About Us

Our Dedicated Flavor Experts

The North Carolina State University Sensory Service Center operates under the direction of Dr. MaryAnne Drake, Professor of Sensory Analysis and Flavor Chemistry and an internationally recognized dairy foods expert. Our core team includes leading sensory scientists and flavor chemists Michele Yates, Sensory Analyst and Evan Miracle, Research Analyst. Learn a little bit more about us and how we work tirelessly to deliver results that help our clients shine.


drake_maryanneDr. MaryAnne Drake

Formal Education
Washington State University, Ph.D. Food Science, 1996
Washington State University, M.S. Food Science, 1992
Central Washington University, B.S. Biology, 1990

Professional Memberships
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), American Society for Microbiology (ASM), American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), American Cheese Society (ACS) [/one_half] [one_half_last]Dr. Drake, an acknowledged expert in Dairy Flavor, has been with the Sensory Service Center since 2001. Our clients love that she is highly responsive and always in touch. She enjoys doing extensive research and rapid results driven projects.  She provides quality, hands on expertise as a taster and evaluator. With her amazingly experienced and discriminating palette, she can assuredly describe food products in a useful and sensitive way.

Her favorite meal is black bean soup and she enjoys collecting fine wines. [/one_half_last]

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Michele Yates

Formal Education
NC State University, MS, Food Science, 1987
Western Carolina University, BS, Food and Nutrition, 1979

Professional Memberships
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)[/one_half] [one_half_last]Michele has been with the Sensory Service Center for over 25 years. She keeps track of all project details with great accuracy for  our clients, and as a participatory panel leader, she gets especially thorough results from contract panels.Michele supports each new crop of graduate students in our lab with thorough panel and spectrum training – this groundwork serves as the foundation for the kind of results delivery we take pride in.

Michele’s favorite foods are stewed cabbage with sausage, and chicken wings. She is also a Jam and Jelly judge at the State Fair and raises backyard chickens.[/one_half_last]

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Evan Miracle

Formal Education
University of California Davis, MS, Food Science, 2002
University of Georgia, BS, Microbiology, 1999

Professional Memberships
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)[/one_half] [one_half_last]In Evan’s nine years in the lab, he has established himself as an insightful analyst and thoughtfully guides our clients through the kinds of testing that will get them the results they are looking for. He has a gift for identifying off flavors and a particular capacity for linking Sensory and Instrumental Analysis.

His favorite meal is homemade pizza and he collects and plays hobby boardgames.[/one_half_last]