Kalmia E. Kniel, PhD
Professor of Microbial Food Safety
Department of Animal and Food Sciences
University of Delaware
Dr. Kniel is a Professor of Microbial Food Safety in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in the University of Delaware. Dr. Kniel received all three degrees from Virginia Tech in various sciences, including her B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Molecular Cell Biology, and Ph.D. focusing in Food Parasitology in Food Science and Technology. Prior to working at the University of Delaware in 2004, Dr. Kniel worked at the Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville Maryland.
Dr. Kniel’s laboratory conducts research focusing on environmental persistence of viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, in particular as it applies to the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables. While many questions today address pre-harvest food safety, post-harvest food safety involving non-thermal processing technologies is also addressed by members of Dr. Kniel’s laboratory. The reason behind why some organisms persist better than others is compelling and includes analysis of bacterial biochemical and genetic traits and capsid composition of viruses. Her research interests include survival of enteric viruses, including hepatitis A and E, norovirus, adenovirus and Aichi virus, in the environment and in foods and the roles that avian pathogenic E. coli play in terms of public health. Dr. Kniel is also working on water filtration methods using zero-valent iron to enhance the safety of drinking water around the world.
Dr. Kniel is passionate about undergraduate teaching and learning. Undergraduate research is an important part of research at the University of Delaware, and several students working in her laboratory are developing undergraduate thesis. Today, Dr. Kniel advises many undergraduate students studying pre-veterinary medicine, food science, and animal science, and teaches courses involving foodborne disease transmission, epidemiology, and contemporary issues of food science. Dr. Kniel advises several Ph.D. and M.S. students in her laboratory.