Today, the show really kicked off with a full agenda of educational seminars and vendor booths. There are over 120 companies here with the latest and greatest related to indoor air — anything from herbal deodorants cooked up in someone’s basements, to cutting edge lab equipment costing hundreds of thousands of USD that can create the fingerprint of a mold’s DNA based off a sample. I tracked down two of the labs in the US that we frequently work with: QLab (out of New Jersey), and Indoor Biotechnologies (Virginia).
QLab is run by Dr. Wei Tang, one of the leaders in the microbiology community. He earned his PhD at Cornell in microbiology and then started his lab about 10 years ago. Maggie, his office manager, is also his wife (and a lawyer!). Wei and Maggie are originally from Taiwan, so we had a lot to talk about and went out for dinner together. Wei has always been helpful in helping interpret unusual mold test results, and it was great to finally meet him in person.
Indoor Biotechnologies is a small company specializing in indoor allergens. When we test for dust mites, dog, cat, or cockroach allergens, we use their kits or send in dust samples for them to analyze. The folks at InBio have developed MARIA, a new way of testing that allows the analysis of multiple allergens simultaneously that has increased speed while improving test sensitivity. While we’ve been taking advantage of this method for almost a year now, it was interesting that many fellow professionals at the Expo did not know anything about this. We met Dr. Eva King, who is the technical face of InBio, and Stephanie Filep, who runs the lab analysis. After introducing myself, Stephanie surprised me by commenting on a dust sample we had just mailed in a few days earlier. Talk about personal service and knowing your customers!