Core Faculty

AUFSI core faculty members are listed below with their areas of expertise. Auburn University also boasts many more faculty members with research and expertise related to all components of the food system. For more information, call Jacque Kochak at (334) 844-7465 or email her at kochaja@auburn.edu.

Christy Bratcher : Director, Food Systems Institute

Christy Bratcher

Director, Food Systems Institute

(334) 844-1517
cbratcher@auburn.edu

Dr. Bratcher investigates food safety and niche markets for beef and goat meat. She is currently working on a project to identify gaps in food safety and security procedures among local and regional animal producers and processors who sell directly to consumers and farmers’ markets and may not have adopted the food safety and security measures adopted by larger operators. Once research is complete, training programs will be designed to give local and regional operators added credibility in the hopes of stimulating rural economies.

Toni Alexander : Department Chair, Global Cultures and Languages, Southeast Missouri State University

Toni Alexander

Department Chair, Global Cultures and Languages, Southeast Missouri State University

(573) 651-2146
talexander@semo.edu

Dr. Alexander is particularly interested in “cultural geography.” Cultural geography describes and analyzes the ways that language, religion, economy, government and other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant from one place to another.

Cova Arias : Professor, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

Cova Arias

Professor, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

(334) 844-9215
ariascr@auburn.edu

Dr. Arias is a microbiologist who researches oyster safety. She has designed a new oyster-purification system that aims to eliminate Vibrio vulnificus by using a provisionally patented, novel cleansing system—making Gulf oysters safe year-round.

Dianna Bourassa : Extension Specialist, Assistant Professor, Department of Poultry Science

Dianna Bourassa

Extension Specialist, Assistant Professor, Department of Poultry Science

(334) 844-2610
dvb0006@auburn.edu

Dr. Bourassa is an extension specialist and assistant professor in the Department of Poultry Science. Her research focuses on poultry processing, microbiology, and food safety. Specifically, Dianna’s poultry processing research has included stunning and animal welfare, the effects of primary processing parameters on carcass microbiology, carcass sampling methods for foodborne pathogens, as well as the effects of farm interventions on fully processed carcasses. Her extension program includes supporting the Alabama poultry industry by providing education in areas such as stunning, welfare, food safety, and regulatory compliance. She has worked with programs such as 4-H and FFA.

Brigitta Brunner : Professor, Communications and Journalism

Brigitta Brunner

Professor, Communications and Journalism

(334) 844-2755
brunnbr@auburn.edu

Dr. Brunner heads the public relations program and is an expert on crisis management.

Zhongyang Cheng : Professor, Materials Engineering

Zhongyang Cheng

Professor, Materials Engineering

(334) 844-3419
chengzh@auburn.edu

Dr. Cheng is the assistant director of the Center for Detection and Food Safety. He researches the use of tiny, inexpensive biosensors to improve the identification of foodborne pathogens.

William Daniels : Associate Professor School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

William Daniels

Associate Professor School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

(334) 844-9123
daniewh@auburn.edu

Dr. William Daniels is an associate professor of marine and freshwater aquaculture for the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences. Dr. Daniels’ research focuses on catfish aquaculture and alternative production systems

Allen Davis : Alumni Professor, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences

Allen Davis

Alumni Professor, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences

(334) 844-9312
davisda@auburn.edu

Dr. Allen Davis is an alumni professor of aquatic animal nutrition in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences. He seeks to expand our understanding of the nutritional requirements of species of economic importance and to facilitate the continued development of commercial rations for use in supplemental feed systems.

Sue Duran : Professor and Pharmacy Director College of Veterinary Medicine

Sue Duran

Professor and Pharmacy Director College of Veterinary Medicine

(334) 844-4690
duransh@auburn.edu

Dr. Duran researches new products for treating diseases in food animals and works with veterinarians to study proper dosages and withdrawal times to ensure meat and milk safety. Her areas of interest are antimicrobial stewardship, novel dosage forms to include transdermals PLO’s and ocular hydrogels as well as other sustained release formulation to improve compliance and ease of delivery for animal owners.

Kimberly Garza : Assistant Professor, Harrison School of Pharmacy

Kimberly Garza

Assistant Professor, Harrison School of Pharmacy

(334) 844-8360
kbl0005@auburn.edu

Dr. Garza is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes Research and Policy in the Harrison School of Pharmacy. She also serves as chair of the AUFSI Obesity Working Group and as a member of the Alabama Obesity Task Force. Kimberly’s research involves application of behavioral economic theory to study preventative health behaviors, including medication adherence, diet, and physical activity. Specifically, she is interested in incentive systems that help people engage in and maintain preventive health behaviors.

Misty Edmondson : Associate Professor, Farm Animal Department of Clinical Sciences

Misty Edmondson

Associate Professor, Farm Animal Department of Clinical Sciences

(334) 844-4490
abramms@auburn.edu

Dr. Misty Edmondson is an assistant professor in the food animal section of the College of Veterinary Medicine, where her duties include management of clinical hospital cases, didactic teaching, research, and outreach. Her major research interest is theriogenology of cattle, small ruminants, and camelids.

