Prestige EnviroMicrobiology, Inc. is founded based on the ideas that only a
boutique laboratory staffed with advance degreed scientists in microbiology
and mycology and a dedicated staff can provide the highest quality analysis,
most knowledgeable information and exceptional customer service. Among our
founding members are Drs. Chin
S. Yang and De-wei Li ,
whose academic and research credentials are unparalled in the environmental
microbiology industry. Dr. Yang is a pioneer in the mold and fungal testing
industry, and has performed numerous analyses since 1980. His biography at
this site details his education, training, experience and accomplishments.
Prestige’s scientific staff includes Ms. Theresa Lehman, MPH, Mrs. Kristen Billick and Dr. Ching-Yi Tsai. Both Ms. Lehman and Ms. Billick have been trained by Dr. Yang and Dr. Li and worked with them for many years. Ms. Lehman is the laboratory director and Mrs. Billick is the quality assurance manager. Dr. Tsai, a microbiologist and immunologist by training, joined Prestige team in July 2015. Besides performing and analyzing various mycological and microbiological tests, Dr. Tsai is also responsible for developing new DNA-based methods for the detection of important environmental microorganisms, such as Legionella and Mycobacterium.
Theresa Lehman, MPH, has over 18
years of experience in the environmental microbiology laboratory industry.
During this time she worked as an analyst and as a laboratory manager. As an
analyst she’s worked with water, swab, bulk, dust and air samples for fungal
and bacterial analysis. She’s performed endotoxin and indoor allergen
analysis on air and dust samples. She also performs spore count analysis on air and dust samples.
On water samples she’s performed various
Standard Methods and Legionella testing. As the laboratory manager she
supervised more than sixteen analysts and was responsible for the day-to-day
activities of the sample processing, microscopy, mycology and bacteriology
departments. Worked with Quality Assurance to ensure all employees were up
to date on their training and were correctly following the Standard
Operating Procedures, and initiated corrective actions when necessary. She
has over 3 years experience in Quality Assurance in the medical device and
food manufacturing industries.
Ms. Lehman completed her Bachelor's degree in Agriculture from The Ohio State University. She completed her Master's degree in Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Her Master's thesis was on an educational program for home based child care providers concerning the removal of indoor allergen triggers from their home child care facilities. The key components of the thesis include the development of an asthma management plan: to identify common indoor triggers for asthma and how to reduce or eliminate triggers in home child care facilities. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the changes in attitudes, knowledge and skills on the part of the participants regarding the understanding of indoor asthma triggers.
Chin S. Yang, Ph.D. received his
BS and MS degrees in Biology (with a concentration in Botany) from Tunghai
University in Taiwan and his Ph.D. degree in Forest and Environmental
Biology from the State University of New York, College of Environmental
Science and Forestry (SUNY-CESF) in Syracuse, New York. He studied the
symbiotic association between pine roots and mycorrhizal fungi for his Ph.D.
dissertation. During his Ph.D. study, he discovered and described a new
species of fungus, which forms mycorrhizae with pine roots. He spent one
year (1984-1985) as the Anna Jenkins Postdoctoral Fellow in Mycology at the
Plant Pathology Department of Cornell University. His research at Cornell
led to publications of two mycological monographs, which included two new
genera and more than ten new species. He was also a postdoctoral fellow and
research associate at SUNY-CESF on research concerning acid rain and
aluminum toxicity to tree seedlings and on mushroom production using
agricultural and forest wastes. He is trained in chemical analyses using AA
and ICP as well as PCM and PLM microscopy on asbestos analyses. While in
Syracuse, in the early 1980’s, he started working with allergists on mold
allergens. For nearly 30 years, he has worked with physicians, public health
officials, industrial hygienists, IAQ and environmental professionals, and
environmental and occupational health scientists on various issues of fungal
and bacterial exposures in the indoor environment.
Since the early 1980’s, Dr. Yang has been active in the environmental microbiology industry. He is a pioneer in microbiology testing in the indoor environment. He started an environmental microbiology laboratory in the 1980's to serve the public, the industrial hygiene community and the public health community His laboratory performed testing for microorganisms in samples collected from indoor and outdoor environments, completed contract R&D projects for companies, legal support, R&D and technical projects, and provided support for US companies, universities and US governmental agencies. He was a staff microbiologist with the US Public Health Service, Division of Federal Occupational Health (USPHS-FOH) Region 3 in the early 1990’s. While working at the agency, he was trained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the isolation and identification of Legionella bacteria from the environment. He has since assisted environmental consultants, hospitals and health care facilities, and building owners and managers on the investigations, sampling and control of Legionella bacteria in building water systems. He has also worked with hospitals on establishing sampling and monitoring programs for Aspergillus and other opportunistic fungi.
Dr. Yang has also been active in research as well as in providing technical education and training to the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) community. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed scholarly papers, many review papers and book chapters, and technical articles. (see Technical Info). He is an author of three books, including “Guidance for Clinicians on the Recognition and Management of Health Effects Related to Mold Exposure and Moisture Indoors” (by Storey, E., K. H. Dangman, P. Schenck, R. L. DeBernardo, C. S. Yang, A. Bracker, and M. J. Hodgson. 2004), published by the Univ. of Connecticut Health Center, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Center for Indoor Environments and Health, Farmington, CT. His most recent book, titled “Sampling and Analysis of Indoor Microorganisms” was published in 2007 by John Wiley & Sons of Hoboken, New Jersey. His publications include topics in indoor allergens and mycology, assessment and investigation of the indoor environment for fungal and bacterial contaminations, sampling and testing for indoor microorganisms, remediation and management for mold in the built environment, and sampling and testing for Legionella bacteria in building water systems. He is also a well known speaker and presenter on the same topics, and has given numerous scientific and technical lectures and seminars (to see power-points of some of his presentations, click Presentations).
