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Lead poisoning in children occurs from exposure to the toxic metal in the living environment. It is particularly prevalent in larger urban cities, where exposure risk to lead paint from older houses is common.
Increased awareness of this threat and the discovery that certain toys are contaminated with lead has caused an increase in demand for blood lead testing. ESA Biosciences in Chelmsford is a medical device company focused on eliminating childhood lead poisoning. They manufacture a medical device that accurately measures blood lead levels.
When staffing the Blood Lead Support Division, the company sought trained individuals with a mixture of abilities, including an understanding of the clinical chemistry of lead poisoning, a deep comprehension of the analytical medical device design and an appreciation for measurement of blood lead. The individuals would need to possess a strong understanding of laboratory quality control and analytical troubleshooting and be able to install the instruments and effectively train individuals at various medical sites for their accurate use.
The company turned to the University of Massachusetts Lowell Clinical Laboratory Sciences/Medical Technology Program. Medical Technologists Cheryl Callahan ('82) and Devon Carlson (BS/MT '07, MS/CLS '08) are members of ESA’s product support team. The quality of students produced by the School of Health and Environment led ESA Biosciences to establish an internship program with the Clinical Laboratory Science program, giving students industry experience while ESA benefits from the talent and fresh perspectives of the students. Kathy Kotlarz, a senior Clinical Laboratory Sciences student has joined the team as an intern this semester.
Robb Morse, sales and marketing manager of the Blood Lead Products Division at ESA Biosciences, says, “We are very pleased with the high level of quality of graduates that come from the UMass Lowell Medical Technology and Clinical Laboratory Sciences programs. Not only do we get valuable contributions from the students during their internships with us, this is the first place we look to fill our new openings.”