Our work is focused on two major areas: the development of improved methods for the rapid detection and characterization of bacterial pathogens, and novel antimicrobial approaches for the control of food pathogens or spoilage organisms.
Technology platforms for the detection work include flow cytometry and other single cell analytical methods. A recurring theme in our detection work is pre-analytical sample preparation – the often-neglected processing steps needed to get from a raw sample to the final answer.
Key tools used in our antimicrobial work include natural antimicrobial compounds, including plant essential oils, and synthetic biomimetic antimicrobial polymers or small molecules. An underlying theme of our antimicrobial work is enhancement – approaches for boosting antimicrobial potency through additive or synergistic interactions among system components.
Although our primary focus is on foods, the solutions and technologies developed in our lab may also find ready application in allied areas, such as detection of specific microbes in clinical/biomedical or environmental settings, or development of new decontaminant systems for civilian or military biodefense use and development of new clinical therapeutics for disease intervention and control.