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    Institute for
    Food Safety
    and Health

    Illinois Institute of Technology
    Moffett Campus
    6502 South Archer Rd.
    Bedford Park, IL 60501-1957
    (P) 708.563.1576

    Wei Zhang, Ph.D.

    Principle Scientist-Microbiology, Associate Professor in FSN
    Department: IFSH/IIT

    Contact Information

    Institute for Food Safety and Health
    6502 S. Archer Rd, Bedford Park, IL 60501
    Room 233

    Ph: 708-563-2980
    Fax: 708-563-1873

    Division of Biology
    Illinois Institute of Technology
    3101 S. Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60616


    Biographical Profile

    Dr. Zhang is a tenured Associate Professor of Biology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He also holds an Associate Professor position in Food Microbiology at the Institute for Food Safety and Health. His educational background is in the interdisciplinary areas of Food Science and Molecular Microbiology. His research focuses on using genomic tools to better understand the ecology, physiology and pathogenesis of major foodborne bacterial pathogens including shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes. In the past 6 years at IIT, he supervised 7 masters, 5 doctoral students and 1 postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Zhang is the Principle Investigator of >$3.6 million federal grants. He has served as the editorial board member for Food Microbiology, ad hoc reviewer for over 18 scientific journals including Nature Genetics, Genome Research, Trends in Microbiology, etc., and ad hoc panel reviewer for competitive grant programs for the U.S. National Academies, European Union, and the National Science Foundation of China.


    Food Safety, Food Microbiology, Microbial Genomics, Bacterial Stress Response, Foodborne Pathogens, Bacterial Pathogenesis.


    2001-2004 Ph.D., Food Science, Penn State University
    1998-2001 M.S., Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University
    1994-1998 B.S., Food Science, Huazhong Agricultural University

    Research Focus

    Dr. Zhang’s research interests include molecular detection, genotyping, stress response, virulence and pathogenesis of foodborne bacteria. The long-term goal of his research is to better understand the genetic and physiological basis by which bacterial pathogens colonize various environmental niches, survive and grow in foods, transmit to human and cause infectious disease, using cutting-edge bioinformatics and high-throughput genomic approaches.


    1 .  BIOL521 - Microbiology Genetics Laboratory

    2.   BIOL491 - Biology Research Project

    3.   BIOL520 - Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory

    4.   BIOL539 - Advanced Cell Biology Laboratory

    5.   BIOL562 - Current Topics in Functional Genomics

    BIOL591 - Thesis & Research Masters

    7.   BIO597 -  Special Problems

    8.   BIOL691 - Thesis & Research Ph.D.

    9.   FST/FPE 504 - Food Biotechnology

    10. FST591 - Research & Thesis Masters

    11. FST/FPE593 - Seminar on Food Safety and Technology

    12. FST/FPE594 - Special Projects

    Selected Publications

    1. Deng X, Li Z, Zhang W. (2012). Transcriptome sequencing of Salmonella enterica Enteritidis under desiccation and starvation stress in peanut oil. Food Microbiol. 30:311-315.

    2. He Y, Yang J, Guo D, Tortorello ML, Zhang W. (2011). Survival and thermal resistance of Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in peanut butters. Appl Environ Microbiol 77, 8434-8438.

    3. Deng K, Wang S, Rui X, Zhang W, Tortorello ML. (2011). Functional analysis of ycfR and ycfQ in Escherichia coli O157:H7 associated with fresh produce outbreaks. Appl Environ Microbiol. 77, 3952-3959.

    4. Wen J, Deng X, Li Z, Dudley EG, Anantheswaran RC, Knabel SJ, Zhang W. (2011). Transcriptomic response of Listeria monocytogenes during transition to the long-term survival phase. Appl Environ Microbiol. 77,5966-5972.

    5. Wang S, Phillippy AM, Deng K, Rui X, Tortorello ML, Zhang W. (2010). Transcriptomic response of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium and Enteritidis to chlorine-based oxidation. Appl Environ Microbiol, 76, 5013-5024.

    6. Deng X, Phillippy AM, Li Z, Salzberg SL, Zhang W. (2010). Probing the pan genome of Listeria monocytogenes: new insights into intraspecific niche expansion and genomic diversification. BMC Genomics, 11, 500.

    7. Wang S, Deng K, Zaremba S, Deng X, Lin C, Wang Q, Tortorello ML, Zhang W. (2009). Transcriptomic response of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to oxidative stress. Appl Environ Microbiol, 75, 6110-6123.

    8. Phillippy AM, Deng X, Zhang W, Salzberg SL (2009). Efficient oligonucleotide probe selection for pan genomic tiling arrays. BMC Bioinformatics, 10, 293.

    9. Manning SD, Motiwala AS, Springman AC, Qi W, Lacher DW, Ouellette LM, Mladonicky JM, Somsel P, Rudrik JT, Dietrich SE, Zhang W, Swaminathan B, Alland D, Whittam TS (2008). Variation in virulence among clades of Escherichia coli O157:H7 associated with disease outbreaks. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 105, 4868-4873.

    10. Chen Y, Zhang W, Knabel SJ. (2007). Multi-virulence-locus sequence typing identifies single nucleotide polymorphisms which differentiate epidemic clones and outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes. J Clin Microbiol, 45, 835-846.

    11. Zhang W, Qi W, Albert TJ, Motiwala AS, Alland D, Hyytia-Trees EK, Ribot EM, Fields PI, Whittam TS, Swaminathan B. (2006). Probing genomic diversity and evolution of Escherichia coli O157:H7 by single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Genome Res, 16, 757-767.


    1. Zhang W, Wade J, Dudley EG. (2011). Chapter 10. Genomic and transcriptomic analysis of foodborne bacterial pathogens. P.311-342. In: Wiedmann M, Zhang W (eds) Genomics of Foodborne Bacterial Pathogens. Springer, New York, USA. ISBN 978-4419-7685-7, Hardcover.

    2. Swaminathan B, Cabanes D, Zhang W, Cossart P. (2007). Listeria monocytogenes. P457-491. In: Doyle, M.P. Bauchat, L.R. & Montville, T.J. (ed.), Food Microbiology: Fundamentals and Frontiers, 3 ed. ASM Press, Washington DC.


    Last modified: 01/15/2015 10:11:37

    Institute for Food Safety and Health | Illinois Institute of Technology | Moffett Campus
    6502 South Archer Rd. Bedford Park, IL 60501-1957 (P) 708.563.1576