Microbiologist Honored by Research
Agency By Jim
February 12, 2003
BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12Vijay K. Juneja, a
supervisory microbiologist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), has been named the North
Atlantic Area Senior Research Scientist of 2002 for the agency. ARS is
the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief
scientific research agency.
Juneja, based at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, Pa., is being honored
for pioneering research into the microbiological effects that occur during food
processing. His work in ERRCs Microbial Food Safety Research Unit
helps industries and regulatory agencies ensure the safety of foods.
ARS North Atlantic Area includes Pennsylvania,
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
York, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and part of Maryland.
Juneja is internationally recognized in the field of food safety
for his research in defining the required heat treatment and safe cooling rates
for cooked meats to inactivate food-borne pathogens. He helped the meat
industry establish standards to validate a safe process for cooking hamburger
with a device he co-designed to monitor the temperature of hamburgers during
cooking. They showed that Escherichia coli O157:H7 can be eliminated if
the temperature of the coldest spot in the hamburger is monitored and the
burger is cooked adequately.
He led a team that established the cellular basis of heat
resistance of emerging pathogens. The team discovered that food preservation
factors used to guard against pathogens may in fact stress the pathogens and
render them more resistant to subsequent heat treatments. The food industry has
responded to his research teams findings by identifying potential new
approaches for the safe production of foods processed with milder preservation
Dr. Juneja has maintained an innovative and highly
productive research program, said Edward B. Knipling, ARS acting
administrator. His research has had significant impact in protecting
consumers from the risk of food-borne illness.
Knipling will present a plaque to Juneja during a 1 p.m.
ceremony today at the agencys Henry A. Wallace
Beltsville (Md.) Agricultural Research
Juneja has worked for ARS since 1991. Among his many awards, he
was named ARS Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist of the
Year in 1998.
He is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists and the
American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He is an associate editor
of the Journal of Food Sciences and has served on the Journal of Food
Protections Board of Editors since 1994. Juneja has authored 167
publications and edited four books.
A native of India, Juneja earned a degree in veterinary medicine
from the Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in
Pantnagar, India. He received a master of science in animal science and his
Ph.D. in food technology and science from the University of
He and his wife Poonam live in North Wales, Pa., with their
daughter Komal, 14, and son Nikhil, 9.