Edward Sobek, PhD MBA
Dr. Sobek specializes in microbial and chemical issues affecting the built-environment. He and his team at Assured Bio Labs have tackled everything from viral outbreaks in medical facilities, moldy manufactured plastics, Legionella investigations to formaldehyde off-gassing in building materials. They have diagnosed mold and bacteria issues in hundreds of homes, commercial properties and complex manufacturing settings. He has worked on odor and chemical contamination in both residential and commercial properties. Dr. Sobek’s ability to identify the root cause of contamination truly sets him apart as an outstanding problem solver.
He has examined years of historical microbiological data and the results indicate a major flaw with current detection technologies that completely miss or underestimate the true concentrations of microbes in the built environment. Hence, his insight of microbial DNA analysis and microbial ecology is vital for a successful project outcome. That and his relentless pursuit of scientific solutions are the distinguishing factors sought by the companies that engage his services.
Dr. Sobek is a PhD microbiologist with over 20 years of laboratory and field experience. His vision is to develop industry standards with DNA based diagnostics to replace antiquated technologies that often stymie the microbial investigation process. In order to achieve those aims, he has become an avid entrepreneur and inventor. He invented the novel microbial detection technology called Molecular Entrapment, which he branded into the M-TRAP® air cassette that is a CDC/NIOSH verified technology to capture airborne influenza virus and airborne Legionella pneumophila.
Capabilities and Focus
Industrial Microbiology Manufacturing: Micro-Sensitive Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Food, Natural and Manufactured Wood Products, Pallets, Gypsum Board, Textiles, Leather & Plastics, Aseptic Processing, Gnotobiotics.
Built-Environment Microbiology: Residential & Commercial Buildings, Legionella in water systems and cooling towers, Micro-sensitive Product Storage, Warehouse Facilities, & Microbial-Induced Environmental Blackening.
Expert Witness: An experienced Testifying and Non-Testifying Expert across specialty areas.
Hinchcliff Products Co., Reynolds Consumer Products, Taconic, Bluegrass Dairy and Food Inc, LEK Inc, Chep, University Hospitals, Tempur-Pedic, Body Blue, Flake Board, CDC/NIOSH, Columbia University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, United States Air Force
Ryne Dlouhy is the Vice President of Business Development at Assured Bio Labs. He earned a B.S. in Finance and Business Administration from Wayne State College in Wayne, NE in 2014. He has held positions in sales & customer service, spent time as an accountant, and has served as a Finance Director. Ryne is also an entrepreneur who has started and built several successful companies, and he enjoys the ongoing puzzle of helping businesses to grow and thrive. Ryne is a bluegrass guitarist and has served as a board member of the Great Plains Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association. He also enjoys volunteering at two summer youth camps, RFKC and TRAC.
Joshua Birkebak, PhD
Joshua Birkebak is the Laboratory Manager at Assured Bio. He earned a B.S. in Plant Science from the University of Washington in 2009 at the age of 19 and his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee in August of 2015. Joshua has over 12 years’ experience in mycology, including taxonomy/systematics, genetics, microscopy, culture technique, and herbarium work. He has conducted fieldwork in Costa Rica, Thailand, and throughout North America. He is a member of the North American Mycological Association, and is passionate about educational and citizen outreach opportunities. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys hunting mushrooms.
Dylan Graves, CMI
Dylan Graves is the Operations Manager and Lead Investigator at Assured Bio. He successfully completed the Certified Mold Inspector program through American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) in May, 2016 and from a University of Tennessee program in 2012. His education coupled with over 8 years of experience as a microscopist are utilized in his experience with commercial, industrial, and residential property inspections. Dylan is currently pursuing an Associate Degree and plans to complete a B.S. in microbiology. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys backpacking, hunting, fishing, and disc golfing.
Anna Tolli is the Quality Assurance Officer in training at Assured Bio Labs. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University in 2015 and her M.S. in Biology from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2018, focusing in fish phylogenetics and evolutionary biology. Anna has worked at Assured Bio as a Laboratory Analyst since 2018, primarily working on special projects. In her spare time, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, and cooking.
Marcus Reed is a Laboratory Analyst at Assured Bio. His primary job duties include DNA analyses and Legionella analysis. He is from Rockwood, Tennessee. He attended Roane State Community college where he earned an Associate of Science in Biology. After transferring to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Marcus earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology. Outside work, he is an avid Tennessee Volunteer football and basketball fan. Marcus also enjoys playing guitar, golfing, video games, and cinema.
Shawn McClurg is a Laboratory Analyst here at Assured Bio Labs. He earned a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee in 2015. He worked for two years at a medical laboratory ensuring safety of plasma used for pharmaceuticals before joining the Assured Bio team in 2018. His job duties here include molecular biological and microbiological tasks. Shawn’s hobbies include fish keeping, reading, and film.
Dustin Welch is the Senior Chemist at Assured Bio Labs. He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Francis Marion University in 2006. He has over 12 years of experience in Chemical Manufacturing Quality Control and State Regulated Cannabis Industries. At Assured Bio he is responsible for Product Manufacturing and Research & Development, and serves as the EPA Regulatory Officer. In his free time,
Dustin enjoys traveling, seeing live music, playing music, technology, outdoor activities and micro-farming.
