Beatriz Quiñones, PhD
Research Molecular Biologist
Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit
USDA Agriculture Research Service
Dr. Beatriz Quiñones is a Research Molecular Biologist at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center in the Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit in Albany, CA. She earned her B.S. in Microbiology from Texas A&M University and her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and continued to do her postdoctoral training in Plant and Microbial Biology also at the University of California at Berkeley. She has authored over 30 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and has hosted and mentored numerous visiting undergraduate and graduate students at the USDA. Currently, she is an active member of the American Society for Microbiology and the International Association for Food Protection.
Her current research projects at the USDA are aimed at the development of molecular-based assays for the detection and genotyping of foodborne pathogens. She has also developed cell-based methods for the accurate detection and quantification of active Shiga toxins produced by pathogenic Escherichia coli as well as for the identification of inhibitors of Shiga toxin activity.
Her most recent research accomplishment was the development of a novel colorimetric method for bacterial pathogen detection with low density DNA microarrays. This microarray colorimetric method allowed the rapid and cost-effective identification of highly-relevant O-antigens and virulence-associated factors in pathogenic Escherichia coli from a major produce production region in California. For the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative, Dr. Quiñones’ objectives are aimed at the development of a DNA microarray colorimetric method for the detection and typing of human norovirus strains associated with foodborne illness.