Kristin Omberg joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in 2015. She is the group leader of the Chemical and Biological Signatures Group, which comprises about 60 researchers working to develop and integrate experimental and data analytics techniques spanning chemistry, biology, and advanced materials to identify and solve scientific challenges of national security importance and address emerging threats. Omberg’s technical work focuses on developing science and technology solutions that can be deployed in operational environments or used to inform policy decisions. She recently led the team that established a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments certified high-complexity testing laboratory to process COVID-19 specimens at PNNL and worked with the Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services to evaluate methods for COVID-19 specimen analysis. She is currently supporting the National Nuclear Security Administration in developing its Bioassurance Program.
Before joining PNNL, she spent more than 15 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she was a program manager and principal investigator for numerous projects for the Department of Homeland Security and Defense. She led field experiments and operational deployments involving environmental sampling for biological agents, investigated the persistence, fate, and transport of chemical and bioterrorism agents in outdoor environments; and developed statistically based methods for evaluating detection protocols.
- Prevalence of naturally occurring biothreat pathogens in the environment
- Environmental fate and transport of pathogens
- Intersection of public health and biodefense
- PhD in chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Doctoral Certificate in Public Policy Analysis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Certificate in International Security, Stanford University
- BS in chemistry, Gonzaga University
- BA in philosophy, Gonzaga University
Affiliations and Professional Service
- Fellow of the American Chemical Society
- Congressional Science Fellow with the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget
Awards and Recognitions
- Department of Energy COVID-19 Honor Award, 2021
- R&D 100 Award, 2003
- Arnold, A. M., A. M. Bradley, K. L. Taylor, Z. C. Kennedy, and K. M. Omberg. 2022. “The Promise of Emergent Nanobiotechnologies for In Vivo Applications and Implications for Safety and Security.” Health Security 20 (5): 408-423. https://doi.org/10.1089/hs.2022.0014.
- Caswell, J., J. D. Gans, N. Generous, C. M. Hudson, E. Merkley, C. Johnson, C. Oehmen, K. Omberg, E. Purvine, K. Taylor, C. L. Ting, M. Wolinsky, and G. Xie. 2019. “Defending Our Public Biological Databases as a Global Critical Infrastructure.” Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2019.00058.
- Omberg, K. M., L. R. Franklin, D. R. Jackson, K. L. Taylor, K. L. Wahl, A. Lesperance, E. M. Wynkoop, J. A. S. Gray, O. P. Leiser, S. L. Frazar, R. Ozanich, and R. Bartholomew. 2018. “A Publicly Available Landscape Analysis Tool for Biodefense Policy.” Health Security 16 (1): 77-78. https://doi.org/10.1089/hs.2017.0088.
- Garza, A. G., S. M. Van Cuyk, M. J. Brown, and K. M. Omberg. 2014. “Detection of the Urban Release of a Bacillus Anthracis Simulant by Air Sampling.” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science 12 (2): 66-75. https://doi.org/10.1089/bsp.2013.0086.
- Van Cuyk, S., A. Deshpande, A. Hollander, D. O. Franco, N. P. Teclemariam, J. A. Layshock, L. O. Ticknor, M. J. Brown, and K. M. Omberg. 2012. “Transport of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki from an Outdoor Release into Buildings: Pathways of Infiltration and a Rapid Method to Identify Contaminated Buildings.” Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science 10 (2): 215-227. https://doi.org/10.1089/bsp.2011.0081.