Commander Dean J. Wagner, JR. enlisted in the US Navy in 1990 and served aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). He made several deployments to the western Pacific and the Persian Gulf before separating from the Navy in 1996 as an Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class.
CDR Wagner attended Stonehill College in Easton, MA graduating with a Bachelor of Science in biology. While there, he developed a program to assist and guide undergraduate students with developing knowledge and skills required for pursuing professional degrees in the sciences. For this, he was awarded the first McDonnel Memorial Award for Service.
While attending college, he also worked as a research assistant in a neuroscience lab at Harvard Medical School and the West Roxbury VA Hospital. The focus of the lab was on several proteins involved in sleep regulation within specific regions of the brain.
Following graduation, CDR Wagner entered Boston College, earning a PhD in biology in 2006. His research focused on the stress response and unusual peptide production in extremophilic Archaea. In addition, he taught undergraduate courses in general biology, biochemistry and genetics, earning the Donald H. White Award for Teaching Excellence.
After a short tenure as a post-doctoral fellow in the Chemistry Department at Boston College,
CDR Wagner entered the Navy a second time in 2006. His first assignment was to the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC), Detachment – Environmental Health Effects Laboratory (EHEL) onboard Wright Patterson AFB, OH. Here, he led research efforts examining the toxicological effects of materials of military relevance, including tungsten, desert sands and an ‘alternative jet fuel’ developed by the USAF.
In 2009, he transferred to the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory, San Diego, where he was Director for Laboratory Certification and Information Management. In addition, he was certified as an expert witness to testify in courts martial and administrative separation boards on drug related cases.
CDR Wagner joined the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) onboard Kirtland AFB, NM in September 2013 as part of the CBRN Military Advisory Team (CMAT) and Joint Task Force Medical Planner. He was deployed around the world to support geographical combatant commanders with CWMD expertise in exercises and other events.
In May 2016, CDR Wagner reported to the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory, Jacksonville, FL as the Commanding Officer. The lab has a staff of more than 80 military, civilian and contract personnel and processes more than 1 Million specimens annually for drugs of abuse.
Throughout his career, CDR Wagner has participated on several committees, working groups and crisis action teams from the unit to combatant command levels. Personal military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2), and Good Conduct Medal.