Robert S. Donofrio, Ph.D., Director of the Applied Research Center

Dr. Robert S. Donofrio has nearly 20 years of expertise in microbiology (environmental, water, food and clinical), lab design, technical operations management and method development and validation. He holds a Ph.D. in biological sciences from Michigan Technological University and an M.S. in environmental microbiology from Duquesne University. Dr. Donofrio’s research focus has been on microbial control in water distribution systems and in food production settings, as well as characterizing microbial contamination in various environments (such as households in NSF’s Germ Studies) and assessing the efficacy of various treatment approaches. During his tenure at NSF, he spearheaded initiatives to incorporate molecular techniques for pathogen detection in food and water testing, established retail food and biofilm testing capabilities and formed the  virology and cell toxicity labs. He has authored numerous publications, serves on several advisory boards (e.g. Healthy House Institute, NoroCore, IAFP, U.S. TAG for Nanomaterials), and is on the Board of Directors for the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Ratul Saha, Ph.D., Microbiology Research Scientist

Dr. Ratul Saha has 10 years of experience in microbiology and biotechnology, including method development and validation for rapid microbiological assays to detect microorganisms in food, water and pharmaceutical products. He researches microbial control and the development of biofilm test methods for evaluating the efficacy of antimicrobials simulating real-life applications. Dr. Saha holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Microbiology from Michigan Technological University and an M.Sc. in biotechnology from Bangalore University. He has published several peer-reviewed manuscripts, serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology and Journal of Environmental Health and is an invited peer reviewer for several scientific journals.

Kurt Kneen, Ph.D., Vice President, NSF Global Laboratories

Dr. Kurt Kneen has over 25 years of experience in analytical chemistry and instrumental analysis, with over 15 years at NSF International directing and managing world-class laboratories. He holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Michigan State University and a B.A. in chemistry from Wittenberg University. He expanded NSF’s lab capabilities and developed and implemented new test methods for routine analysis and chemical testing. Dr. Kneen played a key role in establishing NSF’s product testing lab in Shanghai. He has taught lab courses at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. Dr. Kneen is an active member of the American Chemical Society and has presented at national events.

Kerri LeVanseler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry Laboratories

 Dr. Kerri LeVanseler has over 25 years experience working in analytical test laboratories participating in research and development of new methods and test protocols, coordinating quality assurance efforts, supervising chemistry staff for special projects and resolving special technical issues. She holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Wayne State University and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan. Her expertise lies in the application of various instrumental techniques for the analysis of a wide range of analytes (vitamins, heavy metals, pesticides, natural constituents, active ingredients, extractants) in various sample types (dietary supplement ingredients and products, food and food contact materials, sanitizers, pharmaceuticals, detergents and medical devices). 

John Travis, Senior Research Scientist

 John Travis has 18 years of experience in analysis of target analytes and method development. He specializes in the analysis of dietary supplements, utilizing techniques such as gas and high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. His expertise in the analysis of prohibited substances in dietary supplements was instrumental in developing screening methods for NSF’s Certified for Sport program. Mr. Travis has a degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan. He sat on the AOAC Presidential Task Force on Dietary Supplements and several review panels.

Amanda Phelka, Ph.D., Director of Toxicology Services

Dr. Amanda Phelka has more than 15 years of experience conducting and evaluating studies assessing chemical exposure and human health risk. She holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in toxicology from the University of Michigan. She has published peer-reviewed manuscripts on toxicology, industrial hygiene and occupational health. Dr. Phelka has served as an invited peer reviewer of the U.S. EPA’s draft Provisional Peer Review Toxicity Values manuscripts and authored peer-reviewed human health risk assessments evaluating chronic exposure to unregulated contaminants in drinking water supplies.

Caroline English, Ph.D., Senior Toxicologist

Dr. Caroline English is Senior Toxicologist for NSF International, specializing in quantitative health risk assessment, food and dietary ingredient safety, nanomaterials, drinking water and green chemistry programs. Dr. English worked for 22 years at Eastman Kodak where she held a variety of technical and leadership roles before joining NSF in 2007. Dr. English has experience conducting GLP metabolism, kinetic, biochemical and systemic toxicology studies. She designed and oversaw research and testing programs in support of product development and stewardship, assisting clients in North America, Asia and Europe to achieve marketplace success. Dr. English serves on the Executive Committee of the NSF International Health Advisory Board, and the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnologies.

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