Otto D. Simmons, PhD
NoroCORE Extension Specialist & Professor
Departments of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering
North Carolina State University
Adjunct Assistant Professor
School of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Simmons maintains joint appointments in the Departments of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University. His expertise is in environmental and public health microbiology, with research focusing on the development and implementation of methods to detect and quantify bacterial, viral, and parasitic pathogens and indicator organisms in different matrices, including environmental water, soil, and air. 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. Simmons also serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Simmons’ extension and outreach efforts target fresh produce production, packing, and processing as well as molluscan shellfish safety. His goals are to build scientific capacity and human relationships that will support increased, sustained efforts in food virology as a member of the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative, whose long term goal is to produce a measurable reduction in the burden of viral foodborne disease in the U.S. Dr. Simmons is particularly interested in research, extension, and outreach efforts that will not only benefit North Carolina, but will also be widely applicable. To this end, he maintains membership and is actively engaged with special focus groups such as the NC Food Safety and Defense Task Force, the NC Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, the Produce Safety Alliance, and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference in order to network and extend the influence of the Collaborative. Extension efforts focus on engaging stakeholders to translate and disseminate research findings related to food borne viruses into practices for target audiences and include this information in updated extension/outreach materials.