I study bacterial food safety with an emphasis on understanding the intrinsic bacterial factors which contribute to foodborne outbreaks of salmonellosis and listeriosis.
Current projects include:
- Determining the contribution of sanitizer tolerance and biofilm formation capability to colonization Listeria monocytogenes colonization of Vermont dairies
- Understanding whether isolate stress tolerance is a key contributing factor to foodborne outbreaks of S. enterica
- Understanding how common Salmonella enterica is in backyard laying hens and hatchling chicks and what owners know about S. enterica, good husbandry practices, and good egg handling and sanitation practices
I am also interested in how scientists can better communicate food safety risks to consumers. This issue is one of the key focuses of my class NFS 195C: Deadly Foods: Outbreak Investigations, which provides an entry-level examination of foodborne pathogens, epidemiology of foodborne outbreaks, and in-depth discussion of multiple foodborne outbreaks in the U.S.
Of course, food safety is not just an American problem. My fall course, NFS 254 Global Food Safety, explores how differing food safety legislation, cultural factors, and distribution of foodborne pathogens affect food safety globally and how the international food system affects the local food systems.