Understanding persistent Listeria monocytogenes food safety risks using genomics and quantitative microbiology
Research in our lab applies modern genomics, quantitative microbiology, and data analytics to microbial food safety. This talk will focus on our work to understand the risk of Listeria monocytogenes persistence in food associated environments. We have shown that whole genome SNP analysis can improve the identification of persistent Listeria. Current work is exploring (i) how CRISPR spacer pattern analysis may improve the discrimination of persistent from sporadic strains, and (ii) phenotypic adaptations of persistent strains to the food environment (e.g., improved sanitizer tolerance). More specifically related to pathobiology, I will also discuss a new collaboration to explore how variability in strains, food properties, and gastric passage, may challenge the paradigm for L. monocytogenes that low doses (at consumption) equal low risk.