Dr. Karen Norrgard

After completing my undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary, Karen entered graduate school in the Department of Human Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her graduat advisor had previously described an autosomal recessive disorder called Biotinidase Deficiency, which is now part of the newborn screening panel (the PKU test). Karen’s work then characterized mutations in the biotinidase gene of children ascertained by newborn screening. She also used a baculovirus system to express different forms of the protein in order to examine two possible leader peptides of the secreted enzyme. At Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc., Karen developed PCR-based assays for the detection of various organisms and managed the company's DNA sequencing projects laboratory for two years. She has since moved into the Reference and Identification laboratory at the same institition, where she supervises the laboratory’s output of paternity tests and maintains the laboratory’s QA/QC requirements for court-admissible results.