Army Medical Command and the Army Public Health Center are celebrating Women’s Equality Day by recognizing some outstanding Army Medicine Women.
Dr. Robyn Nadolny is a gifted scientist who started her career at the Army Public Health Center as a Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation or SMART scholar. Throughout her career at APHC, Nadolny has continually evolved and developed professionally. After receiving her doctorate in Ecological Sciences in 2016 from Old Dominion University, Nadolny joined the APHC team in the Laboratory Sciences Directorate as a biologist in the Tick Borne Disease Laboratory, also known as TBDL. Her outreach efforts were critical to the success of a Human Tick Test Kit Program recently renamed to MilTICK or the Military Tick Identification/Infection Confirmation Kit program.
Nadolny’s expertise with ticks and tick-borne diseases supplemented the scientific experience in TBDL. The MilTICK program provides vector-borne disease surveillance and monitors the community ecology of areas as well as detecting invasive tick species. Over time, the range of various tick species have changed, and the presence of pathogens has altered due to human influence and climate change. Nadolny’s scientific experiences modeling and tracking tick species has allowed the program to expand its surveillance activities in support of identifying risks to Warfighters in the environment and potential risks to their health. Under Nadolny’s guidance, the team provides analytical services to detect seven pathogens that can be transmitted to humans after bites.
Nadolny leads a diverse team with military, civilian and contract personnel to analyze pathogens responsible for tick-borne diseases. Nadolny has mentored the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education or ORISE fellows in the section. The ORISE program is a science, technology, engineering and math education program that offers students, graduates and fellows the opportunity to gain new skills and abilities to allow for career progression. Nadolny has also mentored enlisted Soldiers in career options and several of her recent mentees have progressed to positions of greater responsibility or continued their education through medical school. Nadolny is a consummate professional with a strong intellect, common sense, and an ability to work well with individuals of all skill levels.
Rising to the challenge facing APHC in the form of establishing COVID-19 surveillance testing, Nadolny has rapidly parlayed her molecular biology expertise into the basis of surveillance testing. She has morphed her team from tick biologists into analysts for the first Army Public Health Laboratory COVID-19 surveillance testing program in the continental United States. Nadolny was critical to the success of the pilot program and demonstrated that the laboratory can detect SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19, in pooled samples from asymptomatic individuals.
Nadolny’s diverse ability to excel in such different areas is well above what one might expect of someone of her seniority and experience and clearly demonstrates her unusual competence. Her efforts are essential to expanding public health laboratory support to improve the health of Warfighters, civilians, and family members as well as the surrounding communities. Due to her technical skills, mentorship, and guidance, Nadolny’s influence is felt throughout APHC’s Laboratory Sciences Directorate. Her skills have earned her the respect of her colleagues and leaders from her section, the directorate, the organization and the scientific community.