JIFSAN Internships

Internship Projects

The JIFSAN internship program allows undergraduate students at the University of Maryland, College Park to participate in research at FDA facilities, including the Harvey Wiley Building in College Park and the MOD1 & MOD11 facilities on Muirkirk Road in Laurel, MD. Internships require a time commitment of 8-10 hours/week during the semester and 30 hours/week during winterterm and summer. After 100 hours as an unpaid intern, JIFSAN interns become eligible to compete for a paid internship for subsequent semesters.

Internship applications are available online or from the College of CMNS Internship Office (1313 Symons Hall). Internships generally begin in the summer and continue through the subsequent academic year. At the current time, projects seeking interns are posted in February and for best consideration applications should be submitted by March 15.


Browse available internships only


Concentrations

Internships

Animal Health

- Animal Health

No projects available under Animal Health Back to the top

Biological Sciences

- Biology

    JIP-218

    Status: Internship not available
    Project Title: To identify allergenic proteins of the major food allergens and to determine their digestibility and IgE immunoreactivity.
    Project Description: Food allergies are an emerging health problem in the US with more than 30,000 anaphylactic reactions annually due to food allergens. Anaphylaxis is a multi-system allergic reaction that may be deadly if not treated promptly, with food allergies accounting for 35- 50% of anaphylaxis annually. Additionally, the prevalence of food allergy among children under the age of 18 has increased 18% from 1997 to 2007, which may be consequential to the lack of breastfeeding and intensive sterilization practices preventing early colonization of the gut with commensal, “healthy” microorganisms that elicit health benefits by enhancing immunity, reducing the likelihood of illness from food borne pathogens and food allergies. The health issue of food allergy is compounded by inaccurate labeling of food allergens. Often packaged foods claiming “may contain food allergens” actually do not contain food allergens, while 2% of food products without these claims actually do contain food allergens. This presents an extreme challenge to the consumer with food allergies, who must exercise dietary avoidance. Therefore, the development and validation of accurate and precise detection methods to be used and implemented universally within the food industry for the detection of food allergens is critically necessary to ensure label accuracy. Additionally, due to the advancements of biotechnology a vast array of genetically modified food crops containing nouvelle proteins which may have allergenic potential have been introduced into the production of packaged foods, presenting new challenges to the sensitive consumer.

    JIP-228

    Status: Internship not available
    Project Title: Use and Applicability of Human Clinical Studies in the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) Program
    Project Description: Any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive and is the subject to premarket safety review and approval unless the substance is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), meaning the substance has been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use as reviewed by a panel of qualified experts. Human clinical studies were submitted in support of applications for various substances proposed for GRAS status. This project would include updating, populating, and analysis of a clinical studies database of the information contained within these applications. This is an important existing project to which various resources were allocated over the years. Analysis is expected to yield valuable information including data and trend analysis regarding what types of scientific information is currently being provided in these applications as compared to the types of information that may be necessary and pertinent to GRAS determination.

Back to the top

- Botany

    JIP-290

    Status: Actively seeking interns
    Project Title: Building a Chloroplast Genome Library at FDA
    Principal Investigators: Handy, Sara
    Project Description: To support its public health mission, the FDA must verify labeling of products. This can be difficult when products are mixtures or heavily processed botanicals. This internship would allow the intern to learn how to extract and sequence plant DNA, specifically targeting chloroplast genomes from FDA species of interest, as well as process that data bioinformatically. This will help continue to build a library of DNA sequences which will give FDA the ability to address the issue of processed botanicals by providing sequence data from which identification techniques can be developed. This database has the potential to become the preeminent repository of genomic data for botanical species.
    Project Objective: - Extract DNA from plants collected by the Smithsonian. - Use the Illumina Miseq to sequence the chloroplast genomes from these plants. - Learn how to annotate the genomes for submission to GenBank.
    Project Needs and Duration: Comfortable pipetting small volumes (~1µl). - Experience with handling DNA. - Coding experience is helpful but not necessary. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
    Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

Back to the top

- Entomology

    Back to the top

    - Microbiology

      JIP-211

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Cyclospora cayetanensis and Cryptosporidium parvum: Methods Development
      Project Description: There has been a tremendous increase in the year-round demand for fresh produce. Improvements in storage and transportation have resulted in distributions chains bringing fresh fruits and vegetables from all over the world to neighborhood grocery stores. While there are obvious economic and nutritional benefits there is also an increased risk of foodborne outbreaks caused by pathogens such as Cyclospora cayetanensis, Cryptosporidium parvum and C. hominis. Cyclospora cayetanensis has proven to be a particularly challenging pathogen. Little is known about its environmental biology thus it has been difficult to determine its means of transmission through foods and water. In order for the FDA to fulfill its mission to safeguard the nation's food supply, it is imperative we conduct research to better understand parasitic pathogens such as C. cayetanensis so that lessons learned may be applied to other emerging pathogens.

      JIP-283

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Evaluation of the Effect of Transport Media on Listeria monocytogenes Survival in Environmental Samples
      Principal Investigators: Burall, Laurel
      Project Description: The student will work as part of a team to evaluate the ability of L. monocytogenes (Lm) to be recovered from four different transport media after sublethal exposure to sanitizers commonly used in food production facilities on a stainless steel surface. As background flora can affect survival, Lm survival will be tested in the presence of background flora obtained from environmental swabs of dairy processing facilities and evaluate recovery in different enrichment media from the four transport media. This will allow the optimization of an environmental sampling method for the BAM.
      Project Objective: Perform enrichments of sublethally injured Lm from combinations of four transport media in up to 5 enrichment media and determine Lm recovery.
      Project Needs and Duration: The ideal student will have some classes and/or training in microbiology and/or basic biology. However, as most training is possible on the job, the key feature is an enthusiasm for research and a desire to participate in the problem solving nature of our work. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN MOD-1, 8301 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, MD

      JIP-284(Old Project ID: 269)

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Development and Evaluation of Enumeration Methods for Listeria monocytogenes in Select Foods
      Principal Investigators: Chen, Yi
      Project Description: Detection and enumeration of L. monocytogenes in FDA regulated foods are crucial for the control of foodborne listeriosis. The FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) contains a general enumeration protocol, but different foods may require different sample preparation and enumeration schemes. It is critical to determine the best approach for enumerating L. monocytogenes in each individual food matrix because such enumeration data in food samples obtained during regular surveillance and outbreak investigations would improve our understanding of the risk associated with foodborne exposure to L. monocytogenes. This research is especially useful in determining infectious dose, which would affect FDA’s regulatory strategy for this pathogen by providing better scientific evidence for risk assessment and guidance development.
      Project Objective: The specific objectives are: a. Optimization of sample preparation procedures for direct-plating enumeration of L. monocytogenes in select foods such as sprouts, leafy green produce. b. Comparative evaluation of selective agars for direct-plating enumeration of L. monocytogenes in select foods, especially those with a high level of background flora. The agars that will be evaluated include ALOA, Rapid L. mono, CHROMagar Listeria and R&F agar. Newer formulations and/or combination of selective agars may be necessary to provide the best results. c. Comparative evaluation of MPN and direct-plating methods for the enumeration of L. monocytogenes in select foods. This will determine the preferred methods for investigative use of regulatory samples. d. Evaluation of novel enumeration methods for rapid and accurate enumeration of L. monocytogenes in food matrices that are difficult to enumerate by either MPN or direct plating. Food samples that have high background flora will be selected for such evaluation. The specificity, detection limit and its ability to work with complex food enrichment mix will be accessed.
      Project Needs and Duration: Applicants with course work, lab work or research experience in Microbiology would be preferred. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-288(Old Project ID: 270)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Genomic Analysis of Hibernators-Persisters Contaminating Low Water Activity Foods and Dietary Supplements to Develop Specific Laboratory Strategies to Identify the Presence of Persister Cells
      Project Description: During many of the kill steps used in food processing to reduce pathogens contaminating foods, a small fraction of cells typically survive through entering the so-called persister state. Persister cells are increasingly being viewed as a major cause of recurrent chronic infectious disease and in the emergence of foodborne disease. The phenomenon of persistence remains poorly understood, but it is thought that persister cells form stochastically by switching into and out of a state of dormancy. Only recently, a series of breakthrough discoveries has started to shed light on persister cell physiology and the molecular and genetic underpinnings of persister formation. Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems have been implicated in the formation of the persistence phenotype in some bacterial species including E.coli and Salmonella. The TA systems include MqsR/MqsA, TisB/IstR-1 and hipA. There is limited information available on the development of persister cells in food products. Low water activity or dry food matrices like Powdered Infant Formula (PIF), some dietary supplements, spices, nuts and other products provide a conducive growth environment that may be contributing to the induction of persistent cells in these food products. It is critical to develop specific laboratory strategies to identify the presence of persister cells, to understand the factors contributing to their induction and to develop methods to prevent them from surviving. Combining microbiological methods in selected food matrices with a metagenomics approach may lead to effective strategies to prevent the risk posed by contaminating bacterial persister sub-populations in food matrices having long shelf lives, and will augment current CFSAN metagenomic approaches. We propose to study the formation and recovery processes of persisters in low water activity food matrices to develop effective strategies to prevent the formation of persisters and inhibit their ability to survive in food regulated by FDA.

      JIP-291(Old Project ID: 266)

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Identification and Characterization of Salmonella enterica from Spices
      Principal Investigators: Jean-Gilles Beaubrun, Junia
      Project Description: In recent years, spices increasingly have been associated with outbreaks of Salmonella, showcasing the need for increased surveillance and an improved outbreak response. Unfortunately, many spices contain antimicrobial compounds that minimize the effectiveness of current methods used to detect Salmonella, yet the organism can survive in the dried product. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of corn oil as an additive to attract these antimicrobial phenolic compounds while allowing Salmonella growth during pre-enrichment culture. This approach is a crucial step that will enhance detection using both traditional culture and molecular methods. In this investigation Salmonella detection, isolation, and identification will be conducted using spices and corn oil as an additives in the pre-enrichment broth. The BAM chapter 5 Method for Salmonella will be used concurrently with molecular screening methods such as the PCR serotyping method, and metagenomics
      Project Objective: Assist in the detection and serotyping of Salmonella enterica from pre-enrichment and selective enrichment broth cultures of spice samples. Detection of Salmonella will be conducted using the plating methods on multiple chromogenic agar, PCR analysis and metagenomic preparation.
      Project Needs and Duration: A good candidate is a student who is willing to learn and is excited about science. Basic Biology and Microbiology course and some laboratory experience. Onsite training will be conducted. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN MOD-1, 8301 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, MD

      JIP-295(Old Project ID: 272)

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Whole Genome Sequencing and Phenotyping of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from tree fruit production environments
      Principal Investigators: Macarisin, Dumitru
      Project Description: Apples and stone fruits emerged as a new concern for L. monocytogenes contamination in the past few years. The 2014 stone fruit and 2015 caramel apple multistate outbreaks together with several multistate recalls of whole apples due to contamination by L. monocytogenes clearly indicate the massive knowledge gap in the understanding of Listeria incidence and behavior in tree fruit commodities. A better understanding of the prevalence and the mechanisms of persistence of L. monocytogenes in the tree fruit production environments is paramount to developing efficient preventive measures to minimize contamination of whole fruits with L. monocytogenes. This extramural CARTS project (EF01029), will obtain environmental surveillance data on the incidence and prevalence of L. monocytogenes in apple and stone fruit production continuum, while a follow-up whole genome sequencing of these isolates by CFSAN-FDA will yield highly resolved geo-spatial source distribution and genetic relationship among L. monocytogenes strains in the fruit production continuum. The incumbent will identify the unique adaptive phenotypic traits in L. monocytogenes acquired during its colonization of apple/stone fruits and their processing environments by conducting phenotypic microarray analysis. Only by complementing whole genome sequencing data with phenotypic characterization of L. monocytogenes strains persisting in fruit packing facilities will provide holistic microbiological insight into this problem that may lead to more effective good agricultural practices and preventative measures unique to these fruit commodities, and help inforce the FDA produce rule.
      Project Objective: In this project, the intern will; 1. Conduct cultural, biochemical and molecular identification of L. monocytogenes isolates from apple/stone fruit production environments obtained under the extramural project EF01029. 2. Conduct phenotypic microarray characterization of the confirmed L. monocytogenes strains obtained from the fruit production environments.
      Project Needs and Duration: The student must have completed introductory microbiology coursework and have some laboratory experience, preferably with basic microbiological laboratory techniques, such as: sterile field and clean techniques, selective enrichment, automated spiral plating and colony counting, pure culture handling, plate streaking. Good pipetting and micro-pipetting skill is an imperative. Must be able to pass biohazard safety course required to work with BSL2 agent and be experienced in Microsoft Excel and basic statistical analysis. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-297(Old Project ID: 275)

