Graduate Students

The following students work under the advisement of STEC CAP collaborators to earn their graduate degrees. Their research is focused on and supported by STEC CAP funding.

Objective 1: Detection

Baumann

Nicholas W.L. Baumann

Major Professor: Randall K. Phebus, Kansas State University

Nicholas Baumann is from Troy, KS and is in his final semester of his Master’s Degree in Food Science with a microbiology focus. After graduation he plans on finding work in the industry with a food processing company.

Research Objectives:

  1. Effects of Enrichment Media on Growth Characteristics of Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia coli.
  2. Identifying Suitable Transport Media for Use With Top 7 STEC.

To read more about Nicholas's research objectives, download his full biography and contact information here.

Noll

Lance W. Noll

Major Professor: T. G. Nagaraja, Kansas State University

Lance Noll is from Greensburg, KS and is in the last semester of his master’s degree in veterinary biomedical science. Lance plans to finish his master’s degree and stay at Kansas State under Dr. Nagaraja for his Ph.D. Following his schooling, Lance plans to find a role in academia as a professor of microbiology.

Research Objectives:

  1. A Four Plex Real-Time PCR Assay for the Detection and Quantification of Escherichia coli O157 in Cattle Feces.
  2. Evaluation of chromID EHEC Agar for Detection of Seven Major Serogroups of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) from Cattle Feces.
  3. Pooling of Immunomagnetic Separation Beads Does Not Affect Sensitivity of Detection of Six Serogroups of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in Cattle Feces.
  4. A Comparison of Culture- and PCR-Based Methods to Detect Seven Major Serogroups of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in Cattle Feces.
  5. Concentration of Escherichia coli O157 in Cattle feces: An Overview of Significance and Quantification Methods.

To read more about Lance's research objectives and his awards and accomplishments, download his full biography and contact information here.

Shridhar

Pragathi B. Shridhar

Major Professor: Jianfa Bai, Kansas State University

Pragathi received her Doctor of veterinary medicine and Master of Veterinary Science at Veterinary College, Bangalore, India. She is presently doing her Ph. D in Pathobiology. Her primary research interests are developing methods for detection and quantification of non-O157 E. coli, and characterization of non-O157 E. coli in cattle feces.

Research Objectives:

  1. Detection, quantification and characterization of non-O157 E. coli in cattle feces.

To read more about Pragathi's awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Objective 2: STEC Biology

Cull

Charley A. Cull

Major Professor: David G. Renter, Kansas State University

Dr. Charley Cull, a native of Oakland, NE, is collaborating with Drs. David Renter and Natalia Cernicchiaro to estimate the feedlot- and pen-level variability of STEC-7 fecal prevalence in pre-harvest commercial feedlot cattle. Dr. Cull is a graduate of Kansas State University (B.S., 2012; D.V.M., 2014) and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology with an emphasis in Epidemiology.

Research Objectives:

  1. Feedlot- and pen-level prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in feces of commercial feedlot cattle in two major cattle feeding states.

To read more about Charley's research objectives, publications, and his awards and accomplishments, download his full biography and contact information here.

Puri Giri

Rukmini Puri Giri

Major Professor: Ludek Zurek, Kansas State University

Rukmini Puri Giri is from Pokhara, Nepal and is currently in the 3rd semester of her master’s degree in entomology. Rukmini plans to finish her master’s degree in summer of 2015. She looks forward to working in a research position after her graduation.

Research Objectives:

  1. Role of house flies in the ecology of STEC in beef cattle environment.

To read more about Rukmini's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Schneider

Liesel Schneider

Major Professor: David Smith, Mississippi State University, College of Veterinary Medicine

Liesel is a DVM/PhD dual program student currently pursuing her PhD in veterinary epidemiology. She graduated from Mississippi State University in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences. Following graduation, Liesel began working with Dr. Smith analyzing data from previous E. coli O157:H7 studies and became interested in the STEC CAP project. Liesel plans to pursue a career in academia following completion of the dual program in 2021.

Research Objectives:

  1. Prevalence of Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli on hides of market beef cows at harvest.
  2. Effects of dietary fiber and distiller’s grain concentration on Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli shedding in feedlot cattle.

