Dr. Sharon Brunelle has worked with the AOAC RI and AOAC INTERNATIONAL since 2003 as a technical consultant coordinating microbiology and chemistry method validation studies in the Performance Tested MethodsSM (PTM) and Official Methods of AnalysisSM (OMA) programs. Brunelle also served as the technical lead for various contract-related and standards development projects within AOAC. She played a major role in developing guidelines for validation of biothreat agent methods and revising guidelines for validation of microbiology methods. Prior to AOAC, she worked for 10 years in diagnostics development and validation, both in food microbiology and clinical oncology. Brunelle earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University. Her postdoctoral work was in medical biochemistry at Rockefeller University and the Picower Institute for Medical Research.
Maria Nelson has worked with the AOAC RI and AOAC INTERNATIONAL since 2003 as a technical consultant coordinating microbiology and chemistry method validation studies in the Performance Tested MethodsSM (PTM) and Official Methods of AnalysisSM (OMA) programs. Nelson also served as a technical advisor for AOAC contract-related activities and microbiology validation guidelines. She has worked in the biotechnology industry developing a variety of test methods using many techniques, with 6 years specifically in developing and validating microbiological test kits. Nelson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Bacteriology and a Master’s degree in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis.
Zerlinde Johnson was program manager for the AOAC RI PTM Program from 2005-2011 before moving back to southern California as a technical consultant for the AOAC RI. Prior to this, she conducted 7 years of academic research with the Veterans Administration and University of Southern California, School of Medicine. She graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a B.S. in Biology.
Patrick Bird brings to the position a 15-year career in food safety, with experience in developing and validating microbiological methods. Bird is an active member of the food safety community, serving in numerous roles including manufacturing and laboratory management. His focus is in diagnostic methods for microbiology, allergens, and mycotoxins. This work included independent laboratory evaluations for AOAC Official Methods of AnalysisSM (OMA), AOAC RI Performance Tested MethodsSM Program, and MicroVal and AFNOR NF Certification Programs. Bird has been an active member in AOAC INTERNATIONAL for 10 years, currently serving as lead for the microbiology community for AOAC’s Technical Programming Council. He is an active member of the U.S. ISO/TC34/SC9 delegation and serves on two working groups: WG3 for Method Validation and WG19 for Guidelines for Conducting Challenge Studies. He holds a BS in Microbiology from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, USA, and an MS in Food Safety from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, USA.
Dr. Dawn Dowell has worked with AOAC since 2003 as a technical consultant. Her main focus has involved coordination and completion of the annual PTM Program review. Prior to AOAC, she worked as a quality control microbiologist in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Dowell received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Mount Olive University, Master’s of Business Administration, and Doctorate of Public Health specializing in Epidemiology from Capella University.
Nancy Thiex has worked with the AOAC RI since 2012 as a technical consultant, coordinating chemistry method validation studies. Other consulting projects since her retirement from South Dakota State University have included projects for AAFCO, APHL, and The Fertilizer Institute. As deliverables for some of this work, she was the project manager for the development of two sampling guidance documents that have received international recognition, Guidance on Obtaining Defensible Samples and Guidance on Obtaining Defensible Test Portions. She serves a Section Editor for the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL for two journal sections: Animal Food, Pet Food and Plant Nutrient Methods, and Sampling Methods. Thiex received B.S. (Mathematics), M.Ed. (Physical Sciences), and M.S. (Chemistry) degrees from South Dakota State University.