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Food Sample preparation for toxin detection assays and data analysis to evaluate assay performance criteria
      Principal Investigators: Sharma, Shashi
      Project Description: Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), abrins and staphylococcus enterotoxins possess exhibit ingestional and inhalational toxicity. Contamination of these toxins in food sources can result food-borne illnesses. They are also biothreat agents that can cause high mortality and morbidity. Intentional contamination of food sources remains as a major concerns. Detection and identification of these toxins, serotypes or their toxin subtypes in clinical specimen, food or environmental sources is critical for clinical response, epidemiological investigations, identifying food or environmental source of contamination, and for prevention-focused biosurveillance measures to safeguard public health security and food safety. However, sample matrices that are subjected for testing the presence of these toxins impose several challenges in developing rapid, sensitive and robust detection assay. They contain various substances that provide background signals, structurally mimic the analytes that are non-specifically detected. Besides this, physico-chemical properties like viscosity, pH, salt concentration, fat content, etc., affect recovery or extraction of toxins to enable sensitive detection. Hence food or other sample preparation needs to be suitably optimized for maximal extraction of toxins without disrupting their antigenic structure for developing robust detection assays. Regulatory Issue: The proposed project aligns with our goals to develop rapid, robust and sensitive detection methods for detecting high-impact select environmental pathogens and toxins that affect food safety and public health security. Mouse lethality bioassay (MLB) is the current standard reference method for detecting BoNTs in food samples for confirming outbreaks of food borne botulism and also for identifying the food source that have caused an outbreak. MLB has several limitations. It takes 3-4 days for completing the assay; requires expensive animal facilities and dedicated personnel; cost and skill intensive; lacks throughput capabilities to test suspected food samples and often may not distinguish if symptoms are caused by BoNTs or other toxin/chemical contaminants. Rapid and sensitive detection of botulinum neurotoxins within 24 to 48 hours methods is highly desirable. In addition, abrins and staphylococcal enterotoxins are also considered as bio-threat agents and intentional contamination of these toxins in food or environmental sources remain as a major concern. Optimization of various food or environmental sample preparation techniques is critical for developing robust, rapid and sensitive detection methods to investigate an outbreak sample, and identify the source of origin. Optimized sample processing methods can be adopted as standard laboratory protocols. The objectives of this project contribute to regulatory method development that can be used for surveillance of toxins in food and environmental sources for handling any emergency biothreat situations, and for Medical counter measure applications.
      Project Objective: The JIFSAN Intern will work closely with CFSAN researchers at the Office of Regulatory Science, Division of Microbiology, Molecular Method Development Branch (CFSAN/ORS/DM/MMDB). This project involves both hands-on laboratory work and analyses of the data using basic and simple statistical tools. The intern will have an opportunity to learn and understand the concepts behind in assay development, conditions or parameters of an assay that influence performance criteria such as sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, precision and analyte recovery. Due to biosafety regulations the intern will not be working with any toxins (select agents) or samples containing toxins. In this project the intern will, from June 2017 to May 2018 conduct weekly or biweekly i. Perform literature search relevant to food sample preparation for toxin assays. ii. Prepare samples by processing different food types (liquid, solid and semi-solid foods, foods of varying pH values, salt concentration, etc) and optimizing various food sample matrix preparation as suitable for immunoassays or mass-spectrophotometry based toxin detection assays. iii. Perform affinity column chromatography for purifying recombinant proteins. iv. Prepare samples for whole genome sequencing applications. v. Analyze data provided by the CFSAN researchers using basic and simple statistical tools (calculating mean, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, range etc). vi. Prepare media, quality and critical reagents and stocks needed for the assay development
      Project Needs and Duration: Preliminary knowledge in microbiology, chemistry and biochemistry is required. Some working knowledge of basic laboratory practices is preferred. Above all, the student should be diligent and have a passion for scientific research. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-298(Old Project ID: 276)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Investigating the Global Genomic Diversity and Evolution of Cronobacter spp. using a newly developed next generation sequence-based DNA Microarray for technology transfer to FDA Field, FERN, and global Cronobacter food safety partner laboratories.
      Project Description: Cronobacter are ubiquitous organisms present in a wide range of environments, including water, soil, and a variety of fresh, dried, and processed foods. The bacterium has been isolated from factory production lines, including powdered infant formula factories, and households as well as clinical sources such as cerebrospinal fluid, blood, bone marrow, sputum, urine, and feces. The organism is an opportunistic pathogen of humans that can cause infections in all age groups. However, low birth weight neonates are most at risk and in this host group it has been associated with outbreaks of necrotizing enterocolitis, meningitis, and septicemia. Due to the severity of the infant infection, a better understanding of the genomic diversity among Cronobacter spp. is needed, and will be of interest to manufacturers of powdered infant formula, regulatory bodies, and those studying the emergence and phylogenetic diversity of Cronobacter. In summary, FDA's ability to protect the food supply is enhanced through the development of such methods that can rapidly detect foodborne pathogens. Furthermore, molecular methods for distinguishing, identifying, and tracking Cronobacter involved in foodborne illness can be of significant value during epidemiological investigations as well as analyzing incidences where food or food production sources have been contaminated. By applying highly discriminatory molecular methods such as next generation sequence-based DNA microarrays for identification and tracking of bacterial pathogens, the nature of foodborne outbreaks caused by these pathogens can be better understood thereby helping to ensure the safety and integrity of the food supply. It is hoped that this information will lead to better preventative and mitigating strategies for the control of these organisms within a manufacturing setting and to decrease the time needed to characterize isolates involved in outbreak cases. Once these further in-house validation experiments are accomplished, a multi-lab validation study and technology transfer to the FDA field, FERN, and global food safety partner laboratories can be further developed.

      JIP-255

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Detection and enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes in cantaloupe mesocarp (flesh); the role for temperature differential-driven internalization and transfer from contaminated rind
      Project Description: Postharvest washing and sanitizing of cantaloupes has limited efficiency in reducing populations of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms on the fruit surface. Complete elimination of microorganisms from cantaloupes is impossible due to specificities of surface morphology such as netted rind and crevices. Additionally, natural surface openings such stem scar, calyx, and lenticels can serve as ports of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) entry into the fruit. Research data on cantaloupe exocarp and mesocarp colonization by Lm is limited. The transfer rate for Lm from contaminated exocarp onto edible portions of the fruits in the process of fruit peeling or slicing is not well elucidated either. Our current research has demonstrated that Lm can infiltrate into cantaloupe fruit in the process of hydrocooling. This discovery can shift the paradigm of microbial safety of vegetable fruits and as a result affect regulation of current postharvest handling practices for cantaloupes and cucurbitaceous fruits in general. Thus, it is critical to identify factors facilitating Lm internalization during postharvest processing of cantaloupes. A better understanding of spatial distribution and growth dynamics of internalized Lm in the edible portions of the fruit will advance the Agency’s public health mission by filling knowledge gap in cantaloupe risk assessment.

      JIP-256(Old Project ID: JIP-244)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Testing a multiplex real-time PCR method for simultaneous detection of Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli 0157, and Listeria monocytogenes in FDA regulated foods.
      Project Description: Illnesses due to the ingestion of bacterial pathogens in contaminated food cause enormous cost to our nation both medically and economically. Hence, it is important to identify the specific pathogens in contaminated foods that cause various diseases such as gastroenteritis, listeriosis, hemolytic uremic syndrome, etc. Availability of a rapid and accurate method to identity these pathogens will immensely help FDA to carry out the regulatory action in a time sensitive fashion and thereby protect the health of the public swiftly. In this context, there is a great need for the rapid detection of Salmonella spp, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes. These are the most significant pathogens with respect to FDA-regulated products. The current FDA methods to identify these pathogens are laborious, time consuming, and can take up to seven days to get a result. On the other hand, nucleic acid based methods are rapid, mostly cost effective, and highly sensitive for detecting these pathogens. However, selectively as well as simultaneously enriching and isolating the pathogens from various food sources pose challenges; sometimes, false negative results create major problems too. A real-time PCR method to identify these three pathogens has been developed for meats by USDA. Our investigations show that this method could be useful also for FDA regulated foods. This project is aimed towards the evaluation, modification, and adaptation of the USDA method for FDA regulated foods, such as peanut butter, cantaloupe, lettuce, sprouts, strawberries, tomatoes, spices, and mangoes; all of these foods have been found to be contaminated by these organisms. Hence, we are developing a method to selectively enrich these three pathogens from artificially contaminated food samples, using a universal enrichment broth and simultaneously identifying these organisms using a multiplex real-time PCR assay in a Smart Cycler/ABI 7500 format.

      JIP-257

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Botulinum neurotoxin gene cluster sequence analysis for the development of reporter gene fusion cassettes
      Project Description: The objective of this research is to develop a botulinum neurotoxin gene promoter-reporter fusion cassette to study gene expression. This will enable FDA to monitor food-borne physiological conditions that lead to botulinum neurotoxin production in various food sources. To achieve this, BoNT gene promoters sequences belonging to various toxin producing strains needs to be analyzed, using bacterial promoter motif prediction tools. In addition, the amino acid sequence at the DNA binding region/motif of various strains or cluster types needs to be analyzed and compared. The product of this project will ultimately help us design optimal and consensus promoter sequences to which the reporter gene fusion cassettes could be constructed. Upon studying the expression of the toxin gene reporter, we could delineate the food-borne risk factors leading to toxin production, or develop methods to intervene toxin production.

      JIP-258(Old Project ID: JIP-242)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Development of a multiplex qPCR method for detection and serotyping of Listeria monocytogenes directly from food.
      Project Description: Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) can contaminate a variety of different foods and causes invasive listeriosis, which has a mortality rate of 20-50%. A faster screening method for Lm in high risk ready-to-eat food is important for reducing the incidence of foodborne listeriosis. However, methods currently available in the BAM for identifying listerial contamination take at least a week. Work in our and other laboratories has identified a set of PCR targets that positively identify an isolate as Lm and determines its serogroup in a pure culture. Preliminary work in our laboratory indicates this method may be able to detect Lm directly in food enrichment samples in approximately 24 hours. This project's next goals are to evaluate sample preparation guidelines and determine the sensitivity and accuracy of the qPCR method for detecting Lm in food and environmental enrichment samples. The method, if successful, will lead to a new method for regulatory use that will speed Lm identification of contaminated foods, provide serogroup characterization and, potentially, assess contamination levels within as little as 24 hours.

      JIP-259(Old Project ID: JIP-229)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Identification and Characterization of Salmonella enterica from Spices
      Project Description: In recent years, spices increasingly have been associated with outbreaks of Salmonella, showcasing the need for increased surveillance and an improved outbreak response. Unfortunately, many spices contain antimicrobial compounds that confound current methods used to detect Salmonella, yet allow the organism to survive in the dried product. In this investigation, Salmonella detection, isolation, and identification will be conducted from spices using additives that could be included in the pre-enrichment broth that could neutralize the antibacterial compounds and allow for detection of Salmonella in spices using cultural and molecular methods. The BAM chapter 5 Method for Salmonella will be used concurrently with molecular screening methods such as the PCR serotyping method, Real-Time PCR and metagenomics.

