Project Teams

AUFSI organizes and maintains numerous Working Groups, which are targeted research groups consisting of AUFSI core faculty and other interested faculty campus wide. These groups involve collaboration across various Auburn University Colleges and Schools, as well as those from many other major universities and industry partners. More information and overviews of each group are coming soon, and public websites for certain groups are currently being developed. For more information about working groups, contact Regina Crapps at (334) 844-7456 or email her at Current working groups:



Farmer harvesting lettuceFood Safety, Quality, and Integrated Health  

The Food Safety, Quality, and Integrated Health research team falls under the Integrated Food and Human Health System in the College of Agriculture and is led by Dr. Christy Bratcher. Our research focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to improving the safety and quality of food, beginning with the growth and production of food to processing, packaging, and selling it. Team members also look at how practices and interventions within all these areas of the food system ultimately impact human health.


Agriculture 088

Farm and Consumer Environmental Safety and Security (FACESS)

This group is a collaboration between researchers from animal science, poultry science, agricultural economics and rural sociology and business as well as Alabama Water Watch and Tuskegee University. This group is completing a five-year, USDA-funded project to improve food security and safety on small cattle farms. Regulation and inspection of food products are inconsistent, so small farmers, farmers markets and small niche operators may not have adopted necessary food safety measures. For  information, contact Christy Bratcher at


Obesity Working Group

This group consists of faculty members and community partners interested in obesity prevention. The group also provides a forum for faculty and community partners to share their research, outreach, or educational activities related to obesity prevention. It is expected that smaller research grant-writing teams will emerge from the larger group based on specific interests and expertise to target extramural funding opportunities. To learn more contact Kimberly Garza at (334) 844-8360 or



Food Entrepreneur Working Group

The Food Entrepreneur Working Group brings together faculty members and others interested in helping budding food entrepreneurs. Faculty from animal sciences, fisheries and aquaculture, food science and business join with representatives of the SBA’s Small Business Development Center to sponsor conferences where aspiring entrepreneurs learn about labeling, regulations, business plans, marketing and finding financing. Their next project is to establish a web-based portal. To learn more, contact Jean Weese at (334) 844-7456 or




Agricultural Economics, Rural Communities and Food Policy Working Group

This group is interested in subjects such as the factors that make a food hub successful, which can be an important resource for farmers. Although public interest in local and regional foods is soaring, many small- and mid-size farmers lack expertise to engage in the market. Food hubs can provide training to help small farmers market to schools and large retailers. Struggling food hubs can benefit by learning strategies employed by successful food hubs. To learn more, contact Regina Crapps at (334) 844-7456 or



Antibiotic Alternatives Working Group

This group is interested in identifying alternatives to the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in the raising of food animals. Low doses of antibiotics are commonly used to promote the growth of food-producing animals in addition to the therapeutic doses used to prevent, control and treat disease. Overuse of antibiotics is believed to be related to the appearance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the food supply, with the resistant pathogens ultimately cause resistant infections in humans. To learn more, contact Sue Duran at (334) 844-6722 or


Colony of bacterias

Salmonella Working Group

The Salmonella Working Group, which brings together faculty from the Colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, explores the possibility that the foodborne bacteria Salmonella might be able to exploit proximity in mixed-animal food production sites to move between species, and that pre-harvest food safety interventions could be developed to reduce this transmission. For more information contact Stuart Price at (334) 844-2673 or


Teacher instructing class

STEM Education Working Group

Using  food science can make math and science easy to learn by explaining seemingly difficult concepts by using everyday materials and processes, such as baking. This group is working to make fun, food-related STEM lessons available to Alabama school children. Working group members come from the colleges of Education, Liberal Arts, and Agriculture as well as the Auburn University-Montgomery Office of Outreach and Montgomery Public Schools. For more information, contact Bob Norton at (334) 844-7562 or


food defense

Food Defense Working Group

Criminals or terrorists could score a big victory by tampering with the U.S. food supply. This group is zeroing in on research and education to address the potential threat and so far includes members from Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine as well as Arizona State University. Members have been writing articles on the subject for the trade press, and the group’s website includes a Food Defense blog with the latest news about food safety, food security and food defense. For more information, contact Bob Norton at (334) 844-7562 or .




Aquaponics Working Group

The Aquaponics Working Group brings together researchers from fisheries, horticulture, and biosystems engineering to study aquaponics, called “the future of farming” because of its highly efficient use of water to grow both fish and produce. AU Tiger Dining is also an partner, getting year-round access to high-value products in return for a reasonable investment. Researchers in turn get to study a working model that otherwise would be too expensive to operate. For more information, contact Terry Hanson at (334) 844-9207 or


The house hen pecks food from a feeding trough

Animal Food Manufacturing and Safety Working Group

This group emphasizes education and training for all aspects of animal food manufacturing, worker safety, food chain safety and security, and regulatory compliance. Since animal foods are part of the whole food chain, producing safe animal foods is imperative for a complete cycle of food safety and security. Working on the efficiency of production while also emphasizing employee safety is also a part of a healthy sustainable food chain. For more information, contact contact Regina Crapps at (334) 844-7456 or