Ruben A. Chavez Viteri

Ruben is Postdoctoral Researcher from Ecuador. He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from The University of Tampa.

He is currently developing a Near Infrared Red/ Visible Light/ Ultraviolet light spectrometer to detect aflatoxin and fumonisin in corn. His research goal is to create a sorting platform with a spectrometer capable of removing mycotoxin contaminated corn kernels and minimize food waste while improving food security.

He loves to practice sports, especially soccer, and play videogames with his friends. He is a food lover, and in his leisure, he likes to improve his culinary skills.

Jorge Quintanilla

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! 

Cristina Resendiz-Moctezuma

Cristina is a second-year PhD student from Mexico. She earned her B.S. in Food Science from the Autonomous University of Queretaro. She first came to the lab for a summer internship in 2018, then started her grad school journey in Fall 2019.

She uses a high-throughput system to test the effectiveness of novel antimicrobials, such as essential oils, against Listeria monocytogenes on deli-ham. She also focuses her research on understanding the action mechanisms of these compounds using RNA-seq.

She enjoys cooking and watching series (Especially, Grey’s Anatomy on repeat).

Gustavo A. Reyes

Gustavo is a fourth-year PhD Student from Honduras. He earned his B.S in Food Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2017, then worked as a FS and QA specialist for two years, subsequently starting his graduate school journey in Fall 2019

He has previously worked on developing a QMRA (Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment) for share tables in school cafeterias to predict the risk for norovirus cross-contamination on apples.

He is currently working on developing farm-to-consumer process models for leafy green and tomatoes. The goal of these process models is to assess the relative efficacy of conducting product testing at different process stages.

His hobbies are playing basketball, eating good food, trying and out new things like golf.

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Tina Wu

Tina is a first-year PhD student from China. She earned her B.E. in Food Science and Engineering from Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University and M.S. in Food Science and Technology from National University of Singapore.

She is currently working on developing aggregative sampling for preharvest food safety testing. She also participates in research about building a field-to-facility generic supply chain model of produce safety testing.

She enjoys travelling, skiing, and cooking.

Minho Kim

Minho is a first-year Ph.D. student from South Korea. He earned B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Chung-ang University and an M.S. in Food Science and Technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He is currently working on simulating dairy powder products to improve food safety sampling plans. His research goal is to provide industry stakeholders with an open-source app to evaluate existing and candidate plans.

He likes outdoor activities, including playing tennis, hiking, and biking.

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Hui-Erh Chai

Angela is a second-year PhD student from Taiwan. She earned her B.S. in Food Science with Biotechnology Division from National Taiwan Ocean University and M.S. in Food Science and Technology from National Taiwan University.

She is currently working on artificial intelligence for food system to optimize tomato supply chain. Also, she is working on development of predictive models for elucidating the growth and survival of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC), Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes, in hybrid and plant-based meat products that may be subjected to temperature abuse in the supply chain.

She is an active and outgoing person. She currently serves as Treasurer for Dancing Illini and enjoys most outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, swimming, and dancing.

Paola Corea Ventura

Paola is a first-year Master´s student from El Salvador. She earned her B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Zamorano University in Honduras. She first came to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for an internship in 2021 in Dr. Jaume Amengual´s lab and worked on an animal model for HIV and on an Atherosclerosis regression project. She is now pursuing her M.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition in Dr. Stasiewicz´s lab.  

She is currently working on a milk spoilage project for K-12 schools to understand how, if at all, the rate of milk spoilage changes as an effect of being exposed to different temperature conditions, and the length of time spent in these conditions. She is also working on testing antimicrobial effectiveness against Salmonella on pork meat.  

She enjoys doing yoga, watching comedy movies, and spending time with her friends. 

Gabby Pinto

Gabby is a first-year PhD student from Illinois. She earned her B.S. in Food Science with a Microbiology Minor from Penn State University.

She is currently working on writing a hazard analysis for share tables in school cafeterias.

She enjoys training for marathons and traveling to new places (sometimes, to run marathons)! She also enjoys trying new places to eat.

Eleanore Hansen

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.”