      JIP-260(Old Project ID: JIP-251, JIP-237)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Investigating the Global Genomic Diversity and Evolution of Cronobacter spp. using a newly developed next generation sequence-based DNA Microarray for technology transfer to FDA Field, FERN, and global Cronobacter food safety partner laboratories.
      Project Description: Cronobacter are ubiquitous organisms present in a wide range of environments, including water, soil, and a variety of fresh, dried, and processed foods. The bacterium has been isolated from factory production lines, including powdered infant formula factories, and households as well as clinical sources such as cerebrospinal fluid, blood, bone marrow, sputum, urine, and feces. The organism is an opportunistic pathogen of humans that can cause infections in all age groups. However, low birth weight neonates are most at risk and in this host group it has been associated with outbreaks of necrotizing enterocolitis, meningitis, and septicemia. Due to the severity of the infant infection, a better understanding of the genomic diversity among Cronobacter spp. is needed, and will be of interest to manufacturers of powdered infant formula, regulatory bodies, and those studying the emergence and phylogenetic diversity of Cronobacter. In summary, FDA's ability to protect the food supply is enhanced through the development of such methods that can rapidly detect foodborne pathogens. Furthermore, molecular methods for distinguishing, identifying, and tracking Cronobacter involved in foodborne illness can be of significant value during epidemiological investigations as well as analyzing incidences where food or food production sources have been contaminated. By applying highly discriminatory molecular methods such as next generation sequence- based DNA microarrays for identification and tracking of bacterial pathogens, the nature of foodborne outbreaks caused by these pathogens can be better understood thereby helping to ensure the safety and integrity of the food supply. It is hoped that this information will lead to better preventative and mitigating strategies for the control of these organisms within a manufacturing setting and to decrease the time needed to characterize isolates involved in outbreak cases. Once these further in- house validation experiments are accomplished, a multi-lab validation study and technology transfer to the FDA field, FERN, and global food safety partner laboratories can be further developed.

      JIP-244(Old Project ID: JIP235, JIP217)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Testing a multiplex real-time PCR method for simultaneous detection of Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli 0157, and Listeria monocytogenes in FDA regulated foods.
      Project Description: Illnesses due to the ingestion of bacterial pathogens in contaminated food cause enormous cost to our nation both medically and economically. Hence, it is important to identify the specific pathogens in contaminated foods that cause various diseases such as gastroenteritis, listeriosis, hemolytic uremic syndrome, etc. Availability of a rapid and accurate method to identity these pathogens will immensely help FDA to carry out the regulatory action in a time sensitive fashion and thereby protect the health of the public swiftly. In this context, there is a great need for the rapid detection of Salmonella spp, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes. These are the most significant pathogens with respect to FDA-regulated products. The current FDA methods to identify these pathogens are laborious, time consuming, and can take up to seven days to get a result. On the other hand, nucleic acid based methods are rapid, mostly cost effective, and highly sensitive for detecting these pathogens. However, selectively as well as simultaneously enriching and isolating the pathogens from various food sources pose challenges; sometimes, false negative results create major problems too. A real-time PCR method to identify these three pathogens has been developed for meats by USDA. Our investigations show that this method could be useful also for FDA regulated foods. This project is aimed towards the evaluation, modification, and adaptation of the USDA method for FDA regulated foods, such as peanut butter, cantaloupe, lettuce, sprouts, strawberries, tomatoes, spices, and mangoes; all of these foods have been found to be contaminated by these organisms. Hence, we are developing a method to selectively enrich these three pathogens from artificially contaminated food samples, using a universal enrichment broth and simultaneously identifying these organisms using a multiplex real-time PCR assay in a Smart Cycler/ABI 7500 format.

      JIP-251(Old Project ID: JIP237)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Characterization, identification, and subtyping of Cronobacter spp. from powdered infant formula and other dried foods using next-generation automated hybridization and sequencing technologies.
      Project Description: Cronobacter are ubiquitous organisms present in a wide range of environments, including water, soil, and a variety of fresh, dried, and processed foods. The bacterium has been isolated from factory production lines, including powdered infant formula factories, and households as well as clinical sources such as cerebrospinal fluid, blood, bone marrow, sputum, urine, and feces. The organism is an opportunistic pathogen of humans that can cause infections in all age groups. However, low birth weight neonates are most at risk and in this host group it has been associated with outbreaks of necrotizing enterocolitis, meningitis, and septicemia. Due to the severity of the infant infection, a better understanding of the genomic diversity among Cronobacter spp. is needed, and will be of interest to manufacturers of powdered infant formula, regulatory bodies, and those studying the emergence and diversity of Cronobacter. Two projects under study are: 1) recreation in silico of the pan genome of 24 strains involved in 12 cases which occurred during a two year outbreak investigation (2010-2012); and 2) use of the microarray to investigate the dynamics of the occurrence, persistence, and transference of Cronobacter spp. in powdered infant formula (PIF) products associated with a PIF manufacturing facility. The last study is in collaboration with Dr. Shea Fanning, UCD, Dublin, Ireland. This information will lead to better preventative and mitigating strategies for the control of these organisms within a manufacturing setting and will decrease the time needed to characterize isolates involved in outbreak cases. Once these in-house validation experiments are accomplished, a multi-lab validation study and technology transfer to FERN and global food safety partner laboratories can be further developed.

      JIP-242

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Development of a multiplex qPCR method for detection and serotyping of Listeria monocytogenes directly from food.
      Project Description: Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) can contaminate a variety of different foods and cause invasive listeriosis, which has a mortality rate of 20-50%. This has led to a zero tolerance policy for Listeria contamination. However, methods currently available in the Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) for identifying listerial contamination take at least a week. Work in our and other laboratories has identified a set of PCR targets that positively identify an isolate as Lm and determines its serogroup in a pure culture. Preliminary work suggests this method may work directly on food enrichment samples. This project’s goals are to modify the current method by developing primers and probes applicable to a qPCR format that would be more amenable to a high throughput analysis. The modified PCR technique will be assessed against a set of isolates to verify accuracy. The method will then be further developed to determine the steps to detect and serogroup Lm in contaminated food samples, skipping the isolation of a pure culture. The method developed will lead to a new method for BAM that will speed identification of contaminated foods, provide serogroup characterization and, potentially, assess contamination levels within as little as 24 hours.

      JIP-241

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Phenotypic Characterizations and Comparisons of Salmonella Isolated from Tomato-Related Agricultural Environments
      Project Description: Outbreaks of Salmonella linked to the consumption of tomatoes have presented a perplexing problem to food safety. Until recently Salmonella was considered to only be an animal pathogen incapable to long term survival in the environment. Recent work has highlighted the fact that this organism can not only survive on plants and in soils, sediments and water for extended periods of time, but may be actively growing. In light of these realizations there is a need to better understand the ecology of Salmonella interactions with plants, specifically those intended for human consumptions, such as tomatoes. Over the past five years CFSAN/ORS has collected several hundred environmental isolates of Salmonella from areas in close proximity to tomato agriculture. There is a need to phenotypically characterize these isolates to determine if they possess traits which allow for better environmental survival and colonization potential of tomato plants. The data gathered from this project will help to fill knowledge gaps in Salmonella-plant interactions providing key insights into select adaptations that tomato-borne salmonellae have acquired. This in turn will help to enhance current control strategies through the identification of selective nutrient requirements and other traits that affect survival in the tomato growing environments. Ultimately this will lead to the design of new preventative controls and good agricultural practices to avert the contamination of ready-to-eat fresh produce on farm and post-harvest.

      JIP-194

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Characterization of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Newport isolates Associated with the Outbreak of 2010.
      Project Description: Several strains of Salmonella enterica have been recently identified for food- borne outbreaks in the United States. Determining a rapid method to sub- type these organisms is important for a rapid response to future outbreaks and is important for inclusivity/exclusivity of future Salmonella strains associated with food-borne outbreaks. This study will provide a rapid identification mechanisms associated with this unusual serovar of Salmonella, Saint paul. Understanding the genetic variation that defines the Saint Paul serovar will provide knowledge for future assay design when developing detection methods for Salmonella in foods. In particular we will focus our methods for LC/MS mass spectroscopy using base composition as the diagnostic criteria for identification.

      JIP-222

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Fungal and aflatoxin contamination of milk thistle supplements
      Project Description: Milk thistle (MT) supplements are very popular in the U.S. today. They are used to promote liver health due to their high content of silymarin (a complex of flavonolignans and polyphenols). Very little is known about the mycological quality of these commodities. Preliminary tests conducted in our laboratory have shown the presence of moulds from the Aspergillus flavus group in such products. These fungi are capable of producing highly toxic and carcinogenic secondary metabolites, aflatoxins, in a variety of agricultural commodities; therefore, it is possible that herbal supplements such as milk thistle also contain aflatoxins. Other mould-related toxins could also be present in milk thistle supplements if respective organisms are present and able to grow on these products. Additionally, certain fungi (moulds and yeasts) are opportunistic pathogens causing infections in certain human populations. Therefore, it is essential that fungal contamination profiles for these supplements be established. Developing fungal profiles and detecting the presence of toxigenic moulds in these products will enable FDA to determine if certain mould-related toxic metabolites are likely to be present in the same products. Since there is no universal method available for mycotoxin detection, it would be very time-consuming and costly to analyze a product (e.g. a milk thistle supplement) for each possible mycotoxin separately; knowing which moulds are present in a specific supplement will enable us to look for the right toxin(s) and save the Agency time, effort and funds. Further testing for suspect mycotoxins can lead to regulation of these metabolites. This research will benefit the Agency and the consumer by revealing the mycological quality of milk thistle supplements and any associated potential health hazards due to aflatoxin. The results of this study will also serve as a guide for the analysis of these commodities for mycotoxins other than aflatoxin. Mould profiles and mycotoxin analysis data can serve as a basis for regulation of these supplements. Revealing trends of fungal contamination in milk thistle supplements could also help the industry adopt better handling and storage practices in order to control such contamination and spoilage of these commodities. Control of fungal contamination and regulation of milk thistle supplements will benefit the consumer by making these products safer for consumption.

      JIP-229

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Identification and Characterization of Salmonella enterica from Spices
      Project Description: In this investigation Salmonella detection, isolation, and identification will be conducted from black pepper samples. The BAM Chapter 5 Method for Salmonella will be used concurrently with molecular screening methods such as the PCR serotyping method, the CDC bioplex and Check & Trace Salmonella Kit. The detection of Salmonella enterica, one of the main causes of gastroenteritis, is a high priority in microbiological analysis for food safety. A major challenge is that conventional serotyping often takes 5 to 10 days to generate a result. The multiplex PCR based method, capable of detecting 30 of the most common serotypes of clinically relevant S. enterica subsp. Enterica, may be able to provide the serotype within 24 to 48 h from pre- enrichment and selective enrichment broth cultures from produce. The information from this research will be useful in developing faster detection and characterization of Salmonella in the event of an outbreak and thus improve the safety of the food supply and provides useful insights for both risk assessment and policy formulation.

      JIP-230

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: MassCode PCR spectroscopy liquid array as a tool for genetic Listeria spp
      Project Description: Our lab focuses on the development and validation of methods to detect and characterize bacteria in food. More efficient molecular methods are needed to more rapidly and accurately identify and type pathogenic bacteria. These methods may be more cost effective, and thus more accessible to industry partners. Currently, several molecular methods (PCR, multiplex PCR, RT - PCR, and Bioplex) are used by FDA, CDC or USDA to identify Listeria spp. Our lab is working with Agilent Technologies to develop MassCode PCR spectroscopy array (Mass Code) as an alternative platform for Listeria and other microorganism detection. The MassCode technology involves two steps. First, multiplex PCR is performed such that each amplified product is labeled with a different tag and analyzed by fragment size using an Agilent Technologies instrument (Bioanalyzer). Second, the amplified PCR products are labeled using specific probes which are detected and distinguished using mass spectroscopy. The technology has a high throughput capability and potentially superior reproducibility.

