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1890 Partnerships - Nutrition Food Safety and Quality
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The following is a list of ARS scientists in Nutrition, Food Safety, and Quality research who are interested in hosting 1890 faculty members in their labs through the 1890 Faculty Research Sabbatical Program. This page will be updated on a rolling basis – please come back to visit again!

John Beaulieu (New Orleans, Louisiana)

John.beaulieu@usda.gov; 504-286-4471

Researcher’s statement: Scientists in the Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research unit in New Orleans, LA use applied research and new technologies for converting rice and rice co-products into high value products. Dr. John C. Beaulieu performs independent and collaborative investigations with rice beverage formulations, including characterizing a developed green processing regime for germinated brown rice. Several horticultural and physicochemical attributes of developing beverages have been assessed. These include general quality attributes and rapid visco analyser (RVA), particle size properties, phytic acid, proximate analyses, total phenolics, γ-aminobutyric acid, arsenic and inorganic arsenic, protein characteristics, and lipid/oil characterization in raw materials through post-enzyme treatments in developed beverages. A goal is to formulate processing approaches and enzymology to deliver naturally fortified and flavored rice beverages. Further physicochemical characterization of macro and health-promoting nutrients in industrially sprouted/germinated brown rice, high-protein rice, colored bran rice and other grains, high protein crops, and high-value microgreens is planned into the future project (2020-2025) for additional value-added product development.

Girma Biresaw (Peoria, Illinois)

girma.biresaw@usda.gov; 309-681-6479

Researcher’s statement: Current research interests include:

Atanu Biswas (Peoria, Illinois)

atanu.biswas@usda.gov; 309-681-6406

Researcher’s statement: For 38 years, Dr. Biswas has made significant contributions to fields ranging from polymer/analytical/medicinal chemistry, to food research, and bio-energy. Dr. Biswas is internationally recognized for pioneering polymer synthesis and modifications and contributions to development of bio-based plastics, coatings, films, hydrogels, absorbents, and bio-lubricants derived from agricultural feedstocks such as polysaccharides, vegetable oil, protein, edible beans, cotton, agricultural byproducts. Techniques have included microwave, ionic liquid, enzyme, and extrusion, among others. Beginning in 2014, Dr. Biswas was awarded the prestigious Science Without Border Fellowship by the government of Brazil, affording funds for post-doc fellows, travel, and related research funds for polysaccharide research. In 2018, he was the keynote speaker for the Brazilian Soybean Growers Association conference, an event attended by more than 2,000 growers, processors, marketers, and research scientists. More recently (2019), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) awarded Dr. Biswas a fellowship (3.5 months) in Spain to lead and collaborate on BioPackaging for Food.

Victoria L. Finkenstadt (Peoria, Illinois)

Victoria.Finkenstadt@usda.gov; 309-681-6469

Researcher’s statement: The Plant Polymer Research Unit investigates new uses for carbohydrates and proteins from agricultural commodities. My research is focused on designing new bioplastic resins for use in agriculture (soil, water and plant health) and food safety (packaging). PPL has a pilot-scale polymer processing and evaluation laboratory that can manufacture bioplastics with reactive extrusion, manufacture parts through injection or thermal/vacuum molding, and determine tensile properties (ASTM). My renewable, biodegradable polymer resins have been used for controlled release of plant and soil nutrients, prevention of leaching and runoff into water systems, and as agricultural mulch films for weed prevention. In some cases, the polymer resins are hydrogels with unique properties. A current focus is designing food packaging for ready-to-eat foods and food products that eliminate or lower food-borne pathogens.

Anthony E. Glenn (Athens, Georgia)

anthony.glenn@usda.gov; 706-410-7605

Researcher’s statement: The Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research Unit (TMRU) addresses agricultural and food safety concerns involving fungi that produce harmful metabolites (mycotoxins) that cause human and animal diseases.  Plant pathology research within TMRU focuses on the adaptive fitness of Fusarium verticillioides and related mycotoxin-producing species. We investigate the physiology of these fungi, with a particular interest in the molecular genetics, genomics, and evolution of the biochemical mechanisms controlling how the fungi cope with xenobiotic compounds and environmental stress, especially as it impacts mycotoxin production, virulence, and endophytism.

Louis Hesler (Brookings, South Dakota)

louis.hesler@usda.gov; 605-693-5228

Researcher’s statement: I am a Research Entomologist, and my current research interests include host-plant resistance to insects in various crops, with experience mainly in soybean and wheat.  I have also conducted research on beneficial insects, principally predators of insect pests, and I’m working to develop a research component dealing with insect pollinators as well.  My ARS research assignment broadly includes various strategies for managing arthropod crop pests, so there is plenty of latitude for establishing research ties with 1890 faculty.

Abasiofiok Mark Ibekwe (Riverside, California)

mark.ibekwe@usda.gov; 951-369-4828

Researcher’s statement: Dr. Ibekwe is an internationally recognized expert on the following research areas with active research: (1) Microbial ecology and metagenomics of plant-microbe interactions with human enteric pathogens; (2) metagenomics based bacterial source tracking and constructed wetlands for the removal of contaminants for water quality evaluation; (3) persistence of human enteric pathogens in the pre-harvest environment; (4) metagenomics of antimicrobials in agroecosystems; (5) characterization of soil microbial community as a critical component of soil quality and health.

Charlene R. Jackson (Athens, Georgia)

Charlene.Jackson@usda.gov; 706-546-3604

Researcher’s statement: Dr. Jackson’s research focuses on mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance and molecular typing of diverse bacterial groups, particularly commensal bacteria (Enterococcus, Staphylococcus) from food animals.  The primary aim of the research is to study the presence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria at various points during production to better understand the mechanisms associated with the development and transfer of antimicrobial resistance among different classes of antimicrobials including those used in human health. The goal of the research is to reduce or eliminate bacteria from animal feces and the environment that are resistant to antimicrobials. 

Jose Ramirez (Peoria, Illinois)

jose.ramirez2@usda.gov; 309-681-6195

Researcher’s statement: Dr. Ramirez’s research include the study of multipartite interactions (insect-pathogen-symbiotic microbe interactions) to identify factors  that influence pathogen infection in the arthropod host. Current efforts also involve the isolation and characterization of entomopathogenic microbes to develop novel microbe-based biopesticides to control arthropod vectors and the pathogens they transmit.

Gordon Selling (Peoria, Illinois)

gordon.selling@usda.gov; 309-681-6338

Researcher’s statement: We are developing novel uses for high amylose corn starch inclusion complexes where the ligand is either a biobased fatty acid or fatty amine salt. These biodegradable complexes can be made using steam jet cooking (commonly used in the paper industry), microwave heating, or standard lab solution chemistry. The first two are the routes we use to make complexes in >95% yield using these relatively safe reagents. We have published articles showing the value for these complexes as surfactants, in cellulose coating, as pesticides and in polymer blends. This is a relatively new field so the area is wide open, and we have found publishable results in every field we have explored.