Poultry Health, Microbiology and Food Safety



Faculty in this area are focused on high-impact research programs related to health, animal well-being, food safety and reducing the environmental and economic impact of diseases.  Intense activity include research focus on several critical areas, including sustainable alternatives to antibiotics, high specificity and high throughput disease diagnostics, nutritional amelioration, microbiome enhancement and post-harvest mitigation of food-borne pathogen transmission.  


Poultry Health, Microbiology and Food Safety Researchers:

  • Guillermo Tellez - Research Professor: poultry health and ante mortem food safety intervention with interests in poultry immunology and gut health. Most notably probiotics and their relationship to performance and wellbeing of poultry to provide the industry with a means to reduce its dependence on antibiotic growth promoters
  • Xiaolun (Jack) Sun - Host-Microbe Interactions in the Gut: dynamic interaction between host molecular signaling, cellular events and the microbiome on gastrointestinal homeostasis as well as the initiation and resolution of intestinal diseases
  • Douglas Rhoads - University Professor of Biological Sciences: genomic analyses, gene mapping, breeding and management strategies to reduce metabolic diseases in broilers. Current focus is on pulmonary hypertension leading to ascites and bacterial infections leading to lameness
  • John Marcy - Professor and Extension Poultry Processing Specialist: coordinates educational opportunities in the poultry industry for microbial improvement/safety in poultry products and processing, and conducts research in poultry processing and meat science
  • Adnan Alrubaye - Poultry Microbiologist: epidemiology, transmission, and prevention of bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO) lameness in broiler chickens. Identifies feed additives that can help improve gut health, minimize bacterial translocation and reduce the incidence of BCO lameness in broilers
  • Dustan Clark - Extension Program Leader and Extension Veterinarian: infectious poultry diseases, disease prevention and diagnostic medicine. Extension efforts are biosecurity and disease recognition
  • Annie Donoghue - Research Leader USDA/ARS Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit: development of alternatives to antibiotics and pathogen reduction. Works with sustainable and organic production systems
  • Billy Hargis - Director, Poultry Health Lab and Veterinarian: health and well-being of poultry through improved understanding of disease resistance mechanisms and alternative means for treatment and protection. Areas include infectious and non-infectious disease problems affecting performance, as well as areas relating to food safety and quality
  • Palmy Jesudhasan - Research Microbiologist: develops vaccines to control foodborne and poultry pathogens. Identifies novel immune factors in chickens using molecular approaches
  • Young Min Kwon - Microbiologist: genetic analysis of bacterial pathogens important in poultry
  • Yanbin Li - Food Safety/Food Processing: food processing and engineering. Current research includes biosensors-based rapid detection methods, microbial predictive modeling and quantitative risk assessment, and antimicrobial intervention technologies for food safety and quality
  • Josh Lyte - Research Microbiologist - Antibiotic Alternatives and Gut-Brain-Microbiome Interactions: interface of the microbiome with the neurophysiological system and how stress encountered during production influences the emergence of enteric foodborne pathogens. Understanding the pathways involved will lead to new ways to reduce the prevalence and burden of enteric pathogens. Related areas under study in an effort to discover new pathogen reduction strategies include the microbiota-gut-brain and microbiota-gut-lung axes