Food Safety

Name Research Email
David Baumler

The central focus of his research group consists of four core areas that use systems biology and food microbiology methods to:

  1. Study infectious disease of numerous foodborne pathogens and also beneficial microbial flora during interactions with hosts through a combination of experimental and computational methods using genome-scale metabolic models. 
  2. Study the fermentation processes of yeast and microorganisms used in the food/beverage industry.
  3. Characterize flavor profiles and antimicrobial properties of chili peppers for use in the food industry and in many fermented items such as cheese, meats, and beverages.
  4. Infer metabolism of ancient/ancestral microorganisms through a new field he started called “Paleo Systems Biology”.
Steven Bowden
Chi Chen

Chen conducts mechanistic investigations on the metabolic changes induced by dietary, chemical, microbial, and pathophysiological challenges through a combination of mass spectrometry-based untargeted metabolomics and targeted metabolite analysis, stable isotope tracing, in vitro biochemical analysis, animal model, and human intervention treatment. Untargeted global metabolite profiling and targeted metabolite analysis in the lab cover both endogenous metabolites (lipids, amino acids, organic acids, aldehydes, ketones, and microbial metabolites) and exogenous metabolites (phytochemicals, pharmaceuticals, carcinogens, and their metabolites) in biofluids, wastes, tissue and cell extracts.
Joellen Feirtag
  • Food safety
  • Food processing
  • Food microbiology
  • Hazard analysis
Theodore P. Labuza

Labuza is known internationally as one of the top experts on kinetics of reactions related to loss in food quality, nutrient degradation and pathogen growth and death kinetics. 

He is also well known for his teaching, working with and mentoring Ph.D. students, post-docs and visiting scientists. He has helped over 48 mentees gain faculty positions around the world, most of whom (if not retired) are doing research on reaction kinetics. 

In 2002, ISI cited Labuza as one of six researchers as the "Most Highly Cited Scientists" in the Agriculture and Food Science area, based on an evaluation of the past 20 years. He is the author or co-author of over 289 scientific refereed research articles, 18 textbooks, 78 book chapters, eight patents and more than 100 other semi-technical articles. He has 14 refereed research papers, books or chapters and reviews that have now been cited more than 200 times in other research papers or books, two at over 600 times and six others between 300-400 times, another five between 200-300 times and 30 more between 100-200.  His research group has published an average of 10 research papers a year since 2010, including work in the Journal of Food Science, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Chemical Sciences, Analyst, Journal of the Royal Chemical Society (UK), Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, Food Chemistry (UK), Journal of Food Protection and Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 

His research over the past seven years has been supported by grants from the Department of Homeland Security through the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, as US Center of Excellence a the University of Minnesota, as well as grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Additionally, he has received grants from the American Egg Board, Almond Board of California, Dairy Research Inc., and the Minnesota Beef Council.
Tonya C. Schoenfuss

The Schoenfuss lab research areas focus on dairy product chemistry and functionality, and how the formula and manufacturing process affects natural and process cheeses, fermented milks, and other dairy ingredients.