Blaine native begins project at Iowa lab

The State Hygienic Laboratory this month welcomed former Blaine resident Dr. Megan Mekoli as an environmental public health fellow assigned for up to two years to the Iowa Laboratories Facility in Ankeny.

Former Blaine resident Dr. Megan Mekoli will be an environmental public health fellow at the Iowa Laboratory Facilities in Ankeny for the next two years.Submitted photo

Former Blaine resident Dr. Megan Mekoli will be an environmental public health fellow at the Iowa Laboratory Facilities in Ankeny for the next two years.Submitted photo

The Association of Public Health Laboratories is the fellowship sponsor.

Mekoli earned her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in analytical chemistry with research emphasis in instrumental techniques.

“I will be creating a biomonitoring model for arsenic in groundwater, urine and hair samples,” Mekoli said. “I found this fellowship to be closely related to a project I completed for my Ph.D. at ISU, wherein I quantified total arsenic in locally obtained, international samples of rice grains and coffee beans using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

“The project I’ll be working on at the hygienic laboratory seems to be a natural next step from the one I completed at ISU; not only quantifying arsenic, but also quantifying how it can be dispersed throughout the body.”

The Environmental Public Health Laboratory Fellowship Program is designed to help strengthen local, state and federal public health infrastructures to support surveillance and implement prevention and control programs specific to environmental health initiatives. The fellowship also promotes and supports public health and environmental laboratories by easing the workforce shortage that these laboratories face.

The program provides APHL-member public health and environmental laboratories the opportunity to enhance their capabilities in clinical testing for environmental exposures, and provides fellows with the opportunity to obtain a working knowledge of specific technologies and real-world laboratory practices. It also adds to the fellow’s scope and understanding of public health research and provides leadership opportunities.

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