Franklin Cockerill - 2007 Inventions

Franklin Cockerill in 2005 had one of the most inventive years of his career. He and his research team invented 14 different technologies to improve the diagnosis and monitoring of infectious diseases. As a researcher and developer of diagnostic tests, Cockerill has a unique ability to apply basic science discovery to the development of state-of-the-art clinical diagnostics. Cockerill has received many awards for his progress in the research and development field as well as in the microbiology industry. In 2007, Franklin Cockerill was able to match his feat in 2005, by yet again developing 14 unique products.

1. Detection of Staphylococcus Aureus by Rapid PCR

2 Detection of Enterovirus RNA by Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction using the LightCycler™

3 Detection of Parainfluenza 1, 2 and 3 by Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction using the LightCycler™

4 Detection of Septata/Envephalitosoon spp and Enterocytozoon DNA by Rapid PCR

5 Real-Time PCR Assay for the Rapid Detection and Differentiation of Causative Agents of Erlichiosis in man and animals

6 Real-Time Molecular Detection of Tropheryma whipplei, which is the agent of Whipple’s Disease

7 Detection of Babesia microti DNA by Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction. Using the LightCycler™

8 Real-Time Detection of Borrelia burgdorferii and the European Strain of Borrelia

9 LightCycler™ Real-Time PCR Assay for the Detection of Pneumocustics jiroveci.

10 Real-Time Molecular Detection of Bartonella spp

11 Detection and Identification of Plasmodium by PCR using real-time PCR

12 Detection of Human Herpes Virus 6 DNA by Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction using the LightCycler™

13 Detection of JC Virus DNA by Rapid Polymerase Chain Reaction using the LightCycler™

14 Real-Time PCR Assay for the detection of Coccidioides Species.

Franklin Cockerill - Appointed by Reagan

Franklin Cockerill

In 1987, Franklin Cockerill was presented with an opportunity of a lifetime. The Infectious Diseases specialist who spent time focusing on the newly discovered disease entity, AIDS, was appointed by the then President Ronald Regan as Deputy Director of the US AIDS Commission. Internationally recognized in his field, Cockerill was asked to organize the US effort to investigate the AIDS epidemic that was sweeping the nation.

The panel was known formally as the “President’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic”. Chaired by Eugene Mayberry, the blue-ribbon panel was created to investigate the spread of human immunodeficiency and the resultant acquired immune deficiency syndrome that was widespread in the United States. This commission was mandated to provide President Reagan with the public health challenges of and possible ways to mitigate the epidemic, including medical, legal, ethical, social and economic impacts. The Executive Order 12601 established the President’s commission.

Franklin Cockerill carried the title of Deputy Director for the commission. The final report in 1987 had 500 recommendations for the President. Ultimately, the President’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic called for government funding of an aggressive biomedical research plan for HIV. President Reagan was widely criticized for taking too long for establishing the commission. The disease was first identified during his first year in office, but by the time the commission began, 20,000 people had died from AIDS. As a result of the final report from the commission, the study of HIV continues today. Researchers attempt to prevent, treat and cure the disease that has taken so many lives.

Franklin Cockerill - Tests for Anthrax

Franklin Cockerill

Franklin Cockerill has spent the majority of his illustrious career associated in some way with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. With Mayo Clinic he served as a Clinical Microbiologist, has been the Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and has been the CEO and President of Mayo Collaborative Services, an organization that is the largest for-profit company in association with Mayo Clinical.

Franklin Cockerill spent many of the early years of his career focused on the study of infectious diseases. The change of professional focus to clinical microbiology is recent. Cockerill imagines himself someday moving to a leadership position with a small startup company in biotechnology, a senior position in a large diagnostics or laboratory testing company.

One of Franklin Cockerill’s greatest contributions to medicine came in 2001. Cockerill headed a team at the Mayo Clinic whose goal was to develop a rapid and easily performed test for the diagnosis of anthrax. After the airline terrorism events of September 11th against the United States, an outbreak of anthrax wreaked fear among US residents, especially on the East Coast. Cockerill and his team were focused on finding a way to accurately and rapidly diagnose anthrax in order to ensure expedient treatment for infected individuals. High mortality occurs in patients infected with anthrax, if they do not receive the appropriate treatment in a timely fashion. The team successfully created the test, making it possible to identify the presence of anthrax in less than one hour. The test became readily available to testing laboratories across the country.

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