      JIP-233(Old Project ID: JIP-226)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Identification of virulence factors that contribute to the enterotoxicity of Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
      Project Description: While the estimated incidence of infection with Shiga toxin- producing Escherichia coli 0 157:H7 (STEC 0157) and species of Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Listeria, Salmonella, and Yersinia significantly decreased from 1998 to 2010, the incidence of Vibrio infections during this period increased 115%. Higher water temperatures caused by global warming are thought to contribute to the increased Vibrio contamination rates of shellfish. Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the most common non-cholera Vibrio species reported to cause infections. Although most V. parahaemolyticus (Vp) strains are non-pathogenic for humans, a limited subpopulation of these organisms cause human diseases. Gastroenteritis produced by pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus is attributed to the production of a thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) and/or the TDH related hemolysin (TRH) as well as to the inflammatory response produced by a number of effector protein secreted by a type III secretion system (T3SS-2). However, so far very few T3SS-2 effector proteins have been identified. The goal of this project is to identify effector proteins involved in the enterotoxigenicity of V parahaemolyticus. In silica analysis of the 80 kb pathogenicity island (PI) containing T3SS-2, showed 27 ORFs as candidates that encode for putative effector proteins. The putative effector proteins will be screened for their ability to inhibit growth when expressed in yeast. Then we will use a β-lactamase fusion receptor system to demonstrate that the yeast inhibitor proteins trans locate into HeLa cells in vitro in a TTSS-dependent manner. This method has been recently used to identify TTSS effector proteins in V. cholerae. The role of the identified effector proteins to induce fluid accumulation will be determined using the suckling mouse infection model and the CHO cell elongation assay after cloning and mutating the putative effector gene.

      JIP-235(Old Project ID: JIP-217)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Testing a multiplex real-time PCR method for simultaneous detection of Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli 0157, and Listeria monocytogenes in FDA regulated foods
      Project Description: : Illnesses due to the ingestion of bacterial pathogens in contaminated food cause enormous cost to our nation both medically and economically. Hence, it is important to identify the specific pathogens in contaminated foods that cause various diseases such as gastroenteritis, listeriosis, hemolytic uremic syndrome, etc. Availability of a rapid and accurate method to identity these pathogens will immensely help FDA to carry out the regulatory action in a time sensitive fashion and thereby protect the health of the public swiftly. In this context, there is a great need for the rapid detection of Salmonella spp, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes. These are the most significant pathogens with respect to FDA-regulated products. The current FDA methods to identify these pathogens are laborious, time consuming, and can take up to five days to get a result. On the other hand, nucleic acid based methods are rapid, mostly cost effective, and highly sensitive for detecting these pathogens. However, selectively as well as simultaneously enriching and isolating the pathogens from various food sources pose challenges; sometimes, false negative results create major problems too. Recently, a real-time PCR method to identify these three pathogens has been developed for meats by USDA. Our investigations show that this method could be useful also for FDA regulated foods. This project is aimed towards the evaluation, modification, and adaptation of the USDA method for FDA regulated foods, such as peanut butter, cantaloupe, lettuce, salad, sprouts. These foods have been found to be contaminated by these organisms. Hence, we are developing a method to selectively enrich these three pathogens from artificially contaminated food samples, using a universal enrichment broth and simultaneously identifying these organisms using a multiplex real-time PCR assay in a Smart Cycler format.

      JIP-237

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Investigating the Global Genomic Diversity and Evolution of Cronobacter spp. using a Next-Gen DNA Microarray technology for inclusion into the Pathogen-annotated Tracking Resource Network (PATRN) via NCTR's ArrayTrack for technology transfer to FDA Field and FERN laboratories.
      Project Description: Cronobacter are ubiquitous organisms present in a wide range of environments, including water, soil, and a variety of fresh and processed foods. The bacterium has been isolated from factory production lines, including powdered infant formula factories, and households, as well as clinical sources such as cerebrospinal fluid, blood, bone marrow, sputum, urine, and feces. The organism is an opportunistic pathogen of humans that can cause infections in all age groups. However, low birth weight neonates are most at risk and in this host group it has been associated with outbreaks of necrotizing enterocolitis, meningitis, and septicemia. Due to the severity of infant infection, a better understanding of the genomic variation among Cronobacter spp. is needed, and will be of interest to manufacturers of powdered infant formula, regulatory bodies, and those studying the emergence and diversity of Cronobacter pathogenicity. The Pathogen Annotated Tracking Resource Network (PATRN) is a web-based, integrated system that will serve as a comprehensive resource for the scientific and epidemiological investigation of food-borne pathogens. As part of the PATRN Development Team, we intend to make a significant contribution of genomic microarray data. This information represents a pilot study which will be part of a technology transfer program initiated between OARSA and FDA Field and FERN laboratories.

      JIP-219

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Adaptation of Listeria monocytogenes in high osmolarity and refrigeration temperature.
      Project Description: Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of human listeriosis, which accounts for at least 2500 infections and 500 deaths per year in the USA. The disease affects immuno-compromised individuals and pregnant women causing septicemia, meningitis, still and premature births. The organism has also caused several gastroenteritis outbreaks in healthy populations. The overall societal burden due to foodborne listeriosis is staggering. The vast majority of human listeriosis cases, sporadic and outbreak, are associated with the consumption of contaminated foods. L. monocytogenes has been isolated from nearly all kinds of foods including ready-to-eat foods (RTE), foods containing high amounts of salt and foods with an extended shelf life. The ability of Listeria to survive and grow at refrigeration temperature and high salt environment, the two main hurdles for controlling bacterial load in food industry, makes it extremely challenging to control Listeria in foods.

      JIP-226

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Identification of virulence factors that contribute to the enterotoxicity of Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
      Project Description: While the estimated incidence of infection with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157) and species of Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Listeria, Salmonella, and Yersinia significantly decreased from 1998 to 2010, the incidence of Vibrio infections during this period during this period increased 115% (95% confience interval ([CI], 63%-187%). Increased water temperature caused by global warming is thought to contribute to these increased contamination rates of shellfish with Vibrio species. Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the most common non- cholera Vibrio species reported to cause infections. The CDC estimates that there will be about 45,000 cases (90% CI, 23,000-75,000) of V. parahaemolyticus yearly in the US. These reports indicate that contamination of shellfish with V. parahaemolyticus is a safety concern in the US. Although most V. parahaemolyticus strains are nonpathogenic for humans, a limited population of these organisms causes human diseases. Identification of virulence markers that can distinguish pathogenic from nonpathogenic strains will improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of V. parahaemolyticus, and eventually this information will help in decresing the risk of contamination with this food-borne pathogen. The gastroenteritis produced by pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus is attributed to the production of a thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) and/or the TDH- related hemolysin (TRH) as well as to the inflammatory response produced by a number of effector proteins secreted by a type III secretion system (TTSS-2). However, so far very few TTSS-2 effector proteins have been identified.

      JIP-210

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Establish methodology for assessing inflammatory cytokine expression (mRNA and protein) in infectious and inflammatory models of foodborne pathogens.
      Project Description: Foodborne diseases cause an estimated 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Facultative intracellular foodborne pathogens like Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes both pose difficult health problems in susceptible human populations. Animals with defined or targeted defects in their immune system are useful surrogates for evaluating human susceptibility to infection and studying immune- related risk factors. This project will identify and evaluate the participation of innate cellular immunity and antigen specific immunity (T-cell and B-cell- mediated) in host immune response to foodborne pathogens and evaluate the use of animal models as surrogates for human pathogenic mechanisms to specifically determine if animals having one or more immune defects are feasible for examining disease outcomes as it relates to the immunocompromised host. The goal is the acquisition of quantitative data that is applicable to probabilistic risk assessment modeling for use in program policy and regulatory practice improvements to miminize public health risk.

      JIP-227

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Isolation and identification of yeasts with antagonistic activities against Penicillium expansum, the main cause of postharvest spoilage and patulin production in apples
      Project Description: Apples and apple products are widely consumed due to their favorable nutritive, sensory and possibly health-promoting properties. A persisting problem with apples after harvest is the spoilage and patulin (PAT) accumulation by the mould, Penicillium expansum. Patulin is a highly toxic and mutagenic mycotoxin that is often found in spoiled apples and apple products (e.g. apple juice, apple cider, apple purees, etc.) at levels above the 50 ppb level set by FDA. Several methods have been employed to reduce PAT in apple products with varying degrees of success. The best way of producing patulin-free apple products is by controlling postharvest spoilage of apples by P. expansum. Currently, synthetic fungicides have been utilized to inhibit the growth of this mould in stored apples. Some strains of P. expansum, however, have acquired resistance to commonly- used fungicides and they can no longer be controlled by these chemicals. Additionally, there is a trend in recent years to limit the use of synthetic fungicides in order to reduce contamination of the environment and avoid certain adverse effects of these chemicals on human health. Therefore, a tremendous need for alternative methods for postharvest fungal control exists. The use of biocontrol agents is an attractive option. A few yeast strains have been tested and exhibited varying degrees of inhibitory capabilities against P. expansum. Their performance, however, was not consistent. Better strains must be identified. The purpose of this study is to test additional ATCC yeast strains and isolate new, wild ones (from apples) that exhibit high efficiencies in inhibiting the growth of P. expansum and the production of PAT in apples. Identification of yeasts with dynamic inhibitory properties against P. expansum will help resolve the patulin problem in apple products.

      JIP-276(Old Project ID: JIP260,JIP251,JIP237)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Statistical data analysis on botulinum neurotoxin detection assays and genomic analysis of botulinum neurotoxin gene regulatory elements in proteolytic and non-proteolytic strains of C. botulinum
      Project Description: Cronobacter are ubiquitous organisms present in a wide range of environments, including water, soil, and a variety of fresh, dried, and processed foods. The bacterium has been isolated from factory production lines, including powdered infant formula factories, and households as well as clinical sources such as cerebrospinal fluid, blood, bone marrow, sputum, urine, and feces. The organism is an opportunistic pathogen of humans that can cause infections in all age groups. However, low birth weight neonates are most at risk and in this host group it has been associated with outbreaks of necrotizing enterocolitis, meningitis, and septicemia. Due to the severity of the infant infection, a better understanding of the genomic diversity among Cronobacter spp. is needed, and will be of interest to manufacturers of powdered infant formula, regulatory bodies, and those studying the emergence and phylogenetic diversity of Cronobacter. In summary, FDA's ability to protect the food supply is enhanced through the development of such methods that can rapidly detect foodborne pathogens. Furthermore, molecular methods for distinguishing, identifying, and tracking Cronobacter involved in foodborne illness can be of significant value during epidemiological investigations as well as analyzing incidences where food or food production sources have been contaminated. By applying highly discriminatory molecular methods such as next generation sequence- based DNA microarrays for identification and tracking of bacterial pathogens, the nature of foodborne outbreaks caused by these pathogens can be better understood thereby helping to ensure the safety and integrity of the food supply. It is hoped that this information will lead to better preventative and mitigating strategies for the control of these organisms within a manufacturing setting and to decrease the time needed to characterize isolates involved in outbreak cases. Once these further in- house validation experiments are accomplished, a multi-lab validation study and technology transfer to the FDA field, FERN, and global food safety partner laboratories can be further developed.

