temperature measurement to public health clinics and primary care physician offices. Ms. Chojnacky developed a suite of tools and training materials that are dramatically improving vaccine storage, handling and monitoring, helping to ensure the potency of vaccines distributed each year around the world.
DoC Silver Medal (2011): For solving vaccine cold‐chain management problems that were rendering nearly two‐thirds of CDC's vaccine stock ineffective (w/ G. Strouse)