Microbial threats to food security can come from a variety of microorganisms and at various stages in the life cycle of the food. In agriculture and aquaculture, microbes and microbial infections can affect the health and productivity of food plants and animals. The entry of microbial agents into or onto food results in food poisoning, increase in foodborne outbreaks and increase in food spoilage. These decrease food availability because contaminated food products must be discarded. Our faculty conduct research on different food-borne and food-impacting microbes using innovative approaches such as, molecular techniques, microbiomics, genomics and proteomics, to understand their biology and to develop strategies to inactivate and control them.
Scientists at the forefront of microbial threats to food security research
The Rowe lab studies cooperation between the human upper respiratory microbiome and respiratory viruses. Many species of bacteria in the upper respiratory community can bind to Influenza A virus, the cause of ”the flu.” This interaction can increase the likelihood of a bacterial infection after having the flu and can alter the transmission of the flu from person to person. Influenza A virus also is a pathogen of birds and understanding interactions between Influenza A virus and bird microbiome can lend insights into pathogenesis and transmission of Avian Influenza Viruses, both bird to bird and bird to human.
Associate Professor (Senior Research)
My research focuses on fish parasites and their classification, life cycles, ecology and epidemiology. I seek to understand infection dynamics to inform fisheries management and conservation. I develop pathogen monitoring approaches to mitigate and manage disease in wild and hatchery salmonid fishes. My methods include host susceptibility experiments (field and lab), and molecular assay development for detection of hosts and their parasites.
The Kent Laboratory is focused on two major research areas: diseases of zebrafish in research facilities and impacts of pathogens on wild salmonid fishes. In both areas, we study chronic infectious diseases. Zebrafish make excellent research models but underlying chronic diseases are of concern as they relate to non-protocol induced variation in laboratory fish, as they would with any laboratory animal.
532 Nash Hall
We study the ecology of microbiomes found in diverse natural environments. Our research uses and develops high throughput approaches to investigate the impacts of microbial physiology on global biogeochemical cycles and the health of animal and plant hosts.
448 Nash Hall
Clostridium perfringens have the ability to form metabolically dormant spores that can survive long periods in the environment. Once conditions are favorable, these dormant spores are transformed into metabolically active cells, produce toxins and cause gastrointestinal (GI) diseases in humans and animals. Sarker group conduct research on C. perfringens spores using innovative approaches such as, molecular techniques, genomics and proteomics, to understand its biology and to develop spore inactivation strategy to control C. perfringens mediated GI diseases
Dryden Hall 216