Yvonne Helbert

Yvonne Helbert

Abstract Presenter

Yvonne is a key member of the MGC R&D team. She has been involved in the development and optimization of our SenSATIVAx DNA extraction kits, PathoSEEK qPCR detection assays, and youPCR detection assays. She is heavily involved in troubleshooting current product offerings and developing new ones. She also helped author our extensive manufactures validation document. Previous to MGC, Yvonne worked at Courtagen Life Sciences and was instrumental in the development of several clinically actionable assays. Prior to Courtagen, she was a Senior Development Scientist at Beckman Coulter Genomics (formerly Agencourt Bioscience). While there she was part of a team that developed the AgencourtTM v2 gDNA Isolation Kit and Viral Nucleic Extraction Kit. Much of her focus was on development of a RNA kit that could extract the HIV virus from plasma and serum and a qPCR detection assay.

While at graduate school at Boston University School of Medicine she worked as a Senior Laboratory Technician at The Center for Human Genetics. There she performed over a half a million genotype experiments from more then three thousand sickle cell anemia patients. She also built the laboratory’s mass spectrometry program for single nucleotide polymorphism detection, and was responsible for all such experiments conducted in the lab.

Yvonne received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Syracuse University and Master’s degree in Biochemistry from Boston University School of Medicine.

The pitfalls of culture-based cannabis microbial safety testing and why it puts consumers at risk

Data will be presented comparing culture-based vs. molecular-based microbial detection on dispensary grade cannabis flowers.  Molecular-based methods revealed the presence of the endofungal bacteria Ralstonia. This is both a plant and human pathogen that causes many fungi to form chlamydospores.  This clumping further complicates uniform sampling and quantitation with culture based techniques. Endofungal bacteria can evade culture-based detection for yeast and molds. Finally, we demonstrate that molecular testing methods, such as qPCR, allow for faster, more accurate testing of harmful species-specific organisms.