Dr. Michelle Catlin
Dr. Michelle Catlin was appointed as chief scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in January 2024. In her role, Dr. Catlin serves as the primary scientific advisor on matters of public health and food safety that affect the agency’s mission, with primary responsibility for scientific initiatives within the Office of Public Health Science (OPHS). Dr. Catlin’s efforts directly support all FSIS’ Strategic Goals: (1) Prevent Foodborne Illness and Protect Public Health; (2) Transform Inspection Strategies, Policies and Scientific Approaches to Improve Public Health; and (3) Achieve Operational Excellence.
Dr. Catlin has held a variety of leadership roles in FSIS. In October 2018, she was appointed as international coordination executive for FSIS. In her role, she led the Office of International Coordination (OIC) and coordinated all of FSIS’ international activities related to the agency’s public health and food safety mission, implementing the administrator’s international strategic objectives. Her office coordinated the international activities among FSIS’ Office of Field Operations; the Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit; and the Office of Policy and Program Development; and represented FSIS in contacts with foreign governments on technical issues about importing and exporting meat, poultry and egg products, as well as trade negotiations, to ensure food safety in the international trade of these products.
Prior to joining OIC, Dr. Catlin directed the Risk Assessment and Analytics Staff in OPHS, the Congressional and Public Affairs Staff in the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education, the Data Integration and Analysis Staff in the former Office of Food Defense and Emergency Response (OFDER) and the Scientific and Technical Support Staff responsible for food defense in OFDER.
Dr. Catlin came to FSIS from the National Academy of Sciences, where she was responsible for all aspects of studies guiding U.S. government decisions related to national drinking water regulations, veteran compensation policies, state and local smoking policies, women’s health research priorities and the ethical and scientific issues with studying drugs once they are in commerce.
Dr. Catlin holds a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in life sciences and a Master of Science in pharmacology from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She also holds a Ph.D. in toxicology from the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences of the University of Washington at Seattle.