Topics Of Interest

  • Foodborne bacterial community composition and its transitional stages in the cycle of production, packaging, storage, distribution and consumption of different foods
  • Mapping the biogeography of foodborne bacterial communities in crop and animal farms
  • Human gut microbiome and its changes in response to the dietary regimes of interest
  • Toxin production and regulation in model bacteria including Clostridium botulinum
  • Rapid and reliable identification of foodborne microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes of interest
  • Bacterial resistance against antibiotics, sanitizers, disinfectants, heat, cold and pressure
  • Evolution of pathogenicity in foodborne bacteria 

Past, Completed, Ongoing Research Projects

  • Investigating the possible mutagenic effects of manipulating the treatment time, frequency, energy and voltage on a Pulsed Light instrument in the genome of Listeria monocytogenes
  • Evaluating the use of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) in linking contaminated seed to sprout in recent Salmonella outbreaks
  • Characterization of more than 100 Group I and Group II Clostridium botulinum strains with a focus on toxin gene clusters
  • Identifying the genes involved in the regulation of botulinum neurotoxin production, using transcriptomics (RNA-seq) of Clostridium botulinum, investigating the role of growth media, pH and temperature
  • Investigating microbial community composition and characterization of transitional stages of this community in conjunction with the biofilm formation in an industrial setting
  • Investigating the effects of select sanitizers on the structure and composition of microbial community in various industrial and laboratory settings
  • Characterization and comparison of soil microbial communities in Detroit city community gardens
  • Developing a bioinformatic tool to accurately and quickly distinguish the plasmid from chromosomal sequences
  • Developing a pipeline to analyze marker gene amplicon sequencing data automatically and consistently
  • Determining the Hotspots for amino acid variability and toxin type diversity
  • Investigating the fate of large plasmids containing botulinum neuro toxin genes in several Clostridia species
  • Developing a pipeline to simplify and improve phylogenomic analyses


  • Imanian, Behzad, et al. 2022. The power, potential, benefits, and challenges of implementing high-throughput sequencing in food safety systems." npj Science of Food 6.1 (2022): 35.
  • Tian, Renmao; Imanian Behzad. 2022. PlasmidHunter: Accurate and Fast Plasmid Prediction Based on Gene Content Using Machine Learning (under review).
  • Tian, R. Imanian, B. 2022. ASAP 2: A Pipeline and Web Server to Analyze Marker Gene Amplicon Sequencing Data Automatically and Consistently. BMC Bioinformatics (23) 27.
  • Tian, Renmao, Melissa Widel, and Behzad Imanian. 2022. The Light Chain Domain and Especially the C-Terminus of Receptor-Binding Domain of the Botulinum Neurotoxin (BoNT) Are the Hotspots for Amino Acid Variability and Toxin Type Diversity. Genes 13.10: 1915.
  • Smith, T. J., Tian, R.* (co-first author), Imanian, B., Williamson, C. H., Johnson, S. L., Daligault, H. E., & Schill, K. M. 2021. Integration of Complete Plasmids Containing Bont Genes into Chromosomes of Clostridium parabotulinum, Clostridium sporogenes, and Clostridium argentinense. Toxins, 13(7), 473.


Amplicon Sequence Analysis Pipeline (ASAP)
PlasmidHunter, PlasmidHunter
VBCG, Coming soon