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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN METAGENOMICS AND COMPUTATIONAL BIOINFORMATICS TO ENHANCE RESEARCH AND TEACHING IN FOOD SCIENCE AND FOOD SAFETY

Investigators
Kilonzo-Nthenge, Agnes
Institutions
Tennessee State University
Start date
2021
End date
2022
Objective
Foodborne illness is a major threat to public health and is associated to pathogenic microorganisms on fresh produce. Producing and delivering safe fresh produce on a sustainable scale is essential to the maintenance of public confidence in the supply chain and industry. Therefore, there is a necessity for more and better-trained scientists to engage in cutting edge produce safety research that contributes to knowledge-transfer to produce growers. Educated growers can make informed decisions and as a result reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses and increase capital gains. Food safety challenges in produce are better solved when innovative technologies in detection of foodborne pathogens are applied. Metagenomics offers an unbiased, culture-free method to investigate complete genetic make-up of a food sample, offering insights into the associated microbial community. Hence, the overall goal of this project is to (1) train the PI in metagenomics and bioinformatics; (2) incorporate metagenomics and bioinformatics in courses needed to prepare students for successful careers in agriculture. Tennessee State University (TSU) therefore, proposes to: (1) train PI in metagenomics and computational bioinformatics skills; (2) incorporate metagenomics and bioinformatics in food science courses in TSU; and (3) create long-term collaboration between TSU, USDA-ARS-NEA-BARC and EzBiome Laboratories. The PI will be trained on the entire workflow of metagenomics wet lab procedures as well as post sequencing bioinformatic and statistical analysis using cloud based metagenomic bioinformatics platform. Upon completion of this training the PI will be able to conduct metagenomics wet lab and bioinformatics at her laboratory and train students and technicians at TSU.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
TENX2020-11077
Accession number
1026021
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins