Pioneers@Work are testing for COVID-19

17 of the 23 TWU alumni currently working at AIT Laboratories/HealthTrackRx.
17 of the 23 TWU alumni currently working at AIT Laboratories/HealthTrackRx. Photo courtesy Erica Humbach.

August 18, 2020 — DENTON — Texas Woman’s University alumni at the American Institute of Toxicology (AIT) Laboratories, a division of HealthTrackRx, are at the forefront of the battle against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In March, the laboratory launched procedures to receive and process respiratory specimens for COVID-19 testing from various local healthcare settings, including hospitals, physicians’ offices and long-term care facilities. Since then, AIT employees, including 23 graduates of TWU STEM programs, have been working around the clock to conduct, aid and enhance COVID-19 detection within 24-48 hours of sample receipt.

Technical Lab Director and TWU biology alumnus Jairus “Jay” Reddy (BS ’10, PhD ’15) is educating physicians and sales professionals on current infection rates, potential pathogen threats and patient care guidelines. His experience watching the pandemic spread has been sobering. “I have videos from January where I explained COVID-19 would not be a community-spread pandemic in the U.S. The borders were shut everywhere, temperature scanning was done at airports, and we believed we could test well enough to contain the virus,” said Reddy. 

That all changed quickly. “In 45 days, we went from that mindset to getting FDA approval through emergency use authorization and ramping up testing. We went from 10,000 to 50,000 tests in one month,” said Reddy.

The AIT lab, which is located in Denton, ran 240,000 samples last month and is now forced to turn away volume to stay true to their commitment to quality patient care. “As a company, we have chosen not to use the pandemic as a business grab, but instead to do right by our patients,” Reddy noted. “Over the past four months, the sacrifice every person in the lab has made has been incredible. Seven day work weeks became the norm, but everything has been done for our patients and their families."

I could not be more proud. Every person at the company has made personal sacrifices to improve the chance of survival for as many people as possible.” Jairus "Jay" Reddy (BS ’10, PhD ’15), AIT Technical Lab Director

TWU alumni currently working at AIT Laboratories/HealthTrackRx include:

  • Jairus “Jay” Reddy- Technical Lab Director
  • Erica Humbach- General Manager of Operations
  • Rosario Craig- Serology Sr. Laboratory Scientist
  • Carrie Wilks- Molecular Bioanalyst Manager
  • Pallavi Upadhyay- Principal Scientist/Chief Toxicologist
  • April Oxley- Laboratory Scientist
  • Sam Sang- Certifying Scientist
  • Rituparna Sinha Roy- Lab Intern
  • Arjuna Vallabhaneni- Certifying Scientist
  • Will Benton- Bench Supervisor
  • Stacey Grigar- Technical Laboratory Manager
  • Tony Nguyen- Laboratory Scientist
  • Jade Akins- Laboratory Technician
  • Ashley Burrola – Lead Lab Assistant III
  • Joshua Henderson – Lab Assistant III
  • Alesia Henderson – Lab Assistant III
  • Alberto Mendoza – Scientist
  • Shawna Myers – Junior Laboratory Bioanalyst
  • Emily Becerra – Exceptions Specialist
  • Jonathan Osorio – Lab Assistant II
  • Ihuoma Ugonna – Temp Lab Assistant II
  • Grace Butler – Executive Assistant
  • Saphron Torres – Staff Accountant

About AIT Laboratories

AIT Laboratories, a division of HealthTrackRx, is a national healthcare leader, with over 30 years of laboratory experience. The company was founded with the purpose of providing patient-centered, value-based, actionable laboratory results to healthcare providers and their patients. Contracted with over 200 regional and national health plans, AIT’s clinical expertise is aimed at facilitating clinical outcomes that are of the highest possible quality and efficiency, resulting in early intervention and treatment of infectious disease, early detection of toxicological diversion, and shortened patient episodes.


Page last updated 3:05 PM, August 25, 2020