      JIP-267

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Nitrate respiration as an universal selective enrichment for multiple bacterial foodborne pathogens
      Project Description: Concerns in food safety and food defense require sensitive methods to rapidly track and identify bacterial strains involved in outbreaks of foodborne diseases. Currently, non-selective pre-enrichment broths and various semi- selective enrichment media can be utilized to enrich for the pathogen of interest, yet these media are generally not specific enough to efficiently suppress the growth of the background flora, and too specific to allow for the growth of multiple pathogens. We are exploring the ability of most bacterial foodborne pathogens to grow in the absence of oxygen and use nitrate for respiration to develop a specific enrichment step to enhance their detection from different produce types. A universal one-step enrichment approach would decrease media requirements, improve processing speed and throughput analysis of samples while allowing the ability to detect multiple pathogens.

      JIP-266(Old Project ID: JIP259)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Identification and Characterization of Salmonella enterica from Spices
      Project Description: In this investigation Salmonella detection, isolation, and identification will be conducted from spices using additives that could be included in the pre- enrichment broth that could sequester the antimicrobial compounds and allow for detection of Salmonella in spices using cultural and molecular methods. The BAM chapter 5 Method for Salmonella will be used concurrently with molecular screening methods such as the PCR serotyping method, and metagenomics. In recent years, spices increasingly have been associated with outbreaks of Salmonella, showcasing the need for increased surveillance and an improved outbreak response. Unfortunately, many spices contain antimicrobial compounds that confound current methods used to detect Salmonella, yet allow the organism to survive in the dried product. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of compounds to sequester these antimicrobial compounds while allowing Salmonella growth during pre- enrichment culture, a crucial step that will enhance detection using both traditional culture and molecular methods.

      JIP-268

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Evaluation of the effect of food and temperature on Lm survival in synthetic gastric fluid
      Project Description: Recently there has been a trend in foods not typically associated with listeriosis causing disease, as with the cantaloupe and caramel apple outbreaks. One question raised was whether certain foods or storage conditions could contribute to the ability of L. monocytogenes to cause disease. It is known that stress adaptation mechanisms can also play a role in virulence so it is possible that certain stress conditions could trigger a heightened ability of Lm to cause disease by enhancing survival in subsequent stresses, like gastric fluid. Evaluation of the effect of prior adaption to alter Lm survival in synthetic gastric fluid will allow us to determine whether certain foods and/or conditions should be considered higher risk. Information addressing this knowledge gap could assist risk assessment in determining analyzing foods for disease-causing potential.

      JIP-270

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Genomic analysis of hibernators-persistors contaminating low water activity foods and dietary supplements with long shelf lives to develop strategies to minimize their viability
      Project Description: During many of the kill steps used in food processing arenas to reduce the populations of pathogens contaminating foods, a small fraction of cells typically survive through entering the so-called persister state. Persister cells are increasingly being viewed as a major cause of recurrent chronic infectious disease and in the emergence of foodborne disease. The phenomenon of persistence remains poorly understood, but it is thought that persister cells form stochastically by switching into and out of a state of slow growth or dormancy. Only recently, a series of breakthrough discoveries has started to shed light on persister cell physiology and the molecular and genetic underpinnings of persister formation. Toxin- antitoxin (TA) systems have been implicated in the formation of the persistence phenotype in some bacterial species including E.coli and Salmonella. The TA systems include MqsR/MqsA, TisB/IstR-1 and hipA. There is limited information available on the development of persistor cells in food products. Low water activity or dry food matrices like Powdered Infant Formula (PIF), some dietary supplements, spices, nuts and other products provide a conducive growth environment that may be contributing to the induction of persistent cells in these food products. It is critical to develop specific laboratory strategies to identify the presence of persister cells, to understand the factors contributing to their induction and to develop methods to prevent them from surviving. Combining microbiological methods in selected food matrices with a metagenomics approach may lead to effective strategies to prevent the risk posed by contaminating bacterial persister sub-populations in food matrices having long shelf lives and will augment current CFSAN metagenomic approaches. We propose to study the formation and recovery processes of persistors in low water activity food matrices to develop effective strategies to prevent the formation of persistors and if present, inhibit their ability to survive in food products regulated by FDA.

      JIP-269

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Development and Evaluation of Enumeration Protocols for L. monocytogenes in Select Foods
      Project Description: Detection and enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes in FDA regulated foods are crucial for the control of foodborne listeriosis. The FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) does not describe the enumeration protocols with sufficient details and clarity. It is critical to determine the best approach for enumerating L. monocytogenes in each individual food matrix because food samples enumerated for L. monocytogenes during regular surveillance and outbreak investigations, especially the data obtained from food samples implicated in human diseases, would improve our understanding of the risk of foodborne exposure to L. monocytogenes, especially in determining infectious dose, which would affect FDA’s regulatory strategy for this pathogen by providing better scientific evidence for risk assessment and guidance development.

      JIP-271

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Evaluation of a Metagenomic Approach for the Early Detection of Salmonella in Cilantro
      Project Description: Salmonella infections account for ~38% of reported food-borne infections each year in the United States. Improving culture methods for the detection of Salmonella in food suspected of contamination is a primary concern at the FDA. The FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM) culture method for the isolation of Salmonella from produce, can take several days to complete since it requires the use of multiple enrichment broths and selective agars to confirm Salmonella contamination. There is a need to reduce the time required to detect Salmonella and to improve recovery rates from produce. This project will utilize cilantro as a model commodity for leafy green produce, in a metagenomic and enumeration study to detect Salmonella directly from broth cultures. The first step in the BAM method for Salmonella detection in leafy green produce is a 24-hour non-selective pre-enrichment. Non-selective pre-enrichment broth cultures spiked with Salmonella will be examined at various time points using shotgun metagenomic and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and enumerated for Salmonella using Most Probable Number (MPN) analysis. This project will address a particular milestone to compare MPN results to metagenomic proportional abundances and sequence coverage of the Salmonella genome in metagenomic samples.

      JIP-275(Old Project ID: JIP257)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Statistical data analysis on botulinum neurotoxin detection assays and genomic analysis of botulinum neurotoxin gene regulatory elements in proteolytic and non-proteolytic strains of C. botulinum
      Project Description: Food borne physiological conditions such as pH, temperature, ionic- strength, oxygen tension, nutritional status etc, can impact botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) production by Clostridium botulinum. One of the objectives is to develop BoNT gene promoter-reporter fusion cassette to study BoNT gene expression. This cassette will be chromosomally inserted in to C. sporogenes PA3679 strain to develop a novel engineered recombinant surrogate system, as a tool to understand food-borne risk factors. Upon spiking the surrogate strain in food samples and by monitoring reporter gene expression, both permissive and non-permissive physiological conditions that induce or prevent toxin production can be studied under defined conditions. This will eventually allow us delineate and validate various food processing and preservative methods that can help prevent toxin production and botulism outbreaks. There is sufficient evidence to hypothesize that the toxin regulation in proteolytic (Group I) and non-proteolytic (Group II) strains of C. botulinum may be different. However, the molecular regulatory features present in these two physiologically diverse groups of strains, have never been analyzed and compared. The available genome sequence information of neurotoxigenic strains indicate two types of BoNT gene clusters exist, orfX & ha. The toxin operons belonging to the orfX & ha toxin-cluster types are controlled by a positive regulator, BotR, in majority of strains, while it may also be controlled by homologous sigma factors, in few strains. However, the whole genome sequence information for proteolytic group II strains are not well represented compared to the group I genome sequence information.

      JIP-272(Old Project ID: JIP255)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Detection and enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes in cantaloupe mesocarp (flesh); the role for temperature differential-driven internalization and transfer from contaminated rind
      Project Description: Postharvest washing and sanitizing of cantaloupes has limited efficiency in reducing populations of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms on the fruit surface. Complete elimination of microorganisms from cantaloupes is impossible due to specificities of surface morphology such as netted rind and crevices. Additionally, natural surface openings such stem scar, calyx, and lenticels can serve as ports of L. monocytogenes (Lm) entry into the fruit. Research data on cantaloupe exocarp and mesocarp colonization by Lm is limited. The transfer rate for Lm from contaminated exocarp onto edible portions of the fruits in the process of fruit peeling or slicing is not well elucidated either. Our research demonstrated that Lm can infiltrate into cantaloupe fruit in the process of hydrocooling. This discovery can shift the paradigm of microbial safety of vegetable fruits and as a result affect regulation of current postharvest handling practices for cantaloupes and cucurbitaceous fruits in general. Thus, it is critical to identify the mechanism of Lm internalization during hydrocooling of cantaloupes. A better understanding of spatial distribution and growth dynamics of internalized Lm in the edible portions of the fruit will advance the Agency’s public health mission by filling knowledge gap in cantaloupe risk assessment. The incumbent will focus on the microscopic (immunofluorescence) analysis of the cantaloupe vascular tissue from fruits subjected to hydrocooling in water contaminated with Lm. A newly acquired Zeiss 880 Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope (LSCM) by the Division of Microbiology will be used for this purpose. Edible portions of the fruit adjacent to the stem scar, mid-section of the fruit, seed cavity, and adjacent to the calix will be analyzed separately to obtain a picture of the Lm migration trajectory via the vascular tissue of the fruit. The potential of the Lm to infiltrate into the mescoarp after spot contamination of the rind will also be evaluated. These experiments will involve both western and eastern cantaloupe varieties. If cantaloupe surface becomes contaminated under preharvest conditions (rare event) or it is contaminated during postharvest processing (e.g. Jansen farm outbreak) complete decontamination of the netted rind is impossible. It is critical to assess the risk of Lm transfer from contaminated rind to mesocarp in the process of fruits preparations. At consecutive time intervals (1, 3, 7, 14 days) after fruit surface inoculation, the incumbent will evaluate Lm transfer rate from contaminated rind to edible portions of the fruit in the process of cantaloupe peeling and slicing. Transfer rate on eastern cantaloupe varieties with smooth rind will be compared to that on western varieties with a netted rind.

      JIP-300

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Impact of O2 and CO2 levels, nitrate and enrichment broth on the growth of various foodborne bacterial species and other bacteria typically associated with background flora for sprouts and leafy greens
      Principal Investigators: Binet, Rachel
      Project Description: Concerns in food safety and food defense require sensitive methods to rapidly track and identify bacterial strains involved in outbreaks of foodborne diseases. Currently, non-selective pre-enrichment broths and various semi-selective enrichment media can be utilized to enrich for the pathogen of interest, yet these media are generally not specific enough to efficiently suppress the growth of the background flora, and too specific to allow for the growth of multiple pathogens. We are exploring the ability of foodborne pathogens to grow in modified controlled atmospheres low in oxygen and high in carbon dioxide, and use nitrate for respiration, to develop a specific enrichment step to enhance their detection from different high-background level fresh food products. A universal one-step enrichment approach would decrease media requirements, improve processing speed and throughput analysis of samples while allowing the ability to detect multiple pathogens. In addition, considering that fresh food products are generally stored in controlled atmosphere gas conditions that are typically very low in O2 and moderately high in CO2 to reduce oxidative deterioration and slow down the proliferation of spoilage organisms, the research will also provide insights useful for both risk assessment and policy formulation for food quality and safety.
      Project Objective: • Perform growth curve experiments in microplate readers in controlled atmosphere environments [20% CO2, 10% CO2 or 5% CO2] with [21% O2, 3% O2 or 0.3%O2]. We will examine the growth of representatives from Shigella, Escherichia, Salmonella, Pantoea, Enterobacter, Morganella, Serratia, Cronobacter, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella and Enterococcus, Lactococcus, Lysinibacillus, Paenibacillus, Bacillus, Steptococcus at 37ºC. • Analyze the data to calculate the growth parameters (latency and doubling time) of each species analyzed in particular environmental conditions • Recovery assays from various food types spiked with Shigella
      Project Needs and Duration: Basic microbiology/bacteriology knowledge is required for this internship. A candidate should also be organized and have the ability to focus while setting up experiments. The estimated duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions. This project will run from Summer 2017 through Spring 2018
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-240

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Dose-response and Immunological-response Studies in Mice after Oral Infection with Murinized Listeria monocytogenes
      Project Description: Foodborne diseases cause an estimated 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Facultative intracellular foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes (LM) pose difficult health problems in susceptible human populations. Animals with defined or targeted defects in their immune system are useful surrogates for evaluating human susceptibility to infection and studying immune responses. This study will use Immune-compromised animal models to identify and characterize biomarkers of immune susceptibility, and to develop more accurate dose-response models. Oral infection with incremental dosages of murinized LM strain will allow us to evaluate susceptibility of young (6-12 weeks age) C57BL/6 mice. This will also allow us to determine the infective dose; and LM-infection induced progression & immunopathology at the organ level will be evaluated by examining infected mouse tissues & isolated lymphoid tissue (T-cells, B- cells) for the identification of immune biomarkers of susceptibility and disease progression. In vitro assays using macrophage cells lines or primary mouse macrophages will be used to identify new biomarkers after LM infection. This project will identify dose-response data, new biomarkers, and evaluate the outcome of infection with foodborne pathogens, with a goal of providing quantitative data that is applicable to probabilistic risk assessment modeling. This project will also investigate the use of new animal models as surrogates for human pathogenic mechanisms to specifically determine if animals having one or more immune defects are relevant or feasible for examining disease outcome as it relates to the immunocompromised individuals. This data can be used to improve program policies and regulatory practices to minimize public health risk of foodborne diseases, particularly in our most susceptible citizens.

