University of California, Davis

Alda Pires, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, UC Davis, is Assistant Specialist in Agricultural Natural Resources (ANR) University of California Cooperative Extension (UC CE) and Epidemiologist in Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) for Urban Agriculture and Food Safety in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. Dr. Pires has extensive experience in livestock production systems, risk factor analysis and implementation of risk-mitigation and preventive strategies for food animal species. Her research focuses on pre-harvest food safety, and mitigation strategies for reducing of food safety risks in the farm environment. Her primary responsibilities in Cooperative Extension are to develop and conduct programs that benefit her clientele group, which include small-scale farmers, organic farmers, State and Federal agencies impacting food safety, and the general public. She has been developing an outreach program targeting small-scale farmers with diversified production systems in California focusing on pre-harvest food safety, good agricultural practices and mitigation strategies for reducing food safety risks in the farm environment.

Alda Pires Faculty Page:

Alda Pires Outreach/Extension Page :

Michele Jay-Russell, DVM, MPVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, UC Davis, is a faculty Associate Researcher in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and serves as Manager of the Western Center for Food Safety (WCFS), a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN) academic Center of Excellence. Her research program explores the interface between production agriculture, wildlife, livestock and the environment. She combines epidemiological and field experiments with molecular techniques to test hypotheses related to the prevalence, survival and growth of foodborne pathogens in the agricultural landscape. Data from her collaborative research program is being used to inform industry guidance documents and training materials, especially related to the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, Produce Safety Rule in the areas of domesticated animals and wildlife, biological soil amendments/raw manure, small and medium scale farms, and emerging industries such as aquaponics. Prior to joining the university, she worked as an epidemiologist for over 15 years in state and local public health including in the role of California State Public Health Veterinarian, and member of the California Food Emergency Response Team (CalFERT). She received her D.V.M. and M.PV.M degrees in 1992, and her Ph.D. (Microbiology) in 2011, from the University of California-Davis. She is specialty board certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

Western Center for Food Safety

Beatriz Martínez López, DVM, MPVM, PhD, UC Davis, is Associate professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the Department of Medicine & Epidemiology, Veterinary School, UC Davis and Director of the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance (CADMS). Dr. Martínez López research is focused on the development and application of epidemiological tools for supporting more cost-effective and risk-based surveillance and control strategies. She has been primarily working on epidemiological modeling, network analysis and risk assessment of the evolution/spread of infectious diseases affecting domestic and/or wild animal populations. Many of those diseases have zoonotic potential and are considered to be emerging or re-emerging due to globalization, climate and land use changes. Since January 2014 when she assumed the direction of CADMS, she is leading the continuing development and implementation of the Disease BioPortal, an operational, secure web-based platform system intended for real-time routing, sharing, analyzing, visualizing and modeling of Big Data to better prevent and control infectious diseases (

Beatriz Martínez López Webpage:


Patricia D. Millner, PhDUSDA ARS, is a Research Microbiologist in the Environmental Microbial Food Safety Laboratory and in the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, USDA. Her research focus is on advanced agricultural sustainability and food safety practices for local organic and conventional food production. She has provided consultations on manure and biosolids treatment and pathogen destruction to several state and federal agencies, including EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL), Headquarter’s Office of Water, and Office of Solid Waste, and Region III Solid Waste; Dept of Interior; Architect of the Capitol, National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health, International Atomic Energy Commission, US AID, New Zealand District Council, Wellington, NZ; and USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, National Organic Standards Board, Foreign Agriculture Service, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, and Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analyses.

Patricia Millner Webpage:

University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Mark Hutchinson, MS, U Maine, is an Extension Professor at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. He is an Agronomist and member of the Maine Compost Team.  His research and educational programming focus on soil health and the utilization of compost as a soil amendment in food production systems. He will provide expertise in soil amendment utilization and sustainable agriculture. He will be the lead for the farm enrollment and data collection during the on-farm studies in Maine and Maryland.

