Patti LabbeDirector of Quality Control It is very fulfilling to help bring vaccine candidates to clinical trials in support of diseases such as Ebola and Zika in times of urgent need.
Looking back, Patti Labbe realizes that she’s always felt at home working in quality control. She got her start in the field soon after graduating college, and it’s been a part of her life ever since.
“QC work was a great fit for me,” she said. “The attention to detail and directed work procedures [are] a comfortable environment for me.”
Currently, Labbe is the director of Quality Control in the Frederick National Laboratory’s Vaccine Clinical Materials Program (VCMP). However, just as she is no newcomer to the field, she’s also not new to the Frederick National Laboratory community, working in the VCMP for 12 years.
As director, Labbe oversees the VCMP’s laboratories that test clinical products, including “all incoming raw materials,” in-process samples, intermediates, drug substance, and drug product, before they’re released for human use. Her staff also conducts quality control tests on utilities and the manufacturing environment.
“Much of what we do also centers around the stability of the products through the end of clinical use,” Labbe said. “The variety of product types manufactured at the VCMP equates to many different tests.”
Among those products are several types of vaccine candidates—such as recombinant proteins, plasmid DNA, monoclonal antibodies, nanoparticles, and virus-like particles—for high-profile infections like HIV, influenza, and emerging diseases. While the products are varied, Labbe says her group evaluates each on the same principles: quality, identity, strength, purity, and safety.
The rest of our interview with Labbe can be read below:
Public Affairs: How did you become interested in your line of work, and what drew you to the Frederick National Laboratory?
Labbe: My first job out of college was at NCI performing quality control testing for the natural products lab. … I did work in private industry for some time and came to the VCMP in 2006 as it was just starting up. It was a great opportunity to be a part of a small team accomplishing big goals.
Public Affairs: What is one thing you enjoy about working at the Frederick National Laboratory?
Labbe: The people working at the VCMP are more than coworkers, they are friends. [We have] such a great group, with many working here since the facility opened. It is a collaborative and cohesive environment in which to work.
Public Affairs: What accomplishment(s) at the Frederick National Laboratory are you most proud of?
Labbe: I am most proud of being part of the team that demonstrates rapid response to emerging diseases. It is very fulfilling to help bring vaccine candidates to clinical trials in support of diseases such as Ebola and Zika in times of urgent need.
Photo by Richard Frederickson, staff photographer