      JIP-213

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Assessment of pathology and immunological biomarker expression in mice following exposure to STEC-associated Shiga Toxin 2.
      Project Description: Foodborne illness caused by the enteric STEC are an important public health problem in the U.S. It is estimated that 73,480 illnesses occur in the U.S. each year, with approximately 2,186 hospitalization and 61 deaths. Due to the cytotoxic effects of Shiga Toxin 2, STEC infections may result in further life-threatening conditions including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and central nervous system complications. Recently, a useful mouse model of HUS has been developed, which would allow for further examination of immune responses to Shiga toxin 2 and correlate this with the spectrum of responses to non-0157 STEC. In this study, we would like to use the HUS mouse model to examine the differences in immune responses between STEC isolates, including differences in macrophage cytokine responses and cellular activity and receptor expression. The results of this study will help to identify the pathobiological responses to STEC and to determine whether different responses can be used to assess virulence of these strains.

      JIP-217

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Development of a multiplex real-time PCR method for simultaneous detection of Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes in soft cheese and spinach
      Project Description: Illnesses due to the ingestion of bacterial pathogens in contaminated food cause enormous cost to our nation both medically and economically. Hence, it is important to identify the specific pathogens in contaminated foods that cause various diseases such as gastroenteritis, listeriosis, hemolytic uremic syndrome etc. Some times, these diseases can even lead to death. Availability of a rapid and accurate method to identity these pathogens will immensely help FDA to carry out the regulatory action in a time sensitive fashion and thereby protecting the health of the public swiftly. In this context, there is a great need for the rapid detection of Salmonella spp, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes; these are the most significant pathogens with respect to FDA-regulated products. The current FDA methods to identify these pathogens are laborious, time consuming and can take up to 5 days to get a result. On the other hand, nucleic acid based methods are rapid, mostly cost effective and highly sensitive for detecting these pathogens. However, selectively as well as simultaneously enriching and isolating the pathogens from various food sources pose challenges; sometimes, false negative results create major problems too. Recently, a real-time PCR (RT-PCR) method to identify these three pathogens has been developed for meats by USDA. It appears that this method could be useful also for FDA regulated foods. This project is aimed towards the evaluation, modification and adaptation of the USDA method for FDA regulated foods such as cheese and spinach; both of these foods have been found to be contaminated by these organisms. Hence, we are developing a method to selectively enrich these three pathogens from artificially contaminated soft cheese and spinach, using a universal enrichment broth and simultaneously identifying these organisms using multiplex RT-PCR assay in Smart Cycler format.

    Back to the top

    - Toxicology

      JIP-265

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Computational Toxicology: Analysis of the Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS)-regulated substances in the ToxCast database.
      Project Description: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Center for Computational Toxicology initiated the Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) program in 2007. ToxCast uses in silico/computational data from in vitro high-throughput screening (HTS) assays to predict the bioactivity profile and toxicity of chemicals and to rank those that need toxicity testing by identifying targets or molecular pathways linked to toxicity, called Adverse Outcome Pathways. The first phase of ToxCast involved 309 unique chemicals, most of which were food-use pesticides that were rich in animal toxicity data. The second phase of ToxCast involved the addition of other environmental chemicals to expand the database. FDA joined the ToxCast initiative by providing the names of 98 CFSAN-regulated compounds to the database, including substances regulated by OFAS. This research project will investigate the bioactivity profiles of OFAS- regulated substances in ToxCast. This project will result in: 1) a database to examine the differences and similarities in the in silico, in vitro and in vivo toxicology data sets for OFAS-regulated substances, and, 2) a report outlining the results of these evaluations. This information will improve our knowledge of the role and impact of computational toxicology on FDA’s safety or regulatory considerations and help OFAS staff determine if ToxCast data will impact OFAS’ safety evaluations, which inform the office’s regulatory decisions and actions.

    Back to the top

    - Public Health

      JIP-287(Old Project ID: 274)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Antibody characterization and immunoassay for detection of food allergens and gluten
      Project Description: Strict avoidance of foods containing an allergen and gluten is the only choice currently available for consumers suffering from food allergy and celiac disease, respectively. Labeling regulations such as FALCPA and gluten-free rule are enacted to ensure the safety of these individuals by the use of robust and sensitive allergen detection methods. ELISA is commonly used method for food allergen detection, but its accuracy may be affected when foods undergoes thermal and non-thermal processing which destroys the antibody binding epitope region of the antigen. This project will develop specific antibodies against modified antigens and develop immunoassays that can help detect and accurately quantify food allergens and gluten.

      JIP-294

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Content Analysis and Variation in State Retail Regulations and Retail Food Safety Guidance
      Principal Investigators: Liggans, Girvin
      Project Description: This project will involve examining and comparing state retail food regulations with the FDA Food Code and conducting content analysis of retail food safety laws enacted in the 50 states from 2012-2016. CFSAN’s Retail Food Protection Staff (RFPS) is attempting to better understand and document: 1. The presence, similarities/differences of various Food Code related provisions and definitions in state Food Codes 2. The equivalency of various state Food Code provision with the FDA Food Code 3. Provisions that are present in state Food Codes but absent in the FDA Food Code 4. The types, similarities, and characteristics of the retail food safety laws being enacted at the state level 5. How regulatory partners at the state, local, tribal, and territorial levels incorporate Food Code provisions into their regulatory documents, and use the internet to deliver retail food safety information to their stakeholders. 6. The types, similarities, and characteristics of the retail regulations being enacted in the 50 states. This information will be used to inform decisions regarding the technical assistance to be provided by FDA to regulatory retail food safety, better understand policy diffusion, and evaluate the need to make potential changes to the FDA Food Code. The FDA publishes the Food Code, a model that assists food control jurisdictions at all levels of government by providing them with a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service segment of the industry (restaurants and grocery stores and institutions such as nursing homes). Local, state, tribal, and federal regulators use the FDA Food Code as a model to develop or update their own food safety rules and to be consistent with national food regulatory policy. To date, all 50 states have adopted some version of the FDA Food Code. RFPS manages the activities necessary to promote the adoption of the Food Code and to create an enhanced regulatory environment for retail food operations.
      Project Objective: The intern will work with the FDA Retail Food Protection Staff (RFPS) to: • Conduct a content analysis and report on retail food safety laws enacted in the 50 states from 2012-2016. • Examine state retail food regulatory codes and prepare a report on the presence and similarities/differences between the Food Code and state code for each provision and definition of interest.
      Project Needs and Duration: Applicant should be familiar with research methods and conducting scientific literature reviews; coursework in public health and/or public policy; Microsoft Access; attention to detail; self-motivation; data management and analysis. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-296(Old Project ID: 273)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Assessment of media perception/interpretation of communications messaging on CFSAN issues.
      Project Description: Members of the OFVM Strategic Communications Outreach and Public Engagement (SCOPE) team in collaboration with CFSAN program office staff spend much of their time developing and clearing materials to communicate the Center’s policies and actions to media, consumers, and other interested parties through social media. The media serve as a conduit for the FDA to communicate to consumers, industry, Congress, state, local and international governments, and other stakeholders. Therefore, it is supremely important that our communications be effective. Currently, although we monitor news stories and capture them in a weekly media report, we don’t have the resources to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts. Investing time to retrospectively evaluate the success of our communications strategies will help us better understand for which issues/topics we are communicating clearly, and reaching the target audience. This will help inform decisions about future communications strategy and policy ventures, helping SCOPE and CFSAN staff work smarter not harder on the development and clearance of communications material.

      JIP-274

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Antibody characterization and immunoassay for detection of food allergens and gluten
      Project Description: Currently there is no cure for food allergy and celiac disease, and strict avoidance of the offending agent in the diet is the only alternative for sensitive individuals. These consumers rely on food labeling to make safe food choice. The US FDA has issued the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) and gluten-free rule to help provide accurate labeling in order to assist food allergic and celiac patients, respectively. Analytical methods such as ELISA are widely used for detection of food allergens in food. However, the assay may face challenges in processed foods where the antigenic epitopes are altered, and thus lead to inaccurate quantitation. This project is focused on development of immunoassays using the antibodies produced against altered antigen to help accurate quantitation of food allergens and gluten.

      JIP-273

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Assessment of media perception/interpretation of communications messaging on CFSAN issues.
      Project Description: Members of the OFVM Strategic Communications Outreach and Public Engagement (SCOPE) team in collaboration with CFSAN program office staff spend much of their time developing and clearing materials to communicate the Center’s policies and actions to media, consumers, and other interested parties through social media. The media serve as a conduit for the FDA to communicate to consumers, industry, Congress, state, local and international governments, and other stakeholders. Therefore, it is supremely important that our communications be effective. Currently, although we monitor news stories and capture them in a weekly media report, we don’t have the resources to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts. Investing time to retrospectively evaluate the success of our communications strategies will help us better understand for which issues/topics we are communicating clearly, and reaching the target audience. This will help inform decisions about future communications strategy and policy ventures, helping SCOPE and CFSAN staff work smarter not harder on the development and clearance of communications material.

