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Frances Downes PhotoPublic Health Focus/Interests:

After over 22 years of public health laboratory practice, Dr. Frances Pouch Downes, joined Michigan State University teaching faculty in 2012. She now shares her expertise in administration of a large, technical, public health agency with students. She is recognized globally as a leader in the areas of administration/leadership and laboratory quality, providing global consultation in Africa and Asia. She is particularly interested in applying solutions for infectious diseases diagnosis in resource-limited settings. She frequently offers seminars and presentations on these topics at professional organization conferences and meetings.   Dr. Downes is a leader in both the public health laboratory community as recognized by the Association of Public Health Laboratories 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.




Doctor of Public Health

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Master of Public Health

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Bachelor of Science, Medical Technology

Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 


Public Health Courses Taught:

HM 101: Introduction to Public Health
HM 801: Introduction to Public Health
HM 804: Public Health Administration
HM 815: Introduction to Public Health Laboratory Data


Professional Experience/Expertise:

Currently full-time faculty at MSU with appointments in College of Natural Science Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program and College of Human Medicine Division of Public Health

12 years of experience as director for the State of Michigan Public Health Laboratory

10 years of experience in various leadership roles within the Michigan State Public Health Laboratory

High Complexity Laboratory Director (HCLD) American Board of Bioanalysis

Medical Laboratory Technologist (ASCP)


Professional Activities or Current Research:

Association of Public Health Laboratories past president, current Global Health Committee Co-Chair

Global Public Health Laboratory consultant

American Society of Microbiology MicroLibrary Editorial Board


Recent Publications, Presentations:

Carlson, BF, JP Montgomery, X Wang, AL Wagner, Y Zhang, FP Downes, ML Boulton. 2016. Dried Blood Spots: An evaluation of utility in the field. Annals of Global Health. 82(3):450

Langbo, C, J. Bach, M. Klein, and F.P. Downes. 2013. From Newborn screening to population health research: implementation of the Michigan BioTrust for Health. Public Health Rep. 128(5) 377-84.

Downes, F.P. Discussion Paper: Public Health Laboratories in an Age of Austerity. Forum on Microbial Threats. Institute of Medicine. National Academies of Science. Washington, DC

Dobrowolski, S.F, H.T Pham, F.P. Downes, T.W. Prior, E.W. Naylor, and K.J. Swoboda, 2012. Newborn Screening for spinal muscular atrophy by calibrated short-amplicon melt profiling. Clin Chem 58(6)1033.

Downes F.P. and J. Ridderhof. Guest Editorial: The evolving public health laboratory system. 2010. Public Health Reports;125(Suppl 2):1-3.

Boehme MS, Somsel PA, Downes FP. Systematic review of antibiograms: a national laboratory system approach for improving antimicrobial susceptibility testing practices in Michigan. Public Health Rep 2010;125(Suppl 2):63-72.

TedEX MSU. 2016. 20% of the World Suffers from Diseases You’ve Never Heard Of.

A Workshop to improve teaching laboratory competencies. 2015. Association of Public Health General Meeting, Indianapolis, IN

Michigan’s Perspective on Chemical Emergency Response. 2009. National Center for Environmental Health Conference. Atlanta, GA

One Health. 2017. ASCLS Michigan, Kalamazoo, MI

Emerging Infections Update. 2016. ASCLS Michigan. East Lansing, MI.

Michigan BioTrust for Health. Legal and Public Health Perspectives Surrounding Residual Dried Blood Spots and Newborn Screening. 2014. Association of Public Health Laboratories and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atlanta, GA