To read more about Liesel's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here. Liesel also works on Objective 3.

Objective 3: Antimicrobial Interventions for Beef

Arnold

Nicole L. Arnold

Major Professor: Dr. Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University

Nicole Arnold completed her B.S. degree in Food Science-Technology at North Carolina State University in May 2014 and is currently a second year master’s student majoring in Food Science. Her research involves risk communication of mechanically tenderized and enhanced beef products. Following graduation, she plans to begin a PhD program in Food Science, involving food safety research efforts.

Research Objectives:

  1. Prevalence of mechanical tenderization and enhancement of beef products at small-scale meat markets.
  2. Evaluation of risk and prevalence of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in marinades used by small-scale meat markets.
  3. Evaluation of cleaning and sanitation practices for equipment used to mechanically tenderize and enhance beef products. 

To read more about Nicole's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Britwum

Kofi Britwum

Major Professor: Amalia Yiannaka, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Kofi is a second year PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has previously studied at the University of Delaware in Newark and at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. His research work focuses on consumer behavior and preferences for novel foods. He has presented some of his work at conferences organized by the North-Eastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Research Objectives:

  1. Consumer willingness to pay for interventions that reduce E. coli spread in beef.

To read more about Kofi's research objectives, download his full biography and contact information here.

Curran

Kassie Curran

Major Professor: Sean Fox, Kansas State University

Kassie is from Farlington, Kansas. She completed her B.S. degree in Food Science at Kansas State University in December 2013, and is currently pursuing her M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics. Her research has included work on the economic impacts of food safety recalls and consumer perceptions of food technologies including genetic modification, animal cloning, and food safety treatments.

Research Objectives:

  1. Assess energy, water and net economic impacts and feasibility analyses of the interventions.

To read more about Kassie's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Hudson

Jessica Hudson

Major Professor: Alejandro Castillo, Texas A&M University

Jessica Hudson is from Houston, TX and is finishing her first year of her master’s program at Texas A&M, where she also completed her BS in Food Science and Technology. Jessica’s master’s degree is in Food Science and Technology, and her research is focused on food safety and microbiology. After completing her graduate program, she plans to utilize her food safety background in the food industry.

Research Objectives:

  1. Factors testing the effectiveness of beef carcass lactic acid interventions to reduce STEC8: Effect of lactic acid brand, beef surface temperature, and the use of a neutralizer.
  2. Comparison of the reduction of STEC8 with handheld Electrostatic Spraying System (ESS) versus conventional hand pump spray in the application of antimicrobials on chilled outside rounds.

To read more about Jessica's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Kirsch

Katie R. Kirsch

Major Professor: Alejandro Castillo & Matthew Taylor, Texas A&M University

Katie Kirsch, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, received her bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Houston. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree in Food Science and Technology at Texas A&M University. Following graduation, Katie hopes to secure a challenging position that promotes food safety, security, and sustainability.

Research Objectives:

  1. In Vitro Evaluation of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Growth Rates.
  2. Effects of Chilling and Post-Inoculation Storage Temperature on the Attachment of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli to Beef Surfaces.
  3. Validation of Electrostatic and Conventional Spray Applications of Lactic Acid Bacteria as Antimicrobial Interventions against Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli on Beef Surfaces.

To read more about Katie's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Lee

JiYong Lee

Major Professor: Sean Fox, Kansas State University

JiYong Lee is from South Korea and is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. His research area centers on issues in experimental economics and consumer valuation for food safety-guaranteed products.

Research Objectives:

  1. Consumer valuation for safety-guaranteed ground beef product.

To read more about JiYong's research objectives and publications, download his full biography and contact information here.

Li

Shaobin Li

Major Professor: Jeyam Subbiah & Bruce Dvorak, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Shaobin Li came from China in Fall 2014, and is pursuing his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering with wastewater treatment and environmental sustainability. Shaobin Li plans to finish his Ph.D. and finds a role in industry as an Environmental Engineer.

