BURLINGTON, Vt. – Dr. Catherine W. Donnelly is the 2006 recipient of the Maurice Weber Laboratorian Award, presented to an IAFP member for dedicated and exceptional contributions in the laboratory.

Donnelly is the daughter of Robert Wright Jr. of Auburn and is a graduate of Edward Little High School.

The award recognizes a commitment to the development and/or application of innovative and practical analytical approaches in support of food safety. Donnelly is regarded as an international expert on the foodborne role of “listeria monocytogenes,” having published numerous articles and delivered hundreds of presentations on the topic.

A professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont (UV), Donnelly serves as associate director for the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese and previously served as associate director for the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship, a research consortium between Cornell University and the University of Vermont. She served as the associate dean of research and the interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UV from 1988 to 1999.

Donnelly has been recognized by her colleagues for contributions to improving “listeria” detection. She has been a prolific author and a chapter contributor to numerous texts on “listeria” detection, including “Standard Methods for Examination of Dairy Products,” “Compendium of Methods for Microbiological Examination of Foods” and “Listeria, Listeriosis and Food Safety.”

Her research interests center on development of detection methods of “listeria” and understanding the impact of sublethal injury on “listeria” recovery and detection. Donnelly and her colleagues pioneered the development of methods to detect listeria in foods, including development of UVM media. Scholarly interests include investigation of the microbiological safety of raw milk cheeses aged for 60 days.

In 1999, the U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services appointed Donnelly to the National Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Criteria for Foods. She was appointed by the FDA commissioner to serve on the Science Advisory Board of the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research.

In 2000, Donnelly and her colleagues received, in conjunction with Cornell University, a $3.8 million award from the USDA Fund for Rural America to establish the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship. Donnelly received the 2001-2002 University Scholar Award from the University of Vermont and was honored as the division lecturer for the Food Microbiology Division at the 2002 American Society for Microbiology meeting.

She served as chairwoman of the Program Committee for IAFP 2005 in Baltimore, and serves the AOAC Research Institute as a performance tested methods reviewer. Most recently, she served on the ILSI Research Foundation/Risk Science Institute Expert Panel on “L. monocytogenes” in Foods, where she chaired the hazard characterization working group. Donnelley serves as the scientific editor of the food microbiology and safety section of the Journal of Food Science.

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