HETL Laboratory Sections

LICENSES: Independent Clinical Laboratory, Substance of Abuse Testing Laboratory, Health Screening Laboratory Service,

CERTIFICATES:Blood Alcohol Phlebotomist, Blood Alcohol Analyst, Drug Analyst, Breath Alcohol Testing Equipment, Water Testing Laboratory, OUI-Drug Analyst


Laboratory Director:
Dr. Kenneth G. Pote Ph.D.
(207) 287-2703
Microbiology Supervisor: Nick Matluk MS, MB (ASCP) (207) 287-6736
QA Officer: Rick Danforth (207) 287-5679
Lori Webber
(207) 287-1722
Vacant (calls still answered)
(207) 287-1706
Molecular Biology/Sequencing/PFGE: Heather Grieser BS, MB (ASCP) (207) 287-5769

Virology/Serology Section : Identifies viral agents from clinical specimens for herpes simplex virus, influenza A and B viruses, parainfluenza viruses, enterovirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, cytomegalovirus, varicella zoster and mumps. Performs serotyping of all influenza isolates.  Serologic testing includes a wide variety of viral and non-viral agents such as rubella, measles, mumps, chickenpox, HIV-1, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, syphilis, hepatitis B, and C, Toxoplasma gondii , cryptococcus, and arboviruses including West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Saint Louis Encephalitis viruses.

Bacteriology Section: Process urine and genital specimens for Chlamydia and gonorrhoeae by amplified DNA probe; analyze foods for foodborne bacteria that cause disease; identifies miscellaneous bacteria as well as those that require special procedures; Bacteria causing whooping cough, meningitis, plague and brucellosis, typhoid fever, bacillary dysentery, Yersiniosis, botulism and gas gangrene. Cryptosporidium and Giardia testing can be performed routinely. During outbreak situations, please call the bacteriology section to make arrangements for any parasitology testing.

TB/Mycology/Rabies Section: Performs the identification of all mycobacterium species, drug susceptibility on Mycobacterium tuberculosis , identification of all mycology specimens and rabies diagnosis in animals.

Molecular Diagnostics and Methods Development Section: working closely with the various sections within the microbiology division at HETL and MeCDC, the molecular diagnostic/methods development section implements and supports various diagnostic tests. The section’s primary role is to identify, optimize, implement and support complex testing within the microbiology section. Generally, these tests utilize nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT’s) for the detection of human pathogens and include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).  Tests implemented to date include NAAT’s for: Bordetella pertussis, parapertussis and holmesii, Campylobacter jejuni/coli, Clostridium difficile, Cryptosporidium spp. Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Neisseria meningitidis, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahemolyticus, Salmonella spp. Enterovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus 1&2, Measles, Mumps, Norovirus Genogroups I &II, Varicella-Zoster Virus, E. coli O157:H7/ Shigatoxin 1 and 2, and Influenza Virus A/B including novel Influenza strains. The section also utilizes 16S sequencing for identification of bacteria as well as Pyrosequencing for detection of drug resistance markers in influenza A subtypes.  The molecular section oversees HETL’s commitment as a participating laboratory of US CDC’s PulseNet for various foodbourne illnesses associated with Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella and Campylobacter. The molecular diagnostic/methods development section performs and supports WNV/SLE/EEE human, animal and vector testing. Additionally, the section has oversight responsibility for childhood blood lead testing and the testing of various human clinical specimens for specific toxic metals. Lastly, the molecular section plays a lead role in the rapid implementation of various clinical diagnostic assays on an as needed basis for the protection of public health.

FORENSIC CHEMISTRY: Contact person: Chris Montagna 287-1708

Program Support Activities
Public Safety Solid Dose Drug identification for law enforcement agencies, certification of analysts for drug identification, blood and breath alcohol analyses, certification of phlebotomists for blood alcohol testing, certification of analysts for alcohol testing, approval and repair of intoxilyzers, certification of analysts for OUI-drug testing, agriculture harness racing horse/driver drug toxicology, Maine Yankee Radiation monitoring, radon/radiation testing.


ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANICS: Contact person: Jim Curlett 287-6433

The Organics section is a combination of the pesticides/organics laboratory of the Public Health Lab and the Organics section of the DEP lab. Utilizing highly sophisticated techniques such as gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, this section analyzes water samples, soils, leachates, and other samples for hydrocarbons such as gasoline, organic chemicals such as PCBs and volatiles, and for pesticides.

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Contact person: Tom Crosby 287-1710

The Inorganic and Nutrient Analysis section comprises much of the former water laboratory section as well as the DEP heavy metals and nutrients labs. Two distinct sections are included: (1.) Drinking Water and (2.) Environmental. Testing includes drinking water from both public utilities and from private wells, for safety and for other contaminants. It also tests a large range of environmental samples for similar contaminants.

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Maine's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (MCLPPP) has implemented the Centers for Disease Control's recommendation to screen for childhood lead poisoning using blood lead level analysis. Consistent with State Law, 22 MRSA Section 1317, the HETL provides all blood lead testing in Maine. In addition to blood lead analyses, environmental testing is also provided. All data associated with a child (blood and/or environmental) can be linked to provide adequate case management.

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