Department of Laboratory Medicine Staff

Anna F. Lau, PhD, D(ABMM)


Dr. Lau received her Ph.D. from the University of Sydney, Australia, where her research focused on the development of novel diagnostic platforms for the diagnosis of invasive fungal diseases. She completed her CPEP Clinical Microbiology Fellowship training at the NIH Clinical Center and is board-certified through the American Board of Medical Microbiology.

In 2013, she joined the Microbiology Faculty in the Department of Laboratory Medicine (DLM) at the NIH Clinical Center, where she co-directed the Bacteriology, Specimen Processing, Parasitology, and Molecular Epidemiology sections. In 2018, Dr. Lau was promoted to Chief of the Sterility Testing Service in DLM to support the NIH-wide cGMP aseptic processing and manufacturing of cellular therapy and drug pharmaceuticals for NIH clinical protocols.

Dr. Lau's translational research focus on the development of new rapid diagnostic platforms for microbial identification and the detection of resistance mechanisms using molecular-based techniques and mass spectrometry. In 2014, Dr. Lau was recognized with the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 award in Science and Healthcare for her development of the NIH Mold MALDI-TOF MS Database.

Research Interests

Dr. Lau’s research has focused on the development and evaluation of novel diagnostic platforms in the field of medical mycology and resistant gram-negative organisms. She is most noted for her development of the NIH Mold MALDI-TOF MS database, which has been shared with hundreds of laboratories worldwide.

More recently, Dr. Lau has branched into the field of current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) product sterility testing, where she leads a team of 11 to support the NIH intramural cGMP program for cell-, gene-, and immunotherapy, as well as drug development. In this role, Dr. Lau applies her research interests of rapid diagnostics to evaluate system performances within the cGMP setting. Her expertise in this unique area of regulatory microbiology is readily sought in the clinical microbiology field, where requests for sterility testing of biopharmaceutical products is becoming more widespread as cellular therapies become the norm for the treatment of a variety of acquired and/or genetic diseases.

Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed publications

Lau AF, Walchak RC, Miller HB, Slechta ES, Kamboj K, Riebe K, Robertson A, Gilbreath JJ, Balada-Llasat J-M, Bulman A, Buchan B, Butler-Wu S, Desai U, Hanson KE, Henderson CM, Kostrzewa M, Ledeboer NA, Maier T, Pancholi P, Schuetz AN, Shi G, Wengenack NL, Zhang SX, Zelazny AM, Frank KM (2019). Multicenter Study of Mold MALDI-TOF MS Database Highlights Acquisition Parameters Required for Optimal Identification. Frontiers in Microbiology (accepted).

Conlan S, Lau AF, Deming C, Spalding CD, Lee-Lin S, Thomas PJ, Park M, Dekker JP, Frank KM, Palmore TN, Segre JA (2019). Plasmid Dissemination and Selection of a Multi-Drug Resistant K. pneumoniae During Transplant-Associated Antibiotic Chemotherapy. MBio (accepted).

England MR, Stock F, Gebo JET, Frank KM, Lau AF (2019). Comprehensive Evaluation of Compendial USP<71>, BacT/ALERT Dual-T, and BACTEC FX for the Detection of Product Sterility Testing Contaminants. J. Clin. Microbiol. 57(2):e01548-18.

Johnson RC, Conlan S, Zellmer C, Michelin A, Deming C, Lee-Lin S-Q, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Weingarten RA, Less J, Dekker JP, Frank KM, Henderson DK, Musser KA, Taylor J, McQuiston JR, Lau AF, Palmore TN, Segre JA. (2018). Investigation of a Cluster of Sphingomonas koreensis Infections. New Engl. J. Med. 379:2529-39. *Co-Senior author.

Panch SR, Bikkani T, Vargas V, Procter J, Atkins JW, Guptill V, Frank KM, Lau AF, Stroncek DF (2018). A Prospective Evaluation of an Algorithm for Managing Positive Sterility Test Results in Cell Therapy Products. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Online Aug 9, 2018.

Luethy PM, Murphy SC, Seilie AM, Xie YL, Lau C-Y, Tisdale JF, Hsieh MM, Reinhardt JL, Lau AF, Fahle GA (2018). Case Report: Diagnostic Challenges of Prolonged Post-Treatment Clearance of Plasmodium Nucleic Acids in a Pre-Transplant Autosplenectomized Patient with Sickle Cell Disease. Malaria Journal 17:23.

Weingarten RA, Johnson RC, Conlan S, Ramsburg A, Dekker JP, Lau AF, Khil P, Odom RT, Deming C, Park M, Thomas PJ, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Henderson DK, Palmore TN, Segre JA, Frank KM (2017). Genomic Analysis of Hospital Plumbing Reveals Diverse Reservoir of Bacterial Plasmids Conferring Carbapenem Resistance. mBio. 9(1):e02011-17.

Chen M, Conlan S, Lau AF, Dekker JP, Deming C, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Henderson DK, Frank KM, Palmore TN, Segre JA (2017). Whole Genome Sequencing Overrules a Suspected Case of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacter cloacae Transmission. J. Clin. Microbiol. 55:e00915-17.

Decker B, Lau AF, Dekker JP, Spalding C, Sinaii N, Conlan S, Henderson DH, Segre J, Frank KM, Palmore TN (2017). Healthcare Personnel Intestinal Colonization with Multidrug-Resistant Organisms. Clin Microbiol. Infect.

Conlan S, Lau AF, NFN NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Palmore TN, Frank KM, Segre JA (2016). Complete Genome Sequence of a Klebsiella pneumoniae carrying blaNDM-1 on a multidrug-resistance plasmid. Genome Announc. 4(4):e00664-16.

