Erin DiCaprio – NoroCORE Food Virology

Erin DiCaprio

Erin DiCaprio
Ph.D., Comparative and Preventative Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Advisor: Dr. Jianrong Li

Erin was in the final year of her Ph.D. while working on her project, which was researching the interaction of noroviruses with fresh produce, and how noroviruses come to contaminate produce, to determine effective control measures. She has looked at the internalization of the virus in growing produce, as well as virus attachment to the surfaces of plants such as leafy greens and strawberries. She also worked on a project testing the inactivation of norovirus with ionizing radiation and high pressure processing, which involved collaboration with an engineer versed in electronic beam treatments at Kent State University.

Erin learned useful skills being in the Li lab, including how to better communicate what she does through presentations and written manuscripts. The NoroCORE fellowship also gave her the ability to collaborate with Kent State and gave her more flexibility, creativity, and independence in how she carried out her experiments.

“It’s been a really great benefit to be involved with NoroCORE. Being a Ph.D. student who had gone to the meeting two years ago, I’d read all these manuscripts and put names to faces. Meeting others in the field is really beneficial.”

Following graduation, Erin hoped to enter a post-doctoral program, such as in academia, at USDA diagnostic labs, or in public health. She also really enjoys teaching in addition to research. Erin was confident that her research experience has prepared her for her future career path:

“I’ve gotten a lot of different experiences in the laboratory and I feel like I have a good skill set now in basic virology techniques. I have a broad perspective of virology. I also have my Masters in Food Science so I have a lot of knowledge about the Food Industry, as well as experience giving presentations and lectures in class and mentoring undergrads. I have gotten a taste of all the aspects of what would be expected of me to be a faculty member in the future.”

As for receiving the Fellowship, “It’s been a huge honor. I feel proud when I get to tell people I’m a NoroCORE fellow. For me, it’s a point of pride…Getting the fellowship has made me feel more empowered.”