Al Giffin : Director of Transportation Research, National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT)

Al Giffin

Director of Transportation Research, National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT)

(334) 844-6228
giffira@auburn.edu

NCAT is the only facility in the country where factors involved in the transportation of food can be studied without taking to the public highways. Researchers get critical data in a short time, because NCAT’s fleet of trucks travels the track five days a week, 16 hours a day.

Tung-Shi Huang : Professor, Food Science

Tung-Shi Huang

Professor, Food Science

(334) 844-3290
huangtu@auburn.edu

Dr. Huang focuses on food safety and the development of biosensors to detect foodborne pathogens.

Curtis Jolly : Barkley Endowed Professor, Agriculture Economics and Rural Sociology

Curtis Jolly

Barkley Endowed Professor, Agriculture Economics and Rural Sociology

(334) 844-5613
jollycm@auburn.edu

Dr. Jolly is interested in economic development, international trade and the economics of fisheries. He has also researched the effects of the naturally occurring toxin aflatoxin on the marketing of peanuts in Ghana and Benin.

Kevin Keener : Professor, Iowa State University

Kevin Keener

Professor, Iowa State University

(515) 294-4365
kkeener@iastate.edu

Dr. Kevin Keener is director of the Center for Crops Utilization Research and the BioCentury Research Farm at Iowa State University. He has experience providing technical assistance on food safety, food technology, food regulations, and food labeling to small businesses as well as major food companies.

Ken Macklin : Associate Professor, Poultry Science, College of Agriculture

Ken Macklin

Associate Professor, Poultry Science, College of Agriculture

(334) 844-4225
macklks@auburn.edu

Dr. Macklin’s research interests include the reduction of foodborne bacteria through the use of feed additives and the safe handling and disposal of poultry litter.

Emefa Monu : Assistant Professor, Microbiology, College of Agriculture

Emefa Monu

Assistant Professor, Microbiology, College of Agriculture

(334) 844-2599
eam0063@auburn.edu

Dr. Emefa Monu comes to Auburn from the University of Tennessee, where she was completing post-doctoral studies. Her goal as a researcher is to improve food security through increasing the microbiological safety and shelf life of food.

Amit Morey : Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Poultry Science

Amit Morey

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Poultry Science

(334) 844-8480
azm0011@auburn.edu

Dr. Amit Morey is interested in food safety, shelf-life, post harvest processing technologies, product development and storage, and spoilage microbiology.

Annie Newton Kirby : Assistant Professor, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

Annie Newton Kirby

Assistant Professor, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

(334) 442-4010
akirby@auburn.vcom.edu

Dr. Newton is the dietitian in the AU Pharmaceutical Care Center. She is also an assistant professor at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been a registered dietitian nutritionist for five years. Annie’s current research interests include preventative lifestyle behaviors, with specific interest in identifying and intervening with at-risk populations (e.g., pre-diabetic individuals, children with developmental disabilities, and geriatric patients) in order to prevent obesity and disease progression, thereby improving their overall quality of life.

Bob Norton : Professor, Poultry Science College of Agriculture

Bob Norton

Professor, Poultry Science College of Agriculture

(334) 844-7562
nortora@auburn.edu

Dr. Norton is an expert on data mining and database management. He has recently been named Director of the University’s new Open Source Intelligence Laboratory.

Stephanie Ostrowski : Associate Professor, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine

Stephanie Ostrowski

Associate Professor, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine

(334) 844-2722
sro0002@auburn.edu

Dr. Ostrowski is an associate professor of public health in the Department of Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She serves as lead faculty coordinator for DVM+MPH combined degree program options with Auburn’s partner programs at the University of Minnesota (Veterinary MPH program) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also provides public health career counseling to undergraduates, veterinary students, and post-graduate DVMs. Stephanie’s research interests include public health/one health, herd health; food animal medicine and surgery; agricultural sustainability; epidemiology; emerging infectious diseases; equine sports medicine; CBRNE preparedness and response; and food safety, including antimicrobial resistance.

Stuart Price : Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine

Stuart Price

Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine

(334) 844-2673
pricesb@auburn.edu

Dr. Price is an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Pathobiology. His lab studies the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenesis, with a focus on pathogens that cause foodborne illness.

Elizabeth Schwartz : Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, College of Sciences and Mathematics

Elizabeth Schwartz

Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, College of Sciences and Mathematics

(334) 844-1631
ehs0009@auburn.edu

Elizabeth Schwartz is an assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. Schwartz has a longstanding interest in the foodborne bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and in the innate immune responses elicited by this organism.

Manpreet Singh : Associate Professor, Food Science, University of Georgia-Athens

Manpreet Singh

Associate Professor, Food Science, University of Georgia-Athens

(706) 542-9971
manpreet@uga.edu

Dr. Singh is a food microbiologist and an expert on food safety and food processing regulations.