Dekker JP & Lau AF (2016). Mini-review: An Update on the Streptococcus bovis group: Classification, Identification, and Disease Associations. J. Clin. Microbiol. 54(7):1694-9. Invited mini-review for the Journal of Clinical Microbiology*.

Sleiman S, Halliday CL, Chapman B, Brown M, Nitschke J, Lau AF, Chen SC-A (2016). Performance of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for Identification of Aspergillus, Scedosporium and Fusarium species in the Australian Clinical Setting. J. Clin. Microbiol. 54(8):2182-6.

Conlan S, Park M, Deming C, Thomas PJ, Young AC, Coleman H, Sison C, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Weingarten RA, Lau AF, Dekker JP, Palmore TN, Frank KM, Segre JA (2016). Klebsiella pneumoniae blaKPC plasmid dynamics during long-term patient colonization. mBio. 7(3):e00742-16.

Hughes HY, Conlan SP, Lau AF, Dekker JP, Michelin AV, Youn J-H, Henderson DK, Frank KM, Segre JA, Palmore TN (2016). Detection and Whole Genome Sequencing of Carbapenemase-Producing Aeromonas hydrophila Isolated from Routine Perirectal Surveillance Culture. J. Clin. Microbiol. 54(4):883-90.

Playford EG, Lipman J, Jones M. Lau AF, Kabir M, Chen SC-A, Marriott DJ, Seppelt I, Gottlieb T, Cheung W, Iredell J, McBryde E, Sorrell TC (2016). Problematic dichotomisation of risk for ICU-acquired invasive candidiasis: results using a risk predictive model to categorise three levels of risk from a multicentre prospective cohort of Australian ICU patients. Clin. Infect. Dis.

Youn J-H, Drake SK, Weingarten RA, Frank KM, Dekker JP, Lau AF (2016). Clinical Performance of a Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry Method for the Detection of blaKPC-containing Plasmids. J. Clin. Microbiol. 54(1):35-42. Invited for commentary*.

    *Anderson NW (2016). Commentary: Peaks of Promise and Peril: Screening for Antibiotic Resistance by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry. J. Clin. Microbiol. 54(1):5-6.

Lau AF, Fahle GA, Kemp MA, Jassem AN, Dekker JP, Frank KM (2015). Clinical Performance of Check-Direct CPE, a Multiplex PCR for Direct Detection of blaKPC, blaNDM/VIM, and blaOXA48 from Perirectal Swabs. J. Clin. Microbiol. 53(12):3729-37. Invited for commentary*.

    *Humphries RM & McKinnell JA (2015). Commentary: Continuing Challenges for the Clinical Laboratory for Detection of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae. J. Clin. Microbiol. 53(12):3712-14.

Lau AF, Kabir M, Chen SC, Playford EG, Marriott D, Jones M, Lipman J, McBryde E, Gollieb T, Cheung W, Seppelt I, Iredell J, Sorrell TC (2015). Candida Colonization as a Risk Marker for Invasive Candidiasis in Australian ICUs. J. Clin. Microbiol. 53(4):1324-30.

Conlan S, Deming C, Tsai Y-C, Lau AF, Dekker JP, Korlach J, Segre JA (2014). Complete Genome Sequence of a Klebsiella pneumoniae Isolate with Chromosomally encoded Carbapenem Resistance and Colibactin Synthesis Loci. Genome A. 2(6):e01332-14.

Lau AF, Wang H, Weingarten RA, Drake SK, Suffredini AF, Garfield MK, Chen Y, Gucek M, Youn J-H, Stock F, Tso H, DeLeo J, Cimino JJ, Frank KM, Dekker JP (2014). A Letter in Response to: A Rapid MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry-Based Method for Single Plasmid Tracking in an Outbreak of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae. J. Clin. Microbiol. 52(12):4450.

Conlan S, Thomas PJ, Deming C, Park M, Lau AF, Dekker JP, Snitkin ES, Clark TA, Luong K, Song Y, Tsai Y-C, Boitano M, Gupta J, Brooks SY, Schmidt B, Young AC, Thomas JW, Bouffard GG, Blakesley RW, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Mullikin JC, Korlach J, Henderson DK, Frank KM, Palmore TN, Segre JA (2014). Single Molecule Sequencing to Track Plasmid Diversity of Hospital-Associated Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae. Sci. Transl. Med. 6(254): 254ra126.

Lau AF, Wang H, Weingarten RA, Drake SK, Suffredini AF, Garfield MK, Chen Y, Gucek M, Youn J-H, Stock F, Tso H, DeLeo J, Cimino JJ, Frank KM, Dekker JP (2014). A Rapid MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry-Based Method for Single Plasmid Tracking in an Outbreak of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae. J. Clin. Microbiol. 52(8): 2804-12.

Seder RA et al and the VRC 312 Study Team (2013). Protection against malaria by intravenous immunization with a nonreplicating sporozoite vaccine. Science 341(6152):1359-65.

Lau AF, Drake SK, Henderson CM, Calhoun L, Zelazny AM (2013). Development of a Comprehensive Database and an Easy Extraction Procedure for the Identification of Molds using MALDI-TOF MS. J. Clin. Microbiol. 51(3):828-34.

Book Chapters

Hilmarsdottir I, Schuetz AN, Lau AF (2017). Fundamentals of Clinical Mycology (section in Fundamentals of Clinical Microbiology). Book chapter in the Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics; Elsevier. *Invited author.

Lau A, Stanley K, Sorrell T (2013). Multiplex-Tandem PCR in Fungal Diagnostics. Book chapter in Fungal Diagnostics – Methods and Protocols; Humana Press. *Invited author.

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This page last updated on 12/05/2019

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