Featured News

MRIGlobal Celebrates Our Scientists


Advancing Knowledge and Improving the World 

Celebrate Scientists Day takes place on Thursday, March 14, coinciding with the birthday of famous physicist Albert Einstein. The day commemorates the historic and current advances and efforts of scientists who have improved the world. 

For more than 80 years, MRIGlobal’s scientific research and engineering contributions—from efforts in solar energy research and the fight against cancer to innovations in robotics and bioinformatics—have been advancing knowledge and shaping the world. These are but two of our many current scientists whom we celebrate. 

Science That Gives Back to the Country

Elaine Bradford is a staff scientist in the Integrated Health Surveillance and Diagnostics group. Intrigued as a child by science kits and fascinated by archaeologists unearthing mysteries of the past, she was eventually drawn to microbiology. Bradford was eager to join MRIGlobal because of her interest in the field and its many applications in biodefense, which supports national security. She says, “This is the perfect intersection for me: it combines my passion for microbiology with a deep sense of fulfillment and pride in contributing to my country.”  

At MRIGlobal, Bradford’s focus is on biodefense projects and R&D, including a project for advanced diagnostics for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The DARPA DIGET (Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies) program aims to create a mobile, multiplexed detection device that can be deployed anywhere. It “uses CRISPR technology to identify hundreds of different diseases—including highly relevant pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2.” Bradford emphasizes that she’s proud to work on the project, which is a “revolution in diagnostics and detection.” She notes, “So far, it has been one of the highlights of my career.” 

Bradford’s work on that project focuses on assay design, answering the question of how to detect a particular pathogen. Discussing her passion for her scientific work at MRIGlobal, Bradford highlights the supportive environment of the institute, particularly the commitment of teammates to help each other succeed. The collaborative atmosphere of the institute and the creative ability to work on diverse projects enable Bradford to excel in her scientific efforts: “You never know what’s going to come through the door, and you get to expand your knowledge, and rise to the occasion.” 

Celebrating a Culture of Innovation
Zach DeMars is a program manager in the Integrated Health Surveillance and Diagnostics group. He also has a background in microbiology, saying, “I have always been intrigued by microbiology and bacteria—fascinated that something you can’t see is actually living, that it uses energy, and has evolved surprisingly elaborate ways to infect you.” This fascination with the world we can’t see with the naked eye guided DeMars’s scientific trajectory. 

DeMars came to MRIGlobal as a staff scientist and then transitioned into a more client-facing role as a program manager. When clients come to MRIGlobal with a problem, he engages with them to explore a variety of potential solutions. He can then bridge clients’ needs and the technical work of his team. 

DeMars foregrounds the value and importance of collaboration at the institute, noting, “Science isn’t done by just one person.” Scientific discoveries and advances are always tied to the contributions of others, and the strong scientific network at the institute helps develop and maintain a culture of innovation. DeMars is committed to strengthening this collaborative network, and he enjoys the process of mentoring and working with his colleagues: “I really love helping people develop their ideas.”  

At the institute, DeMars encounters a variety of challenging scientific questions, and he explains that “coming up with solutions for tough questions” is deeply fulfilling. MRIGlobal offers its scientists the ability to creatively explore scientific solutions, and DeMars emphasizes, “The push for innovation is exciting and my favorite part of the job.” 

To learn more about our team and how you can grow a career doing work that matters, visit our Careers page. While there, you can view our current staff openings and learn more about joining our team of world-class talent who are dedicated to improving people’s lives through scientific and engineering research.  

Sign up for the MRIGlobal newsletter! It’s the best way to get the latest updates in the world of applied scientific engineering research delivered directly to your inbox.