Who We Are

 

Dr. Sadhana Ravishanker
Sadhana Ravishankar, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Food Safety
sadhravi@email.arizona.edu
520-626-1499

The courses I teach and a few of my research projects include: MIC 430/530- Food Microbiology & Biotechnology; MIC 205A- General Microbiology; MIC 205L- Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory;  Improving the Safety & Quality of Organic Leafy Greens: assessment of good agricultural/production practices along the farm-to-fork continuum, Assessing contamination risk associated with dust, soil, compost and contaminated irrigation water as pathogen transfer vehicles to iceberg lettuce, Ozonated water and plant antimicrobials: A quick and effective method to inactivate Salmonella enterica on iceberg lettuce, On farm evaluation of the prevalence of human enteric bacterial pathogens during the production of melons in California and Arizona, Culturability of pathogens from produce wash water and irrigation water, Evaluation of attachment strength of Salmonella enterica to conventional and organic soils, Use of CHICO wash to control foodborne pathogens in vitro and on foods. Aside from microbiology and food safety, I enjoy gardening and music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libin Zhu, M.S.
Libin Zhu, M.S.
Lab Manager and Research Specialist
zhulibin@email.arizona.edu

My research projects include:using plant compounds, organic sanitizers and edible films to control foodborne pathogenic bacteria on organic leafy greens, cantaloupes and other foods; the survival of foodborne pathogens on leafy greens grown under different conditions  and in irrigation waters from the growing region; the antimicrobial effects of natural plant compounds in grilled meats the potential use of copper alloys as antimicrobial food contact surfaces as an alternative to stainless steel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aishwarya Rao
Aishwarya Rao, M.S.
Research Technician
aishwaryarao@email.arizona.edu
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I came to the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Chemistry, Botany and Microbiology and a Masters in Biotechnology. Under Dr. Ravishankar’s mentorship, I worked on leafy greens and a host of natural antimicrobials, looking at survival of foodborne pathogens as well as the sensory attributes of the compounds. I spent my time at the UA doing research, teaching MIC 205 and 421 and being the CALS representative at the Graduate and Professional  Student Council (GPSC). After graduating with a Masters in Microbiology, I’m working as a Research Technician on the biofilms, CONSERVE and melons projects while mentoring the undergraduates in our lab. Apart from being enthusiastic about sports and science, I enjoy volunteering at the Humane Society and watching crime fighting TV shows. When I’m not at the lab, you can find me at Zumba or the gym.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibiana Law
Bibiana Law, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Assistant Research Scientist
bibiana@email.arizona.edu

I assist on the business aspects of the projects including on the management of intellectual property, experimental design, funding and execution of projects, and cost analyses to develop products for commercial purposes, as well as with collaboration and providing microbiological testing services for industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qi Wei
Qi Wei, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar
weiqi@email.arizona.edu

I am a Ph.D. student from Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in China. My major is Food Science and Engineering. As a research scholar I worked in Dr. Ravishankar’ lab where the focus was on the attachment strength of melons; safety and quality of non-traditional sources of irrigation water; treatment technologies for non-traditional sources of irrigation water; and biofilm formation on various food contact surfaces and their prevention using natural sanitizers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Park
Richard Park, B.Sc.
Research Laboratory Assistant
rjpark@email.arizona.edu

 

I received my bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona in 2018. My main focus is the transfer of foodborne pathogens from the soil and dust onto the melon rind surface. The specific foodborne pathogens of interest are Salmonella and Listeria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monique Torres
Monique Torres, B.Sc.
Research Assistant
matorres@email.arizona.edu

