Here is the latest update on our progress: The submissions keep coming in and we are nearly ready to start the labwork on our first case. A big thank you to Fort Bend Sheriff's office in Fort Bend, Texas for the first submission from out of state/delivered by mail. Above is a picture of the first mail delivered box held by the lab mascot that keeps us company when we're doing our work. Notice he is ensuring no contamination or COVID-19 spread by wearing a mask!! We have a decent batch of casework ready to go and we'll likely do our first actual sample processing next week (DNA extraction and quantification). We added a couple more studies to our DNA Extraction validation to ensure we have all the data we need to support our implementation and are diligently working on competency tests for Alyssa, Derek and myself. Both the validation and competency/training should all be finalized and signed off early next week paving the way for our first set of casework samples! Our first validation run using Next Generation Sequencing (or Massively Parallel Sequencing) successfully processed on our Verogen MiSeq FGX. We'll be running some more samples to practice the techniques while we await the "new and improved" batches of Verogen Forenseq DNA Signature consumables to be shipped to us in mid July. At that point it will be ALL HANDS ON DECK as we get this technology up and running. Between the lab staff and the team and Verogen, we are all committed to implementing this as soon as possible. We're excited to have Dr. Meredith Turnbough and Dr. Anna McMullin in lab as much as we can to help us get the work done as with as much quality and efficiency as possible! We received our new instrument from Qiagen, the TissueLyser this week and we're hoping to have the team from Qiagen (Bryan Davis and Josh Abernathy) come to our lab again to help us optimize the instrument and the assay. This will be a great opportunity to apply some new, cutting edge technology to processing bone and teeth samples. The data looks fantastic in initial studies and we're excited to see how effective it can be!
Lastly, some very exciting news, we have an official date for our on-site assessment with our accrediting body the ANSI National Accrediting Body (ANAB). We will have our assessors on site to our laboratory the last week of October to finalize the process of our accreditation. As I've mentioned previously, accreditation is a bit of "chicken and egg". To be accredited, we must do casework that the assessors can audit us with, but, that means technically we do casework in a "pending" or "applicant" accreditation status. We thank those that have given us their trust on this and we cannot wait to have the assessors on site and promise we will have our accreditation finalized as soon as possible and are working hand in hand with the ANAB team to get this accomplished! In the interim, please remember that our quality system documents are posted on our website for public consumption, feedback and transparency. If there are any suggestions or concerns, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We're working hard and we'll keep checking off boxes on our "to do" list to make this dream a reality! Justice for all, no exceptions! -Danny