Testing for Toxicity WHEN CORROSIVE WATER from the Flint River carried lead to the mouths of almost 9,000 children, Boston-based Magellan Diagnostics, under the direction of President and CEO Amy Winslow ’89, was among the first responders. “We wanted to make sure that doctors in Flint had the tools to get the testing done as quickly as possible,” Winslow says. The Flint water crisis brought national attention back to the threat of lead poisoning, the same issue Winslow’s company has been researching, counter-
acting and promulgating since the late 1960s. “Prior to Flint,” Winslow says, “we would meet with legislative aides politely nodding their heads with their eyes glassing over. Post-Flint, there’s been attention and interest.” Flint serves as a forum for Winslow to encourage a response to the wider threat of lead, which poisons not just water but also painted walls and soil. “I can talk about lead poisoning now and people don’t give me a funny look and think I’m crazy,” Winslow says.
Although many states approach the threat of lead poisoning with targeted testing of presumably more at-risk children, Winslow works to increase awareness of lead’s ubiquity while providing a test that can diagnose lead poisoning in three minutes with just a few drops of blood on a finger stick. Since they offer a test that is accurate, fast and inexpensive, Winslow argues, “every child should get tested.” Winslow’s company began in the laboratory of four MIT Ph.D.s who discovered FALL 2016 Nobles 33