I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. I graduated from The University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s of Science in Veterinary Science in 2013. I worked in Dr. John Marchello's lab at the UA Food Products and Safety Lab (FPSL) for several months in 2014. At the FPSL, I learned to test foods for moisture content, protein, lipids, and more and from this information, I was able to calculate and create nutrition labels for food products. I also gained experience of processing meat animals for human consumption and learned all about meat quality and meat safety. I was then transferred to Dr. Sadhana Ravishankar’s Lab in February of 2015. Under Dr. Ravishankar, I was able to do research on foodborne pathogens isolated from livestock and determined their antibiotic susceptibility profiles. Dr. Ravishankar’s lab is where I learned my fundamental microbiology lab work. I learned basic microbiology such as making media, streaking for isolation, spread plating, serial dilutions, and much more. I also learned some molecular microbiology such as DNA extractions, conventional PCR, and gel electrophoresis. I learned proper sampling techniques, food/produce safety, foodborne pathogens, and natural and chemical antimicrobials. I graduated and received my Master of Science in Animal Science in Fall of 2016. Working under Dr. Ravishankar made this the best possible experience I could have had in graduate school. She was and still is a wonderful advisor, kind, caring, patient, understanding, and so much more. I really enjoyed my graduate career because I was in a positive, encouraging, and challenging learning environment. In February of 2017, I started working as a research technician full time in Dr. Charles P. Gerba lab under Dr. Kelly Bright. In this lab, I collected irrigation water samples from various areas of Southern Arizona and looked for the prevalence of Salmonella and fecal indicator organisms. In Fall 2017, I enrolled as a PhD applicant in the SWES department for Environmental Science. I then switched to a MS in Environmental Science in February of 2018 because I did not have a strong interest in the subject. I did some lab work for Dr. Ravishankar from March 2018 to August 2018 and worked on determining the attachment strength of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica on various melon rinds. Currently, I am working on completing the writing for my thesis and plan to graduate fall 2018.

 

Hunter Cole
Hunter Cole
Undergraduate Student
ghcole@email.arizona.edu

 

I am from the rural community of Oracle, AZ and a senior microbiology major. I make media for the lab as well as assist in various projects. After I graduate, I hope to further my education and become a Research Scientist.

 

Emily Napoles
Emily Napoles
Undergraduate Student
enapoles@email.arizona.edu

 

I am a senior studying veterinary science and getting a minor in microbiology. I worked in Dr. Ravishankar’s lab in the summer of 2018, assisting with making media and the on-going projects. I’m learning a lot about the properties of bacteria binding to the rind of cantaloupes. I’m enthusiastic about learning the behaviors of different microbes and the prevalence of potential pathogens in our foods and all around us. I believe it’s important to develop more information about the pathogens and how to prevent them from causing illnesses in populations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mai Nguyen
Mai Nguyen
Undergraduate Student
pnguyen61@email.arizona.edu

I am a junior studying microbiology and food safety at the University of Arizona. As an intern, I assist in making media and assist in experiments. I started interning at the lab in the fall of 2017. This summer, I was able to intern with Dr. Ravishankar under the CONSERVE Water Internship. During this internship, I worked on antibiotic susceptibility of water isolate samples. I am planning to continue this project and working in the lab. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vimarys Oliveras
Vimarys Oliveras
Undergraduate Student
vimarysoliveras@email.arizona.edu

I am a junior majoring in Veterinary Science, and I'm currently a volunteer student in Dr. Ravishankar’s lab. As of right now, I clean up the lab and make the media. If I have time after making media, I usually help out with everyone who is on a lab project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angelica Padilla
Angelica Padilla
Undergraduate Student
angelicapadilla@email.arizona.edu

I am a senior studying microbiology and currently am volunteering in Dr. Ravishankar's lab in order to develop stronger laboratory techniques. The microbial world has always interested me, and being a part of this lab allows me to work with something I enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valeria Padilla
Valeria Padilla
Undergraduate Student
valeriapadilla@email.arizona.edu

 

 

Volunteering in Dr. Ravishankar's research lab as a senior studying Microbiology has prepped me in new ways as I am gaining an understanding of diverse work strategies in the lab while enjoying the pleasure of collaborating in a team. A few projects that I assist with include counting colonies of Salmonella or Listeria, spread-plating, and making agar plates. I chose to be a part of this lab in particular because I found great interest in the efforts to research the association of bacteria and a common food item in attempting to have a product that is safer for human consumption. This opportunity to help me grow in this field is one I am grateful for. It's helping me go forward in perfecting and acquiring the laboratory performances that, as a microbiologist, are essential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jocelyn Rossete
Jocelyn Rossete
Undergraduate Student
jorl123@email.arizona.edu

I was fortunate to get hired at Dr. Ravishankar's lab the summer of my freshman year. I am currently a junior majoring in Microbiology at the University of Arizona. I have been learning so much from my coworkers, Dr. Ravishankar and Libin. I have learned basic microbiology techniques all the way to professional and personal lessons. I assist with media preparation and help my coworkers with on-going projects. I am passionate about the chemistry of food and to understand the importance of preventing foodborne illnesses. Food is a priority in our lives and we should not get sick from something necessary for our survival. My goal is to continue learning about food safety and be able to contribute in a larger scale.