Academic Qualifications: Nicole Chinnici is the laboratory director of the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory, home of the PA Tick Research Lab. Nicole is a certified wildlife forensic scientist with six years of research experience overseeing and conducting tick testing and analyses. She also handles various types of wildlife forensic casework, creates and monitors wildlife forensic databases and develops and optimizes PCR and multiplex PCR protocols for species identification and genotyping.
She is an adjunct professor at East Stroudsburg University (ESU), where she mentors undergraduate and graduate students in molecular biology research including population genetic studies. She was also head scientist on a population genetic study of black bears in New Jersey, population genetic studies of eastern wild turkeys in Michaux State Forest, population genetic studies of hatchery brown trout versus wild brown trout, species identification of springsnails in Arizona and genetic diversity of NJ wood turtle populations.
Nicole first became involved in tickborne disease research while working as a graduate student at ESU. Since, Nicole has used her knowledge of genetics and qPCR to explore and identify pathogens within ticks. With this application and technology, one can utilize tick testing as a means for early detection to the exposure of diseases by a tick bite.