Research Objectives:

  1. Evaluate baseline data from Nebraska Beef Processing Plants in terms of water use, energy use and wastewater production the impact of the environmental impacts of various food safety intervention technologies.

To read more about Shaobin's research objectives, download his full biography and contact information here.

Pozo

Veronica Pozo, Assistant Professor, Utah State University

Major Professor: Ted C. Schroeder, Kansas State University

Veronica F. Pozo is from Ecuador and completed her Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University in August 2014. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the economics of food safety. More specifically, she evaluated the economic impact of meat and poultry recalls on the market value of firms. Veronica is currently an assistant professor at Utah State University and her research agenda includes studies related to food safety.

Research Objectives:

  1. Effects of Meat and Poultry Recalls on Firms’ Stock Prices.

To read more about Veronica's research objectives, download her full biography and contact information here.

Schneider

Liesel Schneider

Major Professor: David Smith, Mississippi State University, College of Veterinary Medicine

Liesel is a DVM/PhD dual program student currently pursuing her PhD in veterinary epidemiology. She graduated from Mississippi State University in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal and Dairy Sciences. Following graduation, Liesel began working with Dr. Smith analyzing data from previous E. coli O157:H7 studies and became interested in the STEC CAP project. Liesel plans to pursue a career in academia following completion of the dual program in 2021.

Research Objectives:

  1. Prevalence of Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli on hides of market beef cows at harvest.
  2. Effects of dietary fiber and distiller’s grain concentration on Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli shedding in feedlot cattle.

To read more about Liesel's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here. Liesel also works on Objective 2.

Schwan

Carla L. Schwan

Major Professor: Randall K. Phebus, Kansas State University

Carla Schwan is from Campina das Missões, RS - Brazil and is in the second semester of her master’s degree in food science, with an emphasis on food safety and food defense. Carla plans to finish her master’s degree and pursue her PhD at Kansas State under Dr. Phebus. Following her schooling, Carla plans to find a role either in academia or as a food safety specialist in the food industry.

Research Objectives:

  1. Characterizing Differences in Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC) Attachment to Pre-Rigor and Chilled Beef Carcass Surfaces.

To read more about Carla's research objectives, download her full biography and contact information here.

Sevart

Nicholas J. Sevart

Major Professor: Randall K. Phebus, Kansas State University

Nick Sevart is from Wichita, KS and is a Ph.D. candidate in food science, with an emphasis on food safety and food defense. Following his schooling, Nick plans to find a role in academia as a professor of food safety.

Research Objectives:

  1. Electrostatic Spray Cabinet Evaluation to Verify Uniform Delivery of Chemical and Biological Solutions to Meat Animal Carcasses.
  2. Electrostatic Spray Cabinet Validation of Two USDA-Approved Antimicrobial Sprays for Reducing Surrogate Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli on Beef Trim Within an Industry Level Meat Processing Plant.
  3. Evaluating the Efficacy of Three USDA-Approved Antimicrobial Sprays for Reducing Surrogate Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli on Bob Veal Carcasses.
  4. Evaluating the Efficacy of an In-Bag Lauric Arginate Application Followed by a Post-Chill Peroxyacetic Acid Spray for Reducing Levels of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli on Vacuum-Packaged Beef Subprimals.

To read more about Nick's research objectives and awards, download his full biography and contact information here.

Tolen

Tamra N. Tolen

Major Professor: Matthew Taylor, Texas A&M University

Tamra N. Tolen, student at Texas A&M University and native of Sugar Land, Texas, is collaborating with Dr. Matthew Taylor on bacteriophage biocontrol of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli on beef carcass surfaces. Tamra states “my interest in food safety started to pick up speed while conducting research for my M.S. degree. Identifying a proposed method of control against a known pathogen of concern in food products has allowed me to gain so much knowledge in food safety research. I feel that research and validation of products that would aid in food safety is integral in food safety and the development of treatments to food commodities that reduce pathogens that would cause harm to consumers.”

