Our Team – NoroCORE Food Virology

Our Team

NoroCORE™ is comprised of more than 30 research teams representing 20 institutions. These figures do not include the numerous other research teams with whom our members have collaborations, or any leveraged projects involving our team members. North Carolina State University (NCSU) serves as the lead institution, housing the project’s Scientific Director, Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, as well as several collaborating investigators and the project’s administrative staff (see below). Twelve lead investigators from collaborating institutions comprise the project’s Executive Board, which is responsible for overseeing and guiding the direction of the projects efforts as it progresses. The remaining 18+ teams serve as Collaborating partners. Additional institutions may become involved in NoroCORE™ through successful competition for one of its annual grants (offered to tackle emerging issues). The NoroCORE™ team also engages stakeholders to help guide the project and ensure that its outputs will translate to real-work processes and actions that result in reduction of the burden of virus-associated food borne disease.

Research at lead institution NCSU is focused largely in the Detection, Prevention and Control, and Extension and Outreach cores. NoroCORE™ Scientific Director Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, also a leader of the Detection core, and her team focus on the development of novel ligands for norovirus detection, investigations of persistence and transferability of foodborne viruses, research related to the spread of virus from vomiting events, and investigation of antimicrobial surfaces. Dr. Ben Chapman of NCSU leads research in using social media to communicate about food safety, as part of the activities in Extension and Outreach, and Dr. Chip Simmons leads Extension efforts for the fresh produce and molluscan shellfish industries. Dr. Orlin Velev is working closely with the Jaykus laboratory to investigate virus aggregation and inactivation, as well as virus-surfactant interactions. You can read more about the entire NCSU team below.

Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus

William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor & NoroCORE™ Scientific Director
photo of Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus

Dr. Jaykus serves as the Scientific Director for NoroCORE. She has experience working with many large, multi-institutional projects dealing with a variety of food borne pathogens but is best known for her work in Food Virology, focusing on developing methods to detect human enteric virus contamination in foods and environmental samples, and better understanding the dynamics of virus transmission through the food chain. Her current research efforts are varied and focus on food virology; development of molecular methods for foodborne pathogen detection; application of quantitative risk assessment in food safety; and understanding the ecology of pathogens in foods. As NoroCORE Scientific Director, Dr. Jaykus manages the administrative functioning of the Collaborative and coordinates the Research, Outreach, and Education efforts of the Collaborative.

Dr. Richard Linton

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Dr. Linton’s research interests include modeling the growth and inactivation of foodborne pathogens within different food systems stored under different environmental conditions. He works extensively with various segments of the food industry developing applied research projects and implementing impactful outreach programs. His area of expertise is development and implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point systems and other food safety management programs. His previous position was Professor of Food Safety and Department Chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State University.

Dr. Ben Chapman

Assistant Professor, Food Safety Specialist
photo of Dr. Ben Chapman

Dr. Chapman supports Extension Agents, focusing on consumer, retail and foodservice food safety issues, with emphasis on engaging audiences through various media with the aim of creating and fostering good food safety culture. He is involved with developing and delivering a food safety training program to small and medium businesses to comply with FSMA regulations. He has worked on the development of on-farm food safety programs; consulted for industry and government around food safety issues, and conducted observation studies at community dinners, foodservice, farmers’ markets and in food production settings.

Dr. David Green

Professor, Department Extension Leader, & Director of the NCSU Seafood Processing Laboratory
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Dr. Green’s research interests are in post-harvest handling and processing of freshwater and marine fish and shellfish including molecular methods for detection of histamine-producing bacteria in fish and evaluation of post-harvest treatment strategies in molluscan shellfish intended for raw consumption. He provides education and training workshops in seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Sanitation Control Procedures (SCPs) and offers numerous technical services for industry in process validation and verification.

Dr. Chris Gunter

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
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Dr. Gunter with growers to maintain a high quality of life through the use of integrated, economical and environmentally sound production practices. His main focus is with optimizing growth practices with Solanaceous (tomato, pepper) and Cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli) cropping systems. He is also involved in fresh produce safety and the impact of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) on these crops during field production and throughout the produce handling chain.

Dr. O.D. “Chip” Simmons

NoroCORE Extension Specialist & Professor
photo of Dr. Chip Simmons

Dr. Simmons’ expertise is in environmental and public health microbiology. His current interests lie in the areas of pre-harvest food safety, worker health and personal hygiene during harvest, and disinfection of irrigation and process water used for fruit and vegetable production. Dr. Simmons’ extension and outreach efforts target fresh produce production, packing, and processing as well as molluscan shellfish safety. Dr. Simmons spearheads NoroCORE’s extension and outreach efforts with the fresh produce and molluscan shellfish industries.

Dr. Orlin Velev

photo of Dr. Orlin Velev

Dr. Velev ‘s research focuses on nanostructures with electrical and photonic functionality, biosensors and microfluidic devices. His team is involved with NoroCORE’s efforts to design biosensor platforms for detecting noroviruses. He is investigating surfactant mediated virus interactions (virus aggregation, surface binding, and disassembly), and the influence of surface potential on virus surface retention.

Dr. Elizabeth Bradshaw

NoroCORE™ Extension Associate
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Dr. Bradshaw is NoroCORE’s dedicated post-doctoral research scholar. She writes for the NoroCORE blog, assists with the graduate curriculum development, and provides general writing, editing, and graphic design support to NoroCORE.

Dr. Blanca Escudero-Abarca

Senior Researcher, Jaykus Laboratory
photo of Dr. Blanca Escudero

Dr. Escudero’s current work is focused on the development of molecular techniques for detection of human noroviruses. Her research includes characterization of the persistence and transferability of noroviruses on common surfaces and foods; construction of an internal amplification control (IAC); novel methods for recovery of viruses using histoblood group antigens as ligands; and the selection and characterization of aptamers with binding affinity to human norovirus.

Ms. Catharine “Katie” Gensel

NoroCORE™ Administrator & Communications Director
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Ms. Gensel manages NoroCORE communications and meeting/event planning, maintains the NoroCORE website, manages NoroCORE’s branding/marketing strategy, assists with reporting functions, co-manages NoroCORE’s social media efforts, and prepares print materials for the Collaborative. She also assists with various tasks related to extension/outreach and other project management as needed.

Dr. Rebecca Goulter

NoroCORE™ Associate Director of Scientific Affairs & Jaykus Laboratory Manager
photo of Dr. Rebecca Goulter

Dr. Goulter’s research interests focus on foodborne viruses, particularly the noroviruses, with an emphasis on molecular based detection methods and viral-particle interactions within relevant matrices. She manages the laboratory of Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus. Her role in NoroCORE involves fiscal management of the Collaborative’s operations and handling grants/contracts.

Dr. Christina Moore

NoroCORE™ Curriculum Coordinator
photo of Dr. Christina Moore

Dr. Moore serves as the NoroCORE Curriculum Coordinator, developing a web-based graduate curriculum addressing food virology topics. She has research and professional experience in domains including food spoilage, food safety and risk analysis. She has an extensive background in the development and administration of web-based curricula in the field of food microbiology.

Dr. Jennifer Shields

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Jaykus Laboratory
photo of Dr. Jen Shields

Dr. Shields’ current work includes managing projects for identifying sources of human and animal fecal contamination, and associated pathogens, in food production. The first project focuses on incorporating and adapting microbial source-tracking techniques developed in the water quality sector for tracing the source of contaminants on fresh fruits and vegetables. The second project centers on the detection of norovirus in raw molluscan shellfish from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.