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The Burton-Freeman Lab

Professor Britt Burton-Freeman’s research program focuses on the relationship between diet and risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Human clinical trials and complementary research approaches integrate nutrition, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and behavioral sciences to characterize and understand physiological responses to plant foods, their bioactive components, and novel ingredients during normal, stressed, and pathophysiological states. Recent work has investigated the reciprocal interactions of the gut metagenome with the host genome in response to dietary input. Metabolites generated and their kinetic behavior relevant to mechanisms of action and associated cardio-metabolic health status are among the topics studied. Appetite regulation, consumer choice, body weight control, and neuroendocrine modulation in response to diet are other topics of concern.

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The Grasso-Kelley Lab

The Grasso-Kelley Lab evaluates the effects of product characteristics and processing/storage conditions on the resistance and persistence of pathogens in low water activity foods and environments to minimize the effect on public health. The lab’s NSF current research mission is to understand and enhance the effects of current processing technologies on the mitigation of pathogens in a variety of low moisture food products and processing environments.

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The Wan Lab

Professor Jason Wan's research focus includes food processing microbiology of emerging nonthermal technologies (i.e. high-pressure processing), pulsed electric field, ultrasound, UV, and cool plasma for microbial inactivation, shelf-life extension, and food safety enhancement. Wan’s expertise also includes molecular microbiology and the development of DNA-based methods for detection, differentiation, and tracking of foodborne pathogens in food systems and the environment; dairy processing; protein chemistry; and the development and evaluation of bioactive dairy ingredients for functional food applications.

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The Deng Lab

The Deng Lab identifies and validates control strategies to minimize contamination of foodborne pathogens, especially on fresh produce. We use techniques from microbiology, molecular biology, and food processing in our studies, which generate information for the food industry to implement in Food and Drug Administration requirements and to facilitate regulatory agencies in food safety investigations.

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The Imanian Lab

We share our planet with all living things—including microbes and their communities—that surround us and live in our environment, even on and inside us. Their resilience, diversity, and significance are all fascinating, and it is not an overstatement that we, as human beings, cannot live without them. Scientists have been aware of and believe in this undeniable fact, and new findings have only reinforced this belief. In our lab, we are interested on using cutting-edge high-throughput sequencing technology to catalogue and characterize these microbes and their communities. We would like to learn about the critical roles they play in our daily lives and for all life on this planet. Currently, our research has focused on the foodborne microbes that include toxin-producing species, pathogens, and spoilage organisms, as well as the microbial communities that inhabit the human gut and those that thrive and evolve in our environment.

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The Edirisinghe Lab

Associate Professor Indika Edirisinghe has a broad background in nutritional science, with specific expertise in clinical nutrition, cardiovascular biology, and molecular nutrition. His research focuses on dietary intervention strategies to modulate pathophysiological conditions resulting from metabolic dysregulations such as in obesity, overweight, and insulin-resistant conditions to thereby reduce future chronic disease risks. His research approach includes human intervention trails and cell culture models exploring mechanisms of action at the cellular and gene expression level.

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The Sandhu Lab

Assistant Professor Aman Sandhu’s research aims to investigate the health benefits of plant bioactive components (polyphenols) in clinically relevant conditions, with strong emphasis on understanding the absorption, metabolism, and bioavailability of these components. She is also investigating how these bioactive components can modulate gut microbiota and provide protection against inflammation. This research approach includes identification and quantification of various compounds and metabolites in food and biological fluids using HPLC mass spectrometry, method development, validation, and by establishing the pharmacokinetic parameters of various metabolites. Her research is funded by United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, food industry, and different commodity groups.

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The Krishnamurthy Lab

Clinical Assistant Professor Kathiravan Krishnamurthy’s lab investigates the applications of novel food processing technologies—such as pulsed-light processing, UV-light, high-pressure processing, ultrasound, cold plasma, and microwave heating—for sterilization, pasteurization, and/or value addition. In addition, the lab focuses on validation, heat transfer, and modeling/simulation.

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The Zhang Lab

Professor Wei 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.