Research Objectives:

  1. Bacteriophage biocontrol of Shiga Toxin Producing E. coli spp. on beef carcass surfaces.

To read more about Tamra's research objectives, publications, and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Wilder

Amanda Wilder

Major Professor: Randall K. Phebus, Kansas State University

Amanda Wilder is a native of Meridian, Idaho and is beginning a Master’s Degree program focusing on food safety and defense with Dr. Phebus. Amanda recently graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Food Science from the University of Idaho and plans to pursue a career in the American meat industry as a food safety thought leader following completion at Kansas State University.

Research Objectives: pending

To read more about Amanda's research objectives and her awards and accomplishments, download her full biography and contact information here.

Zeleny

Tucker Zeleny

Major Professor: David Marx, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tucker Zeleny is a PhD student from Carleton, Nebraska. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010 before joining the Statistics Department. He completed his master’s degree in Statistics in 2012. Currently, he is working on his dissertation and plans to graduate in May of 2015. Tucker also works with the Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory and the Nebraska Athletic Department on sports analytics.

Research Objectives:

  1. A New Approach to Modeling Multivariate Time Series on Multiple Temporal Scales.

To read more about Tucker's research objectives, download his full biography and contact information here.

Ziara

Rami Ziara

Major Professor: Jeyam Subbiah & Bruce Dvorak, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Rami Ziara is a Fulbright student from Gaza, Palestine. He is currently in his third semester in the Environmental Engineering master’s program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Rami is planning to work on a PhD in Environmental Engineering after his master’s degree. After his PhD, Rami is planning to work in the engineering consulting field as an Environmental Engineer.

Research Objectives:

  1. Water and energy uses of microbial intervention technologies in beef packing plants.
  2. Water usage and wastewater production of packing plants.
  3. Beef packing plants environmental sustainability.

To read more about Rami's research objectives, download his full biography and contact information here.

Objective 4: Risk Analysis and Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment

Ekong

Pius S. Ekong

Major Professor: Michael W. Sanderson

Pius Ekong holds a DVM from Ibadan, Nigeria, a master’s degree from Antwerp, Belgium and MPVM from Davis, California, USA. He is currently studying for his PhD in Food Safety, Risk Analysis and Epidemiology at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS. Pius' research interests lie in the investigation and control of health related issues at the livestock – wildlife – human interface using epidemiological and risk modeling tools.

Research Objectives:

  1. Risk assessment of targeted serotypes of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in the beef production chain.

To read more about Pius's research objectives, download his full biography and contact information here.

Phetxumphou

Katherine Phetxumphou

Major Professor: Dr. Daniel Gallagher, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Katherine Phetxumphou is currently a second year PhD student in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She completed her B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia and her M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her master’s work focused on reactivity of nanomaterials in artificial and human saliva and consumer perception of taste and odor issues in drinking water. Her current work includes the crude MCHM spill in WV and this project, particularly E. coli dose response modeling and consumer/retail behavior.

Research Objectives:

  1. Complete a meta-analysis for dose-response modeling and consumer/retail behavior.

To read more about Katherines's research objectives and awards, download her full biography and contact information here.

Zhilyaev

Samson Zhilyaev

Major Professor: Daniel Gallagher, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Samson Zhilyaev is a master’s student at Virginia Tech studying in the Environmental Department. His current research revolves around modeling the E. coli concentrations throughout the beef industry. Samson completed his undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His undergraduate research was primarily focused with modeling climate change and evaluating the robustness of the Colorado Springs Utility. He hopes to complete his Ph.D after his master’s work.

Research Objectives:

  1. Evaluating the Concentrations of E. Coli O157:H7 from Farm to Fork.

To read more about Samson's research objectives and awards, download his full biography and contact information here.

Objective 5: STEC Risk Management and Education

McKendree

Buddy McKendree

Major Professor: Jason D. Ellis, Kansas State University

Buddy McKendree is from Dade City, Florida and is a second year master’s student in agricultural education. Buddy plans to finish his master’s degree and go back to teaching high school agriculture for a few years before ultimately pursuing a PhD and finding a role in academia as a professor of agricultural education.

Research Objectives:

  1. Food and Nutrition Sciences Curriculum.
  2. Food and Nutrition Sciences, Beef –it’s what’s for dinner.

To read more about Buddy's research objectives, download his full biography and contact information here.