November 21, 2019

When I started my career with a Ph.D. degree in molecular microbiology, I had no real sense of direction. Since then, over a career spanning R&D, education, laboratory services, and my position managing the development of Bruker’s solutions in industrial microbiology, I have learned the importance of using internationally recognized standards.

As one of the pioneers of standardization, AOAC has been a big part of my trajectory. For example, in 2005, I was heavily involved in the working group and leading the effort for the revision of ISO 16140, method validation in microbiology of the food chain. The standard was divided into two parts, the first dedicated to terminology and the second to validation of alternative (proprietary) methods. My work centered on Part 1.

It did not take long to realize that there were as many definitions of food categories and food types as there were people in the meeting room! It took a year, but we finally ended up with a classification table. Ultimately the table was available not in the ISO 16140–Part 1 standard, but in ISO 16140–Part 2.

The project was a very good lesson. I started to better understand the meaning of global harmonization: open your mind and think as much as possible “outside YOUR box.” Consensus is reached by merging the rationales of parties from various origins and with different perspectives.

Validated methods, such as those developed through AOAC’s Official Method of AnalysisSM program, make life easy for the end-user: only a basic verification study is required to implement the method and demonstrate that it works in the user’s hands. This is the path I recently selected for the Bruker MALDI Biotyperâ validation studies. In less than 12 months, everything was complete–from the first contacts to the approvals. I was impressed by the efficiency of the process, advice and support from the AOAC expert review panel, and AOAC staff.

I am also proud to publish scientific articles in the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, which gives a wide audience the latest insights in analytical sciences. The submission process is simple and fast, and the peer-review procedure is highly professional.

Being part of AOAC is being part of an extended international network of sharing and assisting with reciprocity. AOAC is an excellent source of fresh ideas, best practices, and relevant information that benefit our respective workplaces.

Why AOAC? Because AOAC connections help broaden our horizons. Being a member of AOAC has helped give me a real sense of direction.