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Disease Detectives: meet the scientists (Back to Detectives Menu)
Photo of Boxrud
He fingerprints killer diseases
When a new disease starts to spread, medical professionals need to know what they'’re up against, and they need to know fast. That’s where Dave Boxrud comes in. A bacteriologist with the Minnesota Department of Health, Dave takes bacteria samples from sick patients, extracts the microbes' DNA and analyzes it to create a genetic fingerprint. He then compares that fingerprint to a national database and collaborates with other public health professionals to pinpoint the source of the infection. Whether dealing with contaminated hamburger, ice cream or lettuce, public health professionals are always on the lookout for the disease culprits.

Dave is fascinated by the complex relationship between bacteria and people. He says bacteria are constantly changing and finding new ways to make people sick, offering an endless supply of new and challenging puzzles to solve.
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