Charles Starkey : Assistant Professor, Department of Poultry Science

Charles Starkey

Assistant Professor, Department of Poultry Science

(334) 844-4136
cws00031@auburn.edu

Dr. Starkey is an assistant professor in the Department of Poultry Science and chair of the Animal Food Manufacturing, Quality, and Safety Working Group at AUFSI. He previously served as director of technical services at American Proteins, Inc. in Cumming, Georgia. Charles was named American Feed Industry Association’s Member of the Year in 2015. His research focuses on connecting all aspects of animal food ingredient characteristics, dietary formulations, animal food manufacturing techniques, live animal performance, and gastrointestinal tract physiology and health.

Harshavardhan Thippareddi : Professor, Extension Food Safety Specialist, University of Georgia

Harshavardhan Thippareddi

Professor, Extension Food Safety Specialist, University of Georgia

(706) 542-9152
harsha.thippareddi@uga.edu

Dr. Thippareddi is interested in the development and validation of intervention technologies for the food industry to control foodborne pathogens, non-thermal food processing and safety and rapid detection and identification of foodborne pathogens, among other subjects.

Chengming Wang : Professor, Department of Pathobiology

Chengming Wang

Professor, Department of Pathobiology

(334) 844-2601
wangche@auburn.edu

Dr. Wang is a professor in the Department of Pathobiology.  He previously worked at Yangzhou University College of Veterinary Medicine of China as a Jiangsu specially appointed professor (2012-2016). His research interests include molecular diagnostics, pathogenesis of Chlamydia, and transmission mechanisms of vector-borne agents with zoonotic importance.

Chih-Hsuan Wang : Assistant Professor, College of Education, Auburn University

Chih-Hsuan Wang

Assistant Professor, College of Education, Auburn University

(334) 844-7986
wangchi@auburn.edu

Chih-Hsuan Wang’s research is focused on educational research, evaluation, measurement and statistics.

Luxin Wang : Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture

Luxin Wang

Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture

(334) 844-8146
lzw0022@auburn.edu

Dr. Wang is an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Animal Sciences. Her specialties are food safety and microbiology, and her particular interests include isolation and identification of zoonotic pathogens as well as rapid detection methods for identifying zoonotic pathogens in animal products.

Yifen Wang : Professor, Biosystems Engineering, College of Engineering

Yifen Wang

Professor, Biosystems Engineering, College of Engineering

(334) 844-8051
wangyif@auburn.edu€‹

Dr. Wang is interested in the applied and fundamental study of food engineering and food safety. He was one of 15 food safety authorities on the Beijing Olympic Food Safety Expert Committee before the 2008 Olympics. His current research involves extracting the bioactive element fucoxanthine from algae and, after the extraction, utilizing the rest of the algae in a sustainable way. Fucoxanthine may possibly be used to control obesity and diabetes.

Susan Waters : Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and  Journalism, Tennessee State University

Susan Waters

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, Tennessee State University

423-439-7912
swaters@auburn.edu

Dr. Waters specializes in researching and publishing in service-learning.

Jean Weese : Professor, Food Science, College of Agriculture

Jean Weese

Professor, Food Science, College of Agriculture

(334) 844-3269
weesesj@aces.edu

Dr. Weese researches food safety issues in the food processing and food service industries. A food safety specialist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, she also helps aspiring entrepreneurs navigate a maze of regulations. She has worked with school lunch programs to add more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains to the menu.

Daniel Wells : Assistant Professor, Horticulture, College of Agriculture

Daniel Wells

Assistant Professor, Horticulture, College of Agriculture

(334) 844-4824
wellsda@auburn.edu

Daniel Wells’ research program is focused on specialty crop production systems in Alabama, and was recommended to the faculty because of his interest in local foods production.

Norbert Wilson : Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, College of Agriculture

Norbert Wilson

Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, College of Agriculture

(334) 844-5616
wilsonl@auburn.edu

Norbert Wilson is a professor at Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston. He is a former Associate Professor at Auburn.

Jim Witte : Professor, Adult Education, College of Education

Jim Witte

Professor, Adult Education, College of Education

(334) 844-3054
witteje@auburn.edu

Dr. James E. Witte is the program coordinator for adult education programs in the College of Education. His academic areas of interest include training program development and evaluation as well as how learning is assessed. He is an avid world traveler, having lived and worked in places such as Pakistan, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Japan. His multicultural, multilingual background brings a unique perspective to examining how people acquire skills and information.

Michelle Worosz : Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, College of Agriculture, Auburn University

Michelle Worosz

Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, College of Agriculture, Auburn University

334-844-5682
mrw0016@auburn.edu

Dr. Worosz researches economic viability in rural settings. She focuses on barriers and constraints to increasing production and consumption of local and regional products.

Pei Xu : Assistant Professor, Business Analytics, College of Business, Auburn University

Pei Xu

Assistant Professor, Business Analytics, College of Business, Auburn University

(334) 844-6513
pei.xu@auburn.edu

Pei Xu brings expertise in “big data” to the core faculty with the ability to effectively evaluate a wide variety of business issues by using data to apply quantitative techniques for decision-making.