Dr. Abani Pradhan is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science & the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems at the University of Maryland in College Park (UMD). He is also the Director of Graduate Program in Nutrition and Food Science at UMD since 2017. He has been serving as the faculty advisor of the UMD Food Science Club (since 2012) and Nutrition and Food Science Graduate Student Organization (since 2017). Prior to joining UMD in 2011, he was a Research Associate at Cornell University.
Research interests of Dr. Pradhan’s group are broadly in the area of food safety and risk assessment. Many foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, pathogenic Escherichia coli, and Toxoplasma gondii are of serious food safety and public health concerns as they can cause life-threatening diseases in human populations. The continuing incidence of foodborne disease outbreaks and food recalls in the U.S. and across the globe clearly demonstrate the need for improvement in the safety and security of our food supply. Because of the highly complex issues currently challenging the management of food safety risks on an international basis, advances in food safety risk assessment are crucial for providing a more scientifically sound basis for informed management and policy decisions. Our goal is to improve food safety by integrating experimental and field data with mathematical modeling, and developing predictive and risk models that will aid in guiding several stakeholders such as policy makers, government agencies, and food industry in making informed risk management decisions.
Using food microbiology, engineering, risk assessment modeling, and advanced data analytic (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) techniques, we have been conducting interdisciplinary research to address critical food safety issues related to foodborne pathogens in different food categories such as fresh produce (e.g., leafy greens), meat and poultry, dairy products, and low moisture foods (e.g., pet foods, chocolate). We are also working on developing and utilizing appropriate methods and approaches to integrate microbial genomics with risk assessment to evaluate public health risk.
Research interests: Food safety, quantitative microbial risk assessment, predictive microbiology, advanced data analytics [artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)], supply chain and system modeling, food safety engineering, and molecular epidemiology
Awards and Honors: