Dr. Downes is currently a professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan with a joint appointment in Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics and Public Health Programs. Prior to joining MSU, for 12 years she was State Public Health Laboratory Director and Administrator of the Bureau of Laboratories at the Michigan Department of Community Health. She has over 22 years of experience in public health laboratories.
Dr. Downes was President of the Association of Public Health Laboratories from 2008-2009 and served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2012. She served on federal advisory committees addressing microbiological safety of food and tuberculosis control. She was appointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Scientific Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the American Society for Microbiology and other state and local professional organizations.
Her interest in global health stems from her Peace Corps Volunteer work in Zinder, Niger in West Africa. She continues this passion through providing laboratory quality and technical assistance in Mozambique and China. She also worked in Burundi, Jamaica, and Botswana. She provided program development input to the World Health Organization on network development and tuberculosis testing.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Dr.P.H. and MPH) and Indiana University (BS), she is also a certified medical laboratory scientist (ASCP) and high complexity laboratory director (ABB).