Join AOAC on September 10 at the Annual Meeting for four fast-paced talks, designed to challenge your thinking about future science and standards-setting needs. Get there early!

To avoid disturbing other activities near the Plaza Foyer location, the AOAC Spotlight On… talks are being broadcast over headsets, which will be distributed to a maximum of 50 attendees on a first-come, first-served basis.

We’ll be shining a spotlight on:

WANTED: “Out-of-the-Box” Thinkers. Are you One?


12:00pm – 12:20pm

Ingenuity. Blue-sky thinking.  Some of the world’s greatest scientific discoveries have come from those unique individuals whose solutions arose by viewing challenges from unconventional perspectives; those who connected the dots from seemly unrelated events to yield some of the most astounding achievements of their time. The analytical communities of the future will need such innovative thinkers; those who will develop products, technologies, and services that will drive industry and protect public health. Are you one? Can you be inspired to be one?

About Palmer Orlandi

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As deputy executive director and chief science officer (CSO) at AOAC INTERNATIONAL, Palmer is responsible for overseeing the AOAC Research Institute, standards development activities, and the Proficiency Testing Program. Palmer has an extensive background in government relations, food science and safety, regulatory affairs, and public health in the federal government. Prior to joining AOAC INTERNATIONAL, he served more than 22 years at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most recently as CSO and research director in the Office of Food and Veterinary Medicine. Palmer holds a B.A. in chemistry from Lafayette College and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Kentucky. He was also an officer in the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, earning the rank of Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in 2017.

Desperately Seeking Standards: The Role of Standard Analytics in Consumer Confidence & Global Hemp Markets

Holly E. Johnson, American Herbal Products Association

12:40pm – 1:00pm

Hemp and CBD products are flooding markets in the form of supplements, beverages, topicals, and foods.  The products are wildly popular yet it seems in the US and beyond that industry is ahead of regulators and standards setting bodies, which can negatively influence consumer confidence in the safety and quality of hemp derived natural products.  This talk will explore the challenges with setting standards for hemp materials in the context of a variety of legal and regulatory systems, and the crucial role that broadly relevant standard analytical methods will play in this emerging market. 

About Holly Johnson

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Holly is chief science officer at the American Herbal Products Association, where she is Association’s primary scientific resource, providing individualized technical guidance to member organizations. Holly received her Ph.D. in pharmacognosy at the College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois–Chicago. She is currently a research associate with the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Holly serves on AOAC stakeholder groups and expert review panels for foods and dietary supplements and is a member of the AOAC Editorial Board. In addition, she is a member of the United States Pharmacopeia’s Medical Cannabis Expert Panel, and also serves on the Advisory Boards of the American Botanical Council and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia. Holly has over 20 years of experience in natural products chemistry with botanicals.

10 Things you Didn’t Know about Cannabis Science 

Toby Astill, PerkinElmer

1:20pm – 1:40pm

An overview of the legal cannabis and hemp industry through a scientist’s eyes to understand where the future opportunities are in the Cannabis and Hemp industry. Talk topics will include: methodology for contaminant testing, understanding the challenges around analyzing multiple types of matrices, and the importance of understanding the regulatory needs.

About Toby Astill

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For the past eight years, Toby has worked for PerkinElmer and is currently global food market manager for Cannabis and Hemp. In this capacity, he is focused on driving PerkinElmer’s global cannabis and hemp business, including new product development, market and industry research, collaborations with customers, application development, marketing initiatives, and more. Toby has a Ph.D. in chemistry and has 15 years working in science, technology, and business roles for leading technology companies.

Microbial Whole Genome Sequencing and The Promise of Genomic Sciences for Food Safety and Beyond 

Eric Brown, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 

2:00pm – 2:20pm

Whole genome sequencing is now used commonly in the food safety and public health arenas and is revolutionizing the way in which foodborne outbreaks are detected and traced back to their source. However, the true potential for this technology and other innovations in genomics has not nearly been reached. A future perspective for genomics in food safety and other key spaces in food and environmental sciences will be discussed.

About Eric Brown

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Eric has been with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition since 1999 and currently serves as director of the Division of Microbiology in the Office of Regulatory Science. Here, he oversees a group of 60 food safety microbiology researchers and support scientists in a multi-parameter research program to develop and apply microbiological and molecular genetic strategies for detecting, identifying, and differentiating bacterial foodborne pathogens. Recently, his laboratory has been instrumental in adapting next-generation sequencing technologies to augment foodborne outbreak investigations and to ensure preventive control and compliance standards at FDA, including the establishment of the GenomeTrakr whole-genome sequencing network for food safety. Eric has co-authored more than 200 refereed publications and book chapters and has presented nationally and internationally more than 500 times on the molecular differentiation, evolutionary genetics, and ecological persistence of foodborne and other bacterial pathogens. Eric received his M.Sc. in microbiology from the National Cancer Institute/Hood College joint program in the biomedical sciences and his Ph.D. in microbial genetics from the Department of Biological Sciences at The George Washington University.

AOAC Spotlight On… is co-sponsored by: