Ph.D., Animal and Food Sciences
University of Delaware
Advisor: Dr. Kali Kniel
Sarah will be graduating with her Ph.D. this coming May, and her research has been focused on understanding the plant-microbe interactions of norovirus and leafy greens to better design control and prevention strategies. She has been pursuing several research questions, such as the nature of plant immune responses to noroviruses (NoVs), how NoVs react to biofilms on leaf surfaces, and the inactivation of human NoV and its surrogate viruses by chlorine, calcium hypochlorite, and ozone. In broad terms, the research group wants to know how plants serve as vectors for the virus, as this can be important to detection and control measures.
According to Sarah, being part of the NoroCORE Collaborative has been awesome because she has been able to collaborate with a lot of people, and her group gets to do cutting-edge research surrounding norovirus persistence in the pre-harvest environment, which not many people outside of the Collaborative study. Receiving NoroCORE support has also allowed her to do a lot more research, which has let her expand her current thesis proposal, and enabled her to pick up microscopy and bio-imaging as new technical skills.
Sarah said her research experience and working with viruses and plants has allowed her to become a more well-rounded scientist and microbiologist with multidisciplinary experience. Additionally, she has also learned new molecular techniques and infectivity assays in the lab, all of which she believes will be useful in her future career path in virology and/or clinical research.
Sarah is looking at government-based post-doctoral opportunities, such as at the CDC and USDA, as well as programs in clinical microbiology and public health.
Sarah had the following additional comment:
“Thank you to NoroCORE for this amazing opportunity!”