U Maine Extension Compost School Website:

Maine Compost School Website:

Jason Lilley, MS, U Maine, is an Extension Educator at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension focusing on sustainable agriculture. His expertise with diversified cropping systems, and organic vegetable production systems will help to determine relevant research questions on the nutrient management as related to biological soil amendments and food safety. His extension and education appointment will serve to facilitate on-farm components of this research, and to disseminate research findings through development of educational programs.

Jason Lilley Webpage:

U Maine Cooperative Extension Webpage:

University of Minnesota

Paulo H. Pagliari, MS, PhD, University of Minnesota, is an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. He has taken the lead in coordinating the Southwest Research and Outreach Center’s (SWROC’s) organic research initiative. He is also responsible for developing new and innovative research for organic cropping systems. He will be responsible for project implementation, operation, and dissemination of results at both research and extension meetings. Tasks will involve but are not limited to overseeing staff and helping maintain the organic crop production and analyzing and summarizing data. He has vast experience in using manure as a nutrient source for crop production.

Paulo Pagliari Webpage:

The Organic Center

Jessica Shade, PhD, The Organic Center, Dr. Jessica Shade is the Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center where she directs projects associated with communicating and conducting research related to organic agriculture. During her tenure at The Organic Center Dr. Shade has collaborated on a number of diverse research programs ranging from applied solutions to on-farm challenges to methods for improving environmental impacts of agriculture.  Some of her most recent collaborations include projects aimed at decreasing nitrogen pollution from agricultural sources, increasing on-farm biodiversity, and developing integrated pest management solutions for organic growers.  Dr. Shade has extensive experience leading groups of diverse stakeholders to successfully develop unified visions and project goals.  She developed and leads the Center’s signature conference event, Organic Confluences, which brings together policy makers, researchers, farmers, industry members, and other non-profits to address and overcome challenges faced by the organic sector.

Cornell University

Elizabeth (Betsy) Bihn, PhD, Cornell University, is the director of the Produce Safety Alliance and National Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Program.  Betsy is also the Executive Director of the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University and is a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. Betsy’s extension program aims to reduce microbial risks to fresh fruits and vegetables by developing engaging and effective training and educational materials through collaboration with growers, packers, farm workers, food industry personnel, students, teachers, and consumers.  The main focus of her research is understanding the quality of surface water used during fruit and vegetable production. She also administers surveys and facilitates focus groups to gather stakeholder input and evaluate the effectiveness of educational materials.  She received her B.S. from Ohio State University in Zoology with a minor in Plant Biology, her M.S. from the University of Florida in Horticulture, and her Ph.D. from Cornell University in Food Science.

Elizabeth Bihn Website:

Donna Pahl Clements, MS, Cornell University, is the Southwest Regional Extension Associate with the Produce Safety Alliance. Based in Riverside, California, her role is to provide outreach on the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, which includes offering PSA training courses, developing food safety resources, and providing technical assistance to growers and educators. Donna has experience in produce production, harvesting, and postharvest handling. Her research included studying the effects of production practices and region on the microbial populations of fresh market crops and surveying the microbial quality of agricultural water sources in Maryland. Donna’s involvement in the fresh produce industry began while working on her family’s retail fruit and vegetable farm. She received both her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Plant Science from the University of Maryland.

Donna Pahl Website:

Produce Safety Alliance Webpage:

University Maryland Eastern Shore

Fawzy Hashem, PhD, UMES.

Postdocs, Students, and Lab Staff

Thais De Melo Ramos, MS, PhD, Post-doctoral Researcher, UC Davis

Jerome Baron, DVM, MS, PhD student, UC Davis

James Stover, BS, Junior Specialist, UC Davis

Viki Haghani, Undergraduate Student Assistant, UC Davis

Amanda Taylor, Undergraduate Student Assistant, UC Davis

Carolyn Chandler , Undergraduate Student Assistant, UC Davis

Nicholas Roweley, U Maine

Lee Klosnner, University of Minnesota

Emily Evans, University of Minnesota

Annette Kenney, Master Student, University of Maryland