    Back to the top

    Chemistry

    - Chemistry

      JIP-293

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Programming to Expedite Data Analysis
      Principal Investigators: Knolhoff, Ann
      Project Description: Increasing sample load and the diversity of contaminants in food have necessitated tools for rapid and accurate data processing. Currently, scientists analyze a list of target analytes (e.g., pesticides, toxins, etc.); however, this approach is limiting in that any adulterants not included on the target list are not identified. Methods to screen for new or unexpected contaminants in foods are required to protect the public from the use of adulterants in foods. The goal of this research is to develop data analysis approaches for liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry data. These tools could reduce discovery time, allowing FDA to focus on identification and the eventual remediation of the contaminant.
      Project Objective: Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry generates large, information-rich data sets, where tens of thousands of compounds may be detected for a single sample. This data then needs to be mined for potential compounds of interest, which can be challenging. A number of automated processing tasks created by someone with programming expertise would streamline analysis. Example tasks that are required are: 1. Automating the combination of data from generated reports from multiple analyses into one Excel worksheet. 2. Creating mechanisms to automatically perform needed calculations in Excel with output that is easy for the analyst to review. 3. Implementing automated recalibration of data files using a terminal window. 4. Determining feasibility of automating searches of online molecular databases, and if feasible, devising a functional implementation.
      Project Needs and Duration: 1. Independence in writing and troubleshooting their own code 2. Ability to write Excel macros 3. Proficiency using Microsoft Excel 4. Previous experience with web APIs 5. Python, R, Visual Basic experience a plus The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-299

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Evaluation of Automated Sample Preparation Technologies for LC-MS-mycotoxin Analysis in Foods
      Principal Investigators: Zhang, Kai
      Project Description: An automated sample preparation workflow replacing manual procedures would improve throughput and consistency, minimize human intervention, and relieve laboratory personnel from labor-intensive operations of routine sample analysis. This project aims to collect comparative results between the use of fully automated sample preparation systems and conventional, manual extraction and clean-up procedures for a wide range of foods (e.g., peanut butter, milk, apple juice, wheat flour, corn) that are routinely screened for mycotoxin contamination by FDA field laboratories. Both approaches will be coupled to LC-MS (LC-MS/MS and LC-HRMS) analysis that allows for simultaneous detection of multiple mycotoxins. Reproducibility, selectivity, accuracy, and precision of both approaches will be compared and evaluated according to the FDA Method Validation Guidelines. These automated sample preparation systems will not only streamline conventional sample analysis by integrating various manual handling steps together but will also offer the flexibility to be programed for the analysis of different types of food matrices. Samples will be prepared through unattended automation following standard protocols so that consistency can be achieved among samples in each batch with decreased manual labor.
      Project Objective: The intern will be trained to prepare mycotoxin samples in both manual and automated fashions so that reproducibility, selectivity, accuracy, and precision of both approaches will be compared and evaluated according to the FDA Method Validation Guidelines.
      Project Needs and Duration: The student should have a science major with basic understanding about analytical chemistry. The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-252(Old Project ID: JIP-247)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Evaluation of Rapid Quantitative Methods for the Determination of Fats and Fatty Acids in Dietary Supplements Containing Omega-3 Fatty Acids
      Project Description: FDA has authorized a qualified health claim on the relationship between the omega-3 fatty acids and the reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). In order to verify these label declarations, FDA needs accurate methods to quantify omega-3 fatty acids during routine monitoring of dietary supplements. Current gas chromatographic (GC) methods for the determination of fats and fatty acids involve extensive sample preparation and lengthy analysis times. In contrast, infrared (IR) spectroscopic methods are rapid, non-destructive, and require minimal sample preparation. The goal of this research project is to develop mid-IR and Fourier transform near-IR (FT-NIR) spectroscopic calibration models based on accurate GC determinations of fatty acid content and to evaluate the performance of these calibration models in a market survey of omega- 3 fatty acid supplements. If successful, the proposed spectroscopic procedures would provide FDA with a high throughput method for the rapid determination of omega-3 fatty acids in supplements to support its qualified health claim regulation.

      JIP-253

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Rapid Detection and Quantitation of Hydrolyzed Food Allergens and Gluten
      Project Description: An estimated 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies and Celiac Disease with avoidance being the only approach to prevent an adverse reaction. To assure the accuracy of food labels the FDA relies on antibody- based methods to detect undeclared allergens. However, these methods are only validated for the detection and quantification of intact protein biomarkers. As such, the performance of these methods with foods that have been subjected to conditions that promote hydrolysis of the antigenic proteins is potentially problematic. The goal of this project is to determine the reliability of these methods with fermented and hydrolyzed foods. Successful completion of this research will fill gaps on our current analytical methodology.

      JIP-254

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Advancing preventative food safety methods through the use of portable devices: sweetener and skim milk powder case studies
      Project Description: A priority of the FDA is to develop methods based on portable, rapid instrumentation to allow for high throughput screening of foods and food ingredients in the field. This project will focus on the development of methods using near-infrared (NIR) and Raman spectroscopies. To evaluate these instruments, two common food products that are in wide spread use were chosen. First, the tragic public health consequences of the 2008 melamine adulteration of skim milk powder underscored the vulnerability of this food commodity and the need for testing. Second, non- nutritive sweeteners are commonly used in the food industry as no- or low- calorie alternatives to sugar, but the allowable sweeteners vary from country to country. As such, methods must be developed to rapidly assess these components as raw materials and in finished products in order to ensure compliance with U.S. regulations. Together, the projects on skim milk powder authentication and on sweetener components allows for a robust range of analytes to develop novel, portable NIR and Raman methodologies. The objectives of this JIFSAN project will support CFSAN, with respect to development and validation of methods for improved authentication and adulteration evaluation of food products. The wide range of analytes detected by NIR and Raman combined with the ability to miniaturize instrumentation could allow these spectroscopies to be capable of rapid, simple screening. This project aligns with recent calls from FDA to investigate and adopt innovative technologies and processes to detect foodborne outbreaks and contamination events thus furthering the goals of a prevention focused food safety system.

      JIP-247

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Evaluation of Quantitative Methods for the Determination of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Marine Oil Dietary Supplement Products
      Project Description: Dietary supplements containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are widely consumed in the United States. Gas chromatographic (GC) methods are routinely used to quantify fats and fatty acids; however, these methods require extensive sample preparation and lengthy analysis times. Infrared (IR) spectroscopic methods, on the other hand, are rapid (<5 min /sample), non-destructive, and require minimal sample preparation. Calibration models for a Fourier transform-near IR (FT-NIR) spectroscopic procedure have been recently developed for the determination of omega-3 PUFA in fish oil and fish oil supplement products. The goal of this research project is to evaluate the accuracy of the FT-NIR spectroscopic procedure, relative to that of the reference GC method, for the rapid determination of omega-3 PUFA in a variety of marine oil dietary supplement products. The FT-NIR procedure has the potential to be used for the rapid screening of omega-3 PUFA in dietary supplements for accuracy of labeling.

      JIP-245

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Rapid Detection and Quantitation of Hydrolyzed Gluten
      Project Description: An estimated 1-in-131 Americans suffer from Celiac Disease with avoidance of gluten being the only approach to prevent a reaction. On August 5, 2013, the FDA issued a regulation regarding the use of the term gluten-free. In this regulation, it was acknowledged that currently there were no reliable methods to determine the gluten content in fermented and hydrolyzed products. The goal of this project is to continue the research initiated in 2013 to adapt validated dipsticks designed to detect intact gluten using a sandwich format to a competitive format that will detect hydrolyzed gluten.

      JIP-249(Old Project ID: JIP238, 202, 175)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Foods
      Project Description: FDA is the primary federal agency responsible with the safety and wholesomeness of the foods and agricultural products Americans eat and consume. To accomplish its mission, FDA regulates chemicals such as pesticides and enforces established tolerances of allowable chemicals by screening and analyzing FDA-regulated products. Effective and cost- efficient validated procedures for the analysis of chemical contaminants in foods and other agricultural commodities are currently being developed to support FDA's programs. These methods involve the validation of hundreds of compounds, a variety of different food and agricultural matrices and the use of modem instrumentation such as gas chromatography (GC), GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and liquid chromatography-MS (LC-MS) recently acquired at FDA/CFSAN. The development and implementation of these validated and efficient procedures are time-consuming and require thorough evaluation but will help FDA achieve its mission of protecting the public health by assuring the safety and security of the nation's food supply.

      JIP-232

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Rapid Detection and Quantitation of Gluten Using Hand-Held Diagnostic Devices
      Project Description: An estimated 1-in-131 Americans suffer from Celiac Disease with avoidance of gluten being the only approach to prevent a reaction. Less than 20 ppm intact gluten has been proposed as the regulatory level to define gluten-free in food by the FDA. Though methods exist to detect and quantify intact gluten in food, such methods are not available for hydrolyzed (including fermented) gluten. The goal of this project is to adapt validated dipsticks designed to detect intact gluten using a sandwich format to a competitive format that will detect hydrolyzed gluten. By including in the analysis size profiling of the competitive peptides (using rapid chromatographic and filtration technology) it should be possible to correlate the responses to gluten content.

      JIP-238(Old Project ID: JIP175, JIP202, JIP2)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Foods
      Project Description: FDA is the primary federal agency responsible with the safety and wholesomeness of the foods and agricultural products Americans eat and consume. To accomplish its mission, FDA regulates chemicals such as pesticides and enforces established tolerances of allowable chemicals by screening and analyzing FDA-regulated products. Effective and cost- efficient validated procedures for the analysis of chemical contaminants in foods and other agricultural commodities are currently being developed to support FDA's programs. These methods involve the validation of hundreds of compounds, a variety of different food and agricultural matrices and the use of modem instrumentation such as gas chromatography (GC), GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and liquid chromatography-MS (LC-MS) recently acquired at FDA/CFSAN. The development and implementation of these validated and efficient procedures are time-consuming and require thorough evaluation but will help FDA achieve its mission of protecting the public health by assuring the safety and security of the nation's food supply.

      JIP-225

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Method Validation for Seafood Toxin Biosensors
      Project Description: The development of rapid, accurate, sensitive, and field-worthy methods for improved detection of food pathogens and contaminants is critical to the mission of food safety. Seafood consumption in the US has increased in recent years, and paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) continue to be a risk to humans upon consumption of contaminated shellfish, as highlighted in the May 2011 PST event in Southeast Alaska that sickened over 20 people. When the toxins bind to site 1 of voltage-gated sodium channels, numbness, tingling, and respiratory paralysis can occur. Currently, closures of shellfish beds are made when toxin levels exceed established action levels. There are at least 24 known PST congeners with a wide range of toxicity. In order to adequately protect consumers yet reduce unnecessary closures of non-contaminated harvesting areas, a rapid method that allows for screening of contaminated seafood and analysis of sample toxicity is needed. Through collaboration, a surface Plasmon resonance (SPR) immunoassay for PSTs has been developed. This project seeks to transfer the developed PST method to an instrument platform that can be easily used in routine monitoring laboratories and validate the method on this platform according to the National Shellfish Sanitation Program guidelines. Thus, this project will lead to real-time detection of seafood toxins in monitoring and regulatory laboratories, improving upon the speed, throughput, reliability, efficiency, and sensitivity of current techniques.

      JIP-215(Old Project ID: JIP 175 & JIP 202)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Foods
      Project Description: In order for the safety and wholesomeness of the foods and agricultural products Americans eat and consume, chemicals such as pesticides are regulated and tolerances of allowable chemicals are enforced by screening and analysis. Effective and cost-efficient validated procedures for the analysis of chemical contaminants in foods and other agricultural commodities are currently be developed, including the validation of such methods for hundreds of compounds, a variety of different food and agricultural matrices and the use of modern instrumentation such as gas chromatography (GC), GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and liquid chromatography (LC-MS). The development and implementation of these validated and efficient procedures are time-consuming and require thorough evaluation but will protect the public health by assuring the safety and security of the nation’s food supply.

      JIP-221

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Rapid Methods for the Detection of Food Allergens and Toxins
      Project Description: The detection of undeclared components in food necessitates highly specific, cost-effective analytical methods that are compatible with high- throughput development. To meet this need, immunodiagnostic assays are increasingly being relied upon by virtue of their simplicity to use (e.g., less sample preparation). ELISAs form the backbone of methods used to test for the presence of food allergens. Lateral flow devices and ELISAs are the primary methods relied upon for the detection of numerous proteins that may be associated with regulated products (e.g., latex in clinical products, melamine in human and pet food). Optimum performance of these immunodiagnostic assays is dependent on achieving steady-state binding and maximizing thermodynamic differences between the complexes formed by the target analytes and non-specific binding. This project seeks to explore methods whereby achieving steady-state binding is accelerated and in-turn the sensitivity, through-put and definitive detection/identification of analytes improved. Specifically, the current requirement of 6-7 hours to test for proteinaceous toxins like ricin (which has a history as an adulterant in food) will be reduced to approximately 1 hour.

