About Us

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has been awarded to a research team to support development of new methods to manage Campylobacter, a bacterial pathogen carried primarily by poultry. Campylobacter is a leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, which is responsible for an estimated 800,000 illnesses and 8,000 hospitalizations each year.

Campylobacter is difficult to detect and control in live birds because infected poultry are clinically normal and show no signs of illness. Most Campylobacter infections in humans are sporadic and associated with poor handling of raw poultry or consumption of undercooked poultry. The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate effective and practical intervention strategies to control Campylobacter contamination of poultry meat and its transmission to consumers. Specific objectives of the research are to 1) develop and evaluate pre-harvest interventions that reduce Campylobacter colonization in poultry flocks, 2) identify critical control points and effective treatments in poultry processing plants for reducing Campylobacter contamination of poultry carcasses, 3) work closely with producers and processors to facilitate adoption of effective intervention strategies, and 4) educate consumers to avoid food-borne infections by Campylobacter. Achievement of these integrated objectives will improve food safety by reducing transmission of Campylobacter to humans via the food chain.

Our research team includes 11 members from three institutions. Eight of the team members are from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (ISU CVM) or College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). ISU investigators will provide overall direction and coordination of project activities, conduct studies on broiler farms and in processing plants, provide molecular analysis of Campylobacter isolates, and offer educational opportunities for poultry producers and processors. Other participating institutions are University of Tennessee and The Ohio State University. The University of Tennessee researchers will focus on development of vaccines, while the Ohio State University investigators will cover consumer education and evaluate options for poultry litter management in an effort to reduce environmental Campylobacter contamination in poultry houses. A brief description of each team member’ expertise and responsibility is provided below.



Qijing Zhang, (Project Director), is a microbiologist, Professor of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, and Associate Dean for Research at the ISU. Work in his laboratory focuses on Campylobacter in various animal hosts, particularly in poultry and ruminants. His group is highly experienced in studying Campylobacter using various approaches and systems. Dr. Zhang is responsible for the overall direction and coordination of project activities. Drs. Zhang and Dr. Sahin share responsibility for the studies on broiler farms and molecular analysis of Campylobacter isolates obtained from both on-farm studies and a processing plant study.
Telephone: (515) 294-2038; E-mail: zhang123@iastate.edu



Orhan Sahin, (Co-Project Director, Project Manager), is a Research Assistant Professor and ACVM (American College of Veterinary Microbiologists) certified veterinary bacteriologist at the ISU CVM. He has extensive knowledge in Campylobacter epidemiology and ecology, immune responses in poultry hosts, molecular biology, and detection and characterization techniques. He is highly experienced in working with various animal hosts including poultry and with field studies. While working with Dr. Zhang and other team members, Dr. Sahin will function as the project manager and will oversee day-to-day operations of the project.  He will be responsible for arrangement and coordination of project activities, training of personnel, and communication between team members, collaborators, and stakeholders.
Telephone: (515) 294-5513; E-mail: osahin@iastate.edu



Darrell W. Trampel, (Co-Project Director), is an Extension Poultry Veterinarian and Professor at the ISU CVM.  He has many years’ experience serving the turkey, broiler, egg, and game bird industries. He has a wide network with poultry producers and extension agents, serves as a liaison between the ISU CVM and Iowa poultry organizations, and conducts educational programs for poultry producers and members of allied industries. Dr. Trampel is the extension team leader and will be responsible for the overall planning, coordination and conduct of educational activities targeting poultry producers and processors.
Dr. Trampel passed away in August 2014. His contributions will be missed.


Lydia C. Medeiros, (Co-Project Director), is a Professor Emeritus in the Food Animal Health Research Program, OARDC at the OSU.  Dr. Medeiros is an expert on food safety education and has extensive experience in working with consumers. She will be the leader for the consumer education component and will be responsible for the design, implementation, administrative management of educational interventions with parents of young children, and communication of study results to consumers in presentations and publications.
Telephone: (330) 263-3747; E-mail: medeiros1@osu.edu



Martha M. (Sorrel) Brown, (Co-Project Director), is a Program Evaluator with Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension at the ISU CALS. She is specialized in developing and conducting evaluations and surveys related to extension and outreach activities. Dr. Brown serves as a resource to all investigators in developing, implementing, analyzing, and summarizing evaluation tools and results that will be used in the planned outreach educational venues.
Telephone: (515) 294-8802; E-mail: sorrel@iastate.edu



Joseph C. Cordray, (Co-Project Director), is a food safety expert and Professor of Animal Sciences at the ISU CALS.Dr. Cordray provides assistance to meat processors in the areas of product development, problem solving and regulatory compliance. He is the coordinator for several annual meat science short courses held at the Meat Laboratory of ISU. Dr. Cordray will develop a meat safety training short course which emphasizes measures to prevent meat contamination by Campylobacter for industry and government agencies.  Also, he will play a key role in knowledge dissemination to poultry processors.  He oversees the Meat Laboratory, a processing plant at ISU.  He and Dr. Logue will be responsible for processing plant studies.
Telephone: (515) 294-4266; E-mail: jcordray@iastate.edu



Annette M. O'Connor, (Co-Project Director), is an epidemiologist and Professor of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine at the ISU CVM. She has extensive experience in epidemiological studies on foodborne pathogens at the pre- and post-harvest levels. She will be responsible for the overall design of the on-farm and processing plant studies and the associated data analysis.
Telephone: (515) 294-5012; E-mail: oconner@iastate.edu



Catherine Logue, (Co-Project Director), is a Professor of Veterinary Microbiology at the ISU CVM and her research efforts focus on Campylobacter,Salmonella and E. coli from poultry.  She has extensive experience in studies on poultry farms and in slaughter establishments. Dr. Logue’s laboratory will be responsible for the processing studies involving both slaughter houses and a pilot processing plant.
Telephone: (515) 294-3785; E-mail: cmlogue@iastate.edu



Lin Jun, (Co-Project Director), is a microbiologist and Associate Professor of Animal Sciences at the University of Tennessee. He has considerable experience in Campylobacter pathobiology and immunology in poultry. His laboratory will be responsible for the vaccination studies.
Telephone: (865) 974-5598; E-mail:  jlin6@utk.edu



Gireesh Rajashekara, (Co-Project Director), is Associate Professor of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University and his current research focuses on preharvest control, molecular epidemiology, and pathogenesis of Campylobacter in poultry. He will be responsible for laboratory and on-farm studies to reduce Campylobacter prevalence in poultry litter.
Telephone: (330) 263-3745; E-mail: rajashekara2@osu.edu  



Joseph G. Sebranek, (Co-Project Director), is a Distinguished Professor of Animal Science at the ISU CALS, and a food safety expert. His knowledge and expertise includes meat processing and preservation, influence of additives, new technology, and processing techniques on meat quality.
Telephone: (515) 294-1091; E-mail: sebranek@iastate.edu
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