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
Rachel is a second year Master’s student from Illinois. She earned her B.S. in Medical Laboratory Sciences with a Biological Sciences minor from Northern Illinois University.
She is currently working on developing and validating an aggregative sampling method for leafy green pathogen testing in commercial fields using microbial community profiling. Her research goal is to improve preharvest sampling to reduce foodborne illnesses.
She enjoys travelling and watching The Office.
Asha is a visiting scholar from Kenya, First year PhD student in Plant Pathology at the University of Nairobi (UoN). She holds an MSc in Microbiology and BSc in Microbiology & Biotechnology (U.O.N)
Project: Prevalence of mycotoxigenic fungi and efficacy of multi-spectral kernel sorting and irradiation techniques in management of mycotoxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in maize
Asha enjoys swimming, watching soap operas and listening to Bollywood music