Elea was an undergraduate research assistant in the lab during her junior and senior years in the food science program. She performed DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis to support AJ Taylor’s work in detecting Listeria monocytogenes persistence. Elea also helped Shannon Rezac test combinations of antimicrobials against L. monocytogenes in a miniature ham model.
After completing her BS in Food Science and Chemistry at UIUC, Elea went to the University of Minnesota for a master’s program in Food Science with an emphasis on food safety and microbiology. She is currently working to isolate novel bacteriophage from wastewater to combat Salmonella in foods. In Fall 2021, Elea is planning to begin a PhD program at the University of Minnesota in Regulatory Toxicology.
Elea enjoys eating (a lot), listening to true crime stories, yarn crafting, and reading about food safety scandals.”
Yawei worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Stasiewicz’s lab in Spring 2019. She helped with the literature review to collect useful information for developing QMRA for share tables in the school cafeteria. She also helped with mycotoxin detection in wheat kernels.
She is now a M.S student in food safety at Michigan State University, working on microbial assessment during wheat tempering and determine the effectiveness of heat pasteurization during processing.
A.J’s project was focused on understanding two possible facets for detecting persistence in the foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes. He looked at detection methods through either using bioinformatic tools or by growth responses to various biochemical energy sources. While he was unable to find conclusive detection methods, it narrowed down methods for future researchers in detecting persistent L. monocytogenes.
After completing his Master’s in Food Science with Dr. Stasiewicz, he moved onto a Ph.D. program in Food Science with Dr. Nicki Engeseth at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and now he is working on understanding the parameters that influence cacao bean fermentation to make chocolate.
He is a 5th year PhD student. He earned his B.S. in Food Science from Rutgers University and a B.E. in Food Science and Engineering from South China University of Technology.
He is currently working on building Monte Carlo simulation models to investigate bulk sampling in produce fields or grain bins with the goal of improving sampling effectiveness. He also participates in research that utilizes UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy and machine learning to rapidly classify contaminated corn kernels.
He loves eating seafood and avian species, likes traveling to places with beaches, oceans, and lots of sunshine, and owns a cat.
Ruben Verghese is a third year Bio-engineering student specializing in Computational & Systems Biology.
He is currently working on the graphical user interface for a 1D sampling simulation for visualizing and analyzing powdered milk sampling.
He enjoys listening to jazz, going on hikes, and video games.
Links: Github, LinkedIn
Jorge is a third year PhD Student from El Salvador. He earned his B.S. in Food Science from Zamorano University in Honduras. He initially became a member of the lab as an intern in spring 2018 and officially became a graduate student the following Spring 2019.
Jorge is currently working on the validation of a larger simulation project built to develop better sampling plans in produce fields using data from experimental field trials, representative commercial field’s parameters, and literature plans.
He enjoys playing basketball, swimming, and being in the nature. His favorite animals are horses and cows. He loves trying new foods!
Gustavo is a third year PhD Student from Honduras. He earned his B.S in Food Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
He is currently working on developing a QMRA (Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment) for share tables in school cafeterias. He also participates in research that validates sampling procedures in produce fields.
He enjoys playing and watching basketball, playing video games, eating all sorts of food.