Melinda Hayman, Ph.D., director of microbiology, is a food microbiologist specializing in Food Safety. Melinda received her Ph.D. in Food Science from the Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. Hons in Microbiology and Biochemistry from the University of Sydney. Melinda joined GMA in 2012 as Director of Microbiology. In this role she oversees critical food safety research, supports membership through technical and laboratory services and interacts with many segments of the food industry, as well as the academic and food regulatory communities, in order to track and interpret food safety issues and deliver effective solutions.
Prior to joining GMA, Melinda was the Director of Technical Services at Food Safety Net Services, where she managed Laboratory Quality Systems, Training, Method Validation, and Special Projects. In addition, Melinda worked as a Food Microbiologist for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Sydney, Australia.
Elena Enache, Ph.D., senior scientist, microbiology is responsible for leading microbiology research and providing innovative food safety solutions to GMA membership. Dr Enache ensures that GMA’s food safety research aligns with organizational strategic plans, as well as preparing proposals, protocols and reports and conducting research. The following research projects were recently conducted under her leadership: “Heat Resistance of Histamine-Producing Bacteria in Irradiated Tuna Loins” and “Thermal Inactivation and Survival of Salmonella in Food as a Function of Water Activity (aw) and Fat Level.” Other research interests include survival and heat resistance studies of vegetative pathogens and spoilage organisms in an array of food products. She also supports GMA membership by providing technical expertise in food safety and microbiology.
Dr. Enache earned her Ph.D. in microbiology from the Institute of Biological Sciences – Central Institute of Biology, Bucharest, and her MS in microbiology and immunology from University of Bucharest, Romania. She is a laureate of Academy Prize “Emanoil Teodorescu” for biological sciences (1986) of the Romanian Academy (the highest scientific distinction in Romania, given once in a lifetime). Dr. Enache has published more than 16 research articles and book chapters on food safety.
Ai Kataoka, associate scientist, microbiology, is responsible for conducting scientific research projects in the area of microbiological food safety/stability and laboratory services such as food microbiology testing related to quality control issues and foodborne pathogen screening analysis.
Ms. Kataoka earned her BS in food science and technology from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and MS in food science from Kansas State University.
Carla Napier, laboratory technician, microbiology completes quality assurance analyses for member companies. Ms. Napier performs commercial sterility testing, low-acid QA analyses, acidified QA analyses and recovery testing for identification purposes. She provides technical support for all research endeavors and continues to serve as a resource for food and beverage companies by providing food safety information through educational workshops and newsletters.
Ms. Napier earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in microbiology from George Mason University.