"I originally got into public health because I was a ‘Hot Zone kid.’ I read a book about Ebola in the 90’s called The Hot Zone and became inspired.
Viral pandemics is what got me hooked, but after I began my studies I took a different path. I started working on bacterial infections with Team D at the Minnesota Department of Health, and thought, ‘OK, I’m going to stick with this.’ This is what I want to work on. My master’s project involved characterizing a new type of E. coli.
I’m interested in how to detect pathogens in food, in the environment, in people’s stools…and how to use that information to improve public health surveillance and pathogen detection, with the goal of improving food safety across the food system, in farms, in food processing, and in human health.
Minnesota is great for researching foodborne illness, because we have the Integrated Food Safety Center for Excellence and there’s such a strong partnership between the Minnesota Department of Health and the School of Public Health. There are so many opportunities to actually get work experience.”