Who We Are

The Etter Food Microbiology Lab

We are a research laboratory in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont, focusing on understanding how foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter survive and thrive in food, food animals, and food processing systems.

Dr. Andrea Etter is originally from rural Wisconsin and grew up on a small homestead with chickens, goats, sheep, horses, and turkeys (among other animals). She got her PhD in food microbiology and food safety at Purdue University, where she studied how Listeria monocytogenes colonizes grocery store delis and how risky that was for consumers as well as investigating whether Salmonella Heidelberg strains involved in a foodborne outbreak in 2013-2014 were unusually tolerant to pathogen reduction measures commonly found in poultry processing plants. Along with studying Salmonella and Campylobacter in backyard chickens and chicks, Andrea leads projects studying Listeria monocytogenes collected from Vermont dairies and investigating stress tolerance of Salmonella from other foodborne outbreaks and teaches NFS 203/213 Food Microbiology and lab (fall), and NFS 156: Deadly Foods: outbreak investigations and NFS 254: Global Food Safety in alternate years (spring). She rides horseback and enjoys fiber arts, sewing, and hiking in her spare time.

Current team members on this project include UVM Microbiology senior Calleigh and Molecular Genetics junior Katherine, Animal Sciences senior Alessandra, Biosciences junior Valorie and sophomore Hannah, and NFS senior Anna and sophomore Alia. Grad students Chelsey and Daria will start in fall 2022

Previous team members include Microbiology students Kata and Jake and NFS MS student Melissa.

Other projects:

Understanding the role of bacterial stress tolerance in foodborne outbreaks of Salmonella enterica. This USDA-funded project investigates whether Salmonella from foodborne outbreaks are more likely to be heat tolerant, sanitizer tolerant, or better at forming stress-resistant biofilms and the mechanisms for that tolerance.

Evaluating the evolution of Listeria monocytogenes from the dairy and artisan cheese industry. This project, funded by the George Walker Milk Fund, investigates how Listeria in the dairy and artisan cheese industry has changed over time, particularly in regards to sanitizer tolerance and antibiotic resistance.

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