Steve Rogers

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Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

MSU Professor Named State Chemist

STARKVILLE, Miss.–An accomplished Mississippi State researcher and administrator for the Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory is taking the helm of that state agency housed on the land-grant institution’s campus.

Ashli Brown has been named State Chemist and director of the MSCL, effective Oct. 1 and pending formal approval by the Mississippi Senate.

Previously, she served as the MSCL’s director of research and agriculture forensics. The lab provides critical support to Mississippi agriculture — the state’s No. 1 industry, generating approximately $7 billion in revenue in 2012, according to data from the MSU Extension Service. Additionally, agriculture employs nearly 30 percent of the state’s workforce directly or indirectly.

“The lab’s work affects Mississippians throughout the state every day,” Brown said.

Established in 1892 at the university — then Mississippi A&M College — the MSCL is a state regulatory agency. Offices are located in the Hand Chemical Laboratory Building.

Working with the Mississippi departments of Agriculture and Commerce, of Health and of Marine Resources, the MSCL jointly develops, promulgates, modifies and enforces regulations, standards and specifications of animal feeds, food, fertilizers, gasoline, kerosene, diesel and antifreeze sold within the state’s borders. The agencies also provide analytical data to ensure the quality, accurate labeling of these materials.

Other MSCL duties include research to promote the regulatory sciences, including a fellows program in which MSU faculty and students may collaborate on projects of mutual interest. (For more, visit www.mscl.msstate.edu/.)

Brown, a University of South Florida doctoral graduate, is a biochemist and molecular biologist with a research and teaching focus on aflatoxin — a group of toxic compounds produced by some molds that can contaminate stored food supplies like animal feed and peanuts.

Her research interests include physical biochemistry, enzymology, protein kinases, insect pheromones, and gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.

She is on the faculty of MSU’s Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and is also a scientist in the university’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.