Helping Babies in India and Wisconsin

Scientists from NeoGen Labs in Bangalore, India, spent a week in September at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) Newborn Screening Laboratory learning about Wisconsin’s testing and reporting processes.

NeoGen scientists Dr. Ruby Poickaranparambil Babu, consultant biochemist, and Aggunda Channa Poornima, senior manager for laboratory operations, came to Wisconsin to learn about validating test assays and determining result cutoffs, routine testing workflow, troubleshooting, quality control, and assay result interpretation and reporting.

“We hope to increase the scope of tests we offer in India and the Wisconsin newborn screening lab is the standard we want to compare ourselves to,” explains Dr. Babu. “The Wisconsin newborn screening lab is known internationally and we came to learn about processes we could implement in our lab to help us improve.”

NeoGen has been performing newborn screening in India for 10 years. Currently, the lab screens between 25,000 – 30,000 babies a year for 57 disorders.

The scientific information exchange was very productive according to Poornima.

“We’ve learned a lot and want to take back some of these best practices.”


WSLH Chemist Kelly Klockziem (center) shows the inner workings of a PerkinElmer Genetic Screening Platform (GSP) to Aggunda Channa Poornima (left) and Dr. Ruby Poickaranparambil Babu (right). The GSP is used to test for hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.



WSLH Chemists Tim Stengl (seated) and Tarek Teber (blue lab coat) with WSLH Newborn Screening Laboratory Co-Director Dr. Mei Baker, and Dr. Ruby Poickaranparambil Babu and Aggunda Channa Poornima. The instrument in the photo is used to test for Pompe disease. Wisconsin is currently conducting a newborn screening pilot for Pompe.