He has been active in many professional organizations. He was a participant in the “mold” workshop organized by the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, the New York City Department of Health, and the Social Service Union in 1993. The outcome of the workshop was the first version of the New York City guidelines on Stachybotrys atra. He was a member of the panels on the review and revision of the guidelines for the 2000 and 2008 editions. He was a member of the organizing committees for International Conference on Fungi, Bacteria in Indoor Air Environments (1994) and International Conference on Bioaerosols, Fungi, and Mycotoxins (1998) held in Saratoga Springs, New York. He was a member of the AIHA task force, subcommittee and committee leading to the establishment of the Environmental Microbiology Proficiency Analytical Testing (EMPAT) and Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP). He had served as a reviewer on several EPA Office of Research and Development’s proposal review panels. He was a member of the Scientific Review Panel on “Mold Contamination Affecting Indoor Environments: Health Effects, Prevention, and Remediation,” a Scientific Review Panel In Response to A.B. 284, Chapter 550 Statutes of 2001, State of California. (2002-2006).
He took an early retirement in 2006 from the laboratory he had founded in the mid-1980’s. He recently joined Prestige EnviroMicrobiology, Inc. and serves as its Scientific & Technical Advisor. In this capacity, he established the testing protocols for Legionella bacteria in environmental samples and for fungal spores and fungi in air and other environmental samples. He is also a senior consulting scientist available to participate in microbial investigation and assessment in buildings. He is available for lectures and speaking engagements in group or professional meetings.
De-Wei Li completed his Ph.D. in Mycology
in 1994 at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and conducted postdoctoral
research at the University of Guelph. His research experience in indoor fungi
and airborne fungal spores started from early 1990’s when he worked on his Ph.D.
dissertation on aeromycology in Ontario. After the University of Guelph, he
taught Plant Pathology and Environmental Pest Management for five years in the
Department of Land and Horticultural Sciences at Olds College in Alberta. He
came to the US in 2001 to serve as the Technical Director and Senior Mycologist
at P&K Microbiology Services, Inc.
A widely published research mycologist, he is an author or co-author of 40 scholarly papers and 2 books. The most recent papers include: “Stachybotrys Eucylindrospora, sp. nov. resulting from a re-examination of Stachybotrys Cylindrospora”; “Goidanichiella cylindrospora sp. nov. from Connecticut, USA”; “A new species of Memnoniella”; "Metarhiziopsis microspora gen. et sp. nov. associated with the elongate hemlock scale"; and "Balaniopsis triangularis sp. nov. from indoor environments." At present Dr. Li is research mycologist in Connecticut on indoor fungi include temporal characteristics of airborne fungi and human exposure and implication in indoor environments, indoor fungal ecology, and biosystematics of Stachybotrys, Memnoniella and other fungi. He serves Outside Scientific and Technical Advisor to Prestige EnviroMicrobiology.
Kristen Billick has over 13 years experience working in the
environmental microbiology laboratory industry. She began working for Dr.
Yang in 2000. She was trained as an analyst by Drs. Yang and Li and has
performed testing on samples for both fungi and bacteria. She has mastered
spore counting on air samples and dust samples, direct examinations on
bulks, tapes, and dust samples and endotoxin and allergen testing on air and
dust samples. She also has performed Legionella testing on water and swab
samples. In addition to analyzing samples, she serves as QA/QC coordinator
She has two years experience working in a virology laboratory where she performed assays and maintained cell lines according to and in compliance with Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Ms. Billick received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from The Richard Stockton College of NJ.
Ching-Yi Tsai, Ph.D. received her BS in Biology from Tunghai University, MS degree in Agricultural Biotechnology from National Chung-Hsing University in Taiwan, and doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in Microbiology and Immunology from Dartmouth College. She did her postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Tsai started her research career on characterization and cloning the caleosin in oil bodies of plant seeds. She later focused her research interest on viruses at National Taiwan University Medical School. Her research projects include the studies of SARS virus and hepatitis B virus. Her study included the identification and whole genome sequences of SARS virus in patients in Taiwan. She also assisted in studies to illustrate the replication and pathogenesis mechanisms of SARS coronavirus. She set up the quantification and genotyping of hepatitis B virus in a single reaction by real-time PCR and melting curve analysis and demonstrated the carcinogenic mechanisms of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Her doctoral research in Dartmouth College focused on viral-immunology. She studied immune-based therapies that control virus infections and characterized the role of CD80/86-CD28 co-stimulation in primary and memory CD4 T cell responses to vaccinia virus.
Dr. Tsai continued her post doctoral research at the Universityof Pennsylvania Medical School. She studied and characterized the biophysics mechanisms affecting the function of antigen chimericreceptors (CARs) and developing new chimeric receptors targeting different tumors. Her studies also examined the effect of adhesion-and degranulation – promoting adaptor protein (ADAP), one of the adaptor molecules, in chimeric antigen receptor cells.