Melissa Kimes

I have been working at the DNA Identification Testing department of Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp) since July 2007. I started out as a DNA Technologist Trainee and am now a Senior DNA Technologist. On a day to day basis I extract DNA from buccal swabs, blood, or spot cards and run Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR) to yield a large amount of DNA, focusing on specific exons in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA). Then I do Sequence Based Typing (SBT) and load the specimens on an DNA analyzer that reproduces the sequences as data, colorful wavelengths representing the nucleotides, that can easily be read on a computer screen. I go over each exon visually to make sure that the analyzer and computer program interpreted the data correctly. The data are reviewed by another technologist and a supervisor before being released by a Ph.D. to a medical doctor or registry. Many of our specimens are for typing donors and recipients in bone marrow transplant registries. My favorite part of my job is the thought that I’m helping to save people’s lives. I also really enjoy working with my coworkers.