Greg McPeak is a Laboratory Technician at Assured Bio Labs. He originally trained to become a theatrical actor/director with a BA in Theatre and Psychology from East Tennessee State University. However, when children came he turned to the technical side of the stage and began working as a lighting director for the cable networks TNN and CMT. There Greg worked on such shows as HeeHaw and The Grand Ole Opry, and even spent 2 years on the crew of the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) circuit. During his second incarnation, Greg earned his MA in education from Lincoln Memorial University and began teaching in the public school system where he spent 12 or so years in the 6th grade. Taking a break from teaching Greg opened an antique shop which he said, “was an amazing place for people to come and reminisce and not buy anything”. Greg has always had a love for science, growing up in a family heavily into Boy Scouting and the study of the flora and fauna of East Tennessee. One of his prized possessions as a child was a book of mushroom spore prints and pressed ferns. It is really great to be returning to the study of the natural world, but I’ve got a lot of catching up to do said McPeak. Greg has an infinitely patient wife and two terrific children. When he has spare time he enjoys a disc golf addiction, and playing drums loudly.
Jacob Wilder works as a Laboratory Technician and serves as the Head Water Analyst at Assured Bio Labs. After graduating high school in 2017, he started working in customer service until approached by Dr. Sobek. Dr. Sobek was impressed with Jacob’s work ethic and his ability to work with Computer-Aided Design software. Jacob helped create Assured Bio’s WindTrap design using CAD, and is now involved with daily tasks and analysis including water analysis, DNA extractions, RNA extractions, and MoldScan exams. His hobbies include fishing, camping, playing guitar, and attending music festivals.
Jonah Price is a Laboratory Aide at Assured Bio Labs. From age 15 until 20, he moved with his family to Central America to serve as missionaries. He also graduated from high school during this time. Jonah’s duties at the lab include general laboratory maintenance, sample login, and Legionella processing. His hobbies outside of work include singing, song writing, and playing guitar.
Caleb Pell is the Associate Business Manager at Assured Bio Labs. He obtained his B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration from Alderson Broaddus University in May 2019. He is currently performing cost analysis and quote provision for grants, contracts, and various laboratory analyses. He also handles outgoing shipments, obtains quotes from vendors, and assists in handling customer accounts. He enjoys running and fishing outdoors in his free time.
Michael Seale is the Marketing Coordinator at Assured Bio Labs. In 2019, Michael earned his B.S. in Business Administration, Marketing from the University of Tennessee’s Haslam School of Business. He currently specializes in digital/traditional marketing, graphic design, and videography/photography production. Mike enjoys playing golf, photography and going on hiking trips up to Smokey Mountain National Park.
Brittany is the bookkeeper at Assured Bio Labs and handles accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll. She earned her Bachelors of Business Administration from King University. She has over 8 years of experience in bookkeeping/administrative area. Brittany has volunteered with Big Brother Big Sister in Knoxville. She loves cheering on UT Football on Saturdays. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and going on cruises with her husband, snowboarding, outdoor activities with family and friends, and loves being a dog mom to her two pit bulls Riley and Leo.
Timothy M. Young, PHD
Timothy M. Young is a Professor (Full) in the Center for Renewable Carbon at the University of Tennessee (UT). He has Ph.D. in Statistics and M.S. in Statistics (minor – Operations Research) from the University of Tennessee. He also holds M.S. and B.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has taught highly successful industry courses in
‘Advanced Analytics and Data Mining,’ ‘Process Analytics, Statistical Process Control | Lean Methods,’ and ‘Design of Experiments’ to more than 1,000 industry personnel since 2000.
Olga Khaliukova is a Scientific Consultant at the Assured Bio Labs. She earned a B.S. in Management from the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv in 2011 and her M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2013. She is a member of American Industrial Hygiene Association and American Statistical Association. Olga has a great interest in process improvement and optimization and is currently working on her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She volunteers at YWAC where she is a member of a team that manages Dogs Playing for Life program.
Brandon Hall is a scientific consultant for Assured Bio. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, and a minor in Philosophy. After graduating, he worked in pharmaceutical research identifying drug stability in topical applications, tracking absorption rates of various molecule sizes across skin membranes, and worked on developing a method for DNA extraction from human saliva. He is currently attending Boston University working towards his Masters in Public Health with a focus of Bio Statistics. In his free time, he enjoys trying new hobbies, disc golf, the science and art of fermentation, snowboarding, kayaking, hiking and backpacking, and high adrenaline activities.
Annie Furches serves as Scientific Adviser and Lead Scientific Consultant to Assured Bio. She earned a B.S. in Plant Biology and an M.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee. Previously, she served as Interim Lab Manager, Lead Scientist, and Quality Assurance Officer at Assured Bio. She is currently pursuing an Advanced Short Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in genetic and metabolic engineering. In her spare time, she enjoys conducting botanical fieldwork and collaborating on genetic research projects at Lincoln Memorial University with her husband, Dr. M. Steven Furches.
Greg Adkins and his company New Frame Creative provide marketing and technology assistance to the Assured Bio team, including keeping the website running in top shape and assistance with other marketing campaigns and technology solutions. Greg is a sixth-generation Knoxvillian who created his first website in 1994 from his dorm room at the University of Tennessee. Greg is a 2020 graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and is also a lead trainer at the Alliance for Better Nonprofits in Knoxville. In his free time, Greg enjoys traveling with his family, playing the piano, and collecting vinyl records.