Health Laboratory Technician
Laboratory technician Maithreyi Sundaresan works in ESR’s Legionella Reference Laboratory. She and her team receive samples to test from hospitals and healthcare providers from around the country. They investigate each sample to confirm whether it’s positive for the Legionella bacteria. If it is – there are about 150 cases of Legionella bacteria associated infections reported each year – the lab team will then conduct additional tests to identify the source of the infection.
“Legionella bacteria is often found in contaminated water or soil, so we may need to test a number of samples before we can pinpoint the culprit. Legionella bacteria can cause serious respiratory infections, including life-threatening pneumonia, so time is of the essence in our work,” she says.
Maithreyi came to ESR after earning her Bachelor of Science – Anatomy and Postgraduate Diploma in Anatomy from the University of Otago.
“When I first came to ESR I worked as a laboratory assistant across all of the microbiology laboratories. It was a great way to learn about all of our services. Transitioning to my new role has allowed me to specialise,” she says.
Maithreyi also provides laboratory technician support to ESR’s molecular sequencing laboratory.
“We work in a very collegial environment, which is extremely important when it comes to confirming or analysing results,” Maithreyi says. “The important thing is we all have the same goal – to deliver accurate results in a timely way so we can provide healthcare providers and their patients the information they need.”