      JIP-278

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Development of a data processing platform for the analysis of fatty acids in fats and oils.
      Project Description: Despite decades of intense scientific research, the development of accurate and reliable methods for the measurement of the fatty acids (FA) contained in food oils and fats is still an intense field of investigation. Recent proposed regulations regarding the content of fats and oils in trans fatty acids (TFA) increased the urgency for such methods. The FA composition of fats and oils is commonly achieved by gas chromatography (GC), after the preparation of the volatile fatty acid methyl ester derivatives (FAME). The accurate determination of the FA composition of most oils and fats requires the measurement of at least 50-100 individual components. The identification of each component, and then the calculation of its content in the sample, are time consuming processes and require advanced analytical skills. This project is dedicated to the development of computer software capable of interpreting the raw data generated by the analytical instrumentation, and to establish the sample FA composition without requiring time or knowledge from the analyst. While the candidate is expected to be proficient in Visual Basic for Application (VBA) programming, and have good mathematical skills, he/she will learn the most advanced methods for FA analysis and the problematic aspects of their application. The first part of the project will be dedicated to the study of the parameters affecting the gas chromatographic separation of FAs, and the definition of mathematical expression governing them. The second part of the project will be dedicated to the development of the Excel VBA macro capable of automatic data processing based on the mathematic rules previously defined. Finally the computer program will be tested by surveying the FA composition of fats and oils currently on sale in the U.S. market.

      JIP-280(Old Project ID: JIP254)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Advancing preventative food safety methods through the use of portable devices: skim milk powder case studies
      Project Description: A priority of the FDA is to develop methods based on portable, rapid instrumentation to allow for high throughput screening of foods and food ingredients in the field. This project will focus on the development of methods using near-infrared (NIR) and Raman spectroscopies. The tragic public health consequences of the 2008 melamine adulteration of skim milk powder underscored the vulnerability of this food commodity and the need for testing. As such, methods must be developed to rapidly assess milk powder authenticity and for adulteration to ensure compliance with U.S. regulations and consumer safety. This projects on skim milk powder authentication allows for a robust range of analytes (e.g., protein evaluation, small molecule adulterants) to develop novel, portable NIR and Raman methodologies.

      JIP-277

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: LC-MS analysis of dietary supplements for the presence of thyroid hormones and metabolites
      Project Description: Thyroid hormones are essential for normal development, especially of the central nervous system (CNS). In adults, thyroid hormones maintain metabolic homeostasis and influence the function of virtually all organ systems. Currently, prescription drugs containing levo form of thyroxine (T4) are available to treat patients with hypothyroidism. Numerous dietary supplements claiming to support healthy thyroid function or healthy metabolism are available in retail stores and on the internet. Many products target women and also people seeking weight-loss and hair growth. These products are primarily sold as a source of iodine by incorporating sea kelp, however they may also contain botanical ingredients such as Withania somnifera, Fucus vesiculosis, Coleous forskohlii or Commiphora mukul (guggul). Earlier studies have reported the adulteration of supplements with thyroid hormones. Recently 3, 5-diiodo-L-thyronine (3, 5-T2) a metabolites of thyroid hormones, has been found to be incorporated in weight-loss dietary supplements. The aim of this project is to develop a LC-MS/MS method and use it to detect and quantitate amounts of T4, triiodothyronine (T3) and metabolites (3, 5-T2 and 3, 3’-diiodo-L-thyronine) in dietary supplements sold for thyroid balance. The work will provide FDA with data on the levels of adulteration in dietary supplements and will assist the agency in assessing the quality and safety of these products.

      JIP-279

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Evaluation of Current Official Methods for the Determination of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) in Foods and Dietary Supplements
      Project Description: Foods and dietary supplements containing long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are frequently consumed in the United States (US) and other countries. These products are intended to reduce the risk of chronic disease and are also marketed toward pregnant and breastfeeding women to support pregnancy outcomes and child growth, development, and health. As a result, a wide variety of products are now available that vary in sample matrix (liquid oils, soft gels, emulsions, chewable gummy supplements) and formulation, using fish, algal, and krill oils to provide long chain omega-3 PUFA. Current official methods for measuring omega-3 PUFA were specifically developed for the analysis of fish oils and fish oil esters. The performance of these methods with other marine oils or microencapsulated oils remains to be investigated. The objective of this project is to verify the performance of current official methods for the analysis of long chain omega-3 PUFA in foods and dietary supplements. This work will support FDA’s programmatic and regulatory efforts by defining appropriate analytical methods to be used in the analysis of foods and dietary supplements containing omega-3 PUFA, especially for those in which official methods are currently unavailable or not appropriate.

      JIP-234(Old Project ID: JIP-223)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Food Irradiation
      Project Description: This research will investigate the chemical changes (radiolysis derived products) in foods and food contact materials which have been treated with ionizing radiation to determine if they will impact FDA safety or regulatory considerations. This project will analyze additional foods for which no data currently exists in an effort to assist the petition review staff in the Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS) with the review of radiation treatment of food products. Since food is prepackaged prior to irradiation treatment, there is a concern that radiolysis derived products formed in the packaging materials as a result of the ionizing radiation could migrate into the food. The effects of ionizing radiation on food contact materials have been studied as part of the safety evaluation of irradiated foods for human consumption. This research will study the effects of ionizing radiation on a variety of food contact materials and identify chemical changes in the food contact materials using GC/MS. The FDA is required to insure that the treatment of foods with ionizing radiation is carried out in accordance with the law. The FDA has a long standing research program to develop methods for the identification of irradiated foods. The current proposal will expand on the past work to extend the current methods to other foods, and where necessary, develop new methods for additional food commodities.

      JIP-223

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Food Irradiation: Chemical Changes in Food and Food Contact Substances due to the Absorption of Ionizing Radiation
      Project Description: The research project will investigate the chemical changes (radiolysis derived products) in foods and food contact materials which have been treated with ionizing radiation. As such, the project will develop new and improved analytical approaches to determine if foods have been treated with ionizing radiation. Furan, a volatile cyclic compound found in a number of heat-treated foods and also found in certain irradiated foods, is a potential concern since it is both carcinogenic and cytotoxic in rodents. The FDA has a long standing project to identify levels of furan that may be formed in various foods as a result of being treated with ionizing radiation. This project will analyze additional foods for which no data currently exists in an effort to review the safety of radiation treatment of food products. Since food is prepackaged prior to irradiation treatment, there is a concern that radiolysis-derived products formed in the packaging materials as a result of the ionizing radiation could migrate into the food. The effects of ionizing radiation on food contact materials have been studied as part of the safety evaluation of irradiated foods for human consumption. This research will study the effects of ionizing radiation on a variety of food contact materials and identify chemical changes in the food contact materials using GC/MS.

    Back to the top

    Food Defense

    - Food Defense

    No projects available under Food Defense Back to the top

    Nutritional Sciences

    - Nutritional Sciences

    No projects available under Nutritional Sciences Back to the top

    Other

    - Public Health

      JIP-285

      Status: Actively seeking interns
      Project Title: Literature review to inform the implementation of FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) policies that address minimally-processed produce
      Principal Investigators: Crowley, Cecilia
      Project Description: • Help in the development of the updated Fresh-cut Guidance to reflect the Preventive Controls for Human Foods Rule and current best practices. • Perform literature review on time/temperature control for safety with sprouts and to generate policy options in this area in response to requests received from the sprout industry. • Help in the compilation and analysis of processed produce-related foreign inspection results.
      Project Objective: • Generate a summary chart of recent and relevant scientific research on fresh-cut produce safety to inform the Fresh-Cut Guidance development. • Generate a policy options document on the appropriate time/temperature controls for safety on sprouts. • Generate a summary memo describing the findings of processed produce facility foreign inspections.
      Project Needs and Duration: • Food Science, Public Health, Biology, and/or Microbiology majors • Attention to detail • Strong work ethic The duration of the internship project is one year. Time requirements include 8-10 h/week during the school year and 30 h/week during break sessions.
      Location: CFSAN Wiley Building, 5001 Campus Drive, College Park, MD

      JIP-292(Old Project ID: 282)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Major Allergen Detection by Immunoassays in Processed Complex Food Commodities
      Project Description: FDA needs improved analytical methods for detection of major food allergens from processed complex foods. This project will help to ensure labeling accuracy for effective food allergen management plans and to protect allergic consumers.

      JIP-147

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Food Safety Risk Analysis: Quantitative Risk Assessments
      Project Description: Quantitative risk assessment is a dynamic and emerging tool used by regulatory agencies to evaluate and manage the impact of food hazards to public health. Quantitative microbial risk assessments on a variety of pathogens including Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus were conducted by this laboratory. Other risk assessments on a variety of foods (including shellfish, spices, cheese, produce, and ready-to-eat foods) and hazards (including Norovirus and Hepatitis A virus) are on-going. Previous assessments integrated various levels of complexity, based on need, for use in policy decision making (i.e., risk management). Risk assessment is also used in critical research needs identification for upcoming regulatory initiatives. Results of risk assessments are used to inform scientific policy, decision-making (risk management), and to prioritize focus areas and identify research needs. For example, the Interagency Listeria Retail Deli risk assessment characterizes the cross-contamination events in deli facilities and quantitatively provides the relative effectiveness of different interventions to reduce or prevent listeriosis from consumption of foods prepared in retail delis.

      JIP-261(Old Project ID: JIP-243, JIP-239, JI)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Ensuring Fresh Produce Safety - Susceptibility of Fresh-Cut Produce to Microbial Invasion; and Produce Safety Practices at Foreign Farms
      Project Description: This project will involve conducting a literature review and analysis of data on key issue areas related to the safety of fresh produce, in particular to fresh- cut produce and imported produce. Fresh produce is often prepared for consumption by retail establishments by peeling, slicing, dicing, or otherwise changing the form of the commodity from its natural state. For many produce items (e.g. tomato, cantaloupe, leafy greens), this creates an environment more conducive to the invasion, survival, or growth of various foodborne pathogens. For those commodities where this is a known occurrence, FDA has recommendations to the retail industry, published in the Food Code, to follow such preparation with storage at controlled temperatures. This project will involve a literature review of available publications to determine the extent to which other produce commodities have been determined to be susceptible to such microbial invasion. This information will help FDA hone recommendations on when time/temperature control measures may be necessary for certain fresh cut produce commodities.

      JIP-263(Old Project ID: JIP-250)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Source grain specific gluten detection by immunoassay.
      Project Description: Celiac disease is a major health concern in the US. Gluten from wheat, rye, and barley triggers the onset of celiac disease, whereas the role of oat is not clear. Wheat is also listed as one of the "Big 8" food allergen that required allergen labeling under FALCPA. In order to ensure food safety and compliance, it is imperative to not only detect trace amounts of gluten in foods, but also identify the source grain responsible for gluten contamination. This project will develop various antibodies against gluten peptides and develop an immunoassay for grain specific gluten detection. This project will help develop an immunoassay for grain specific gluten detection and assess the impact of source grain on gluten detection.

      JIP-264(Old Project ID: JIP-248)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Food Safety Risk Analysis: Quantitative Risk Assessment
      Project Description: Quantitative risk assessment is a dynamic and emerging tool used by regulatory agencies to evaluate, prioritize, and manage the impact of the presence of hazards in food to public health. We have conducted quantitative microbial risk assessments on a variety of pathogens including Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is currently conducting risk assessments on a variety of foods (including shellfish, spices, cheese, produce, tree nuts, ready-to- eat foods,) and hazards (including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus). Risk assessment expertise supports several Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) efforts including the Most Significant Contaminants list, the High Risk Foods List, and assessment for the produce rule. CFSAN has established an integrated program to develop risk assessments at different levels of complexity needed for policy decision-making (i.e., risk management). CFSAN also actively uses its risk assessment capability to help identify the critical research needs for upcoming regulatory initiatives. This project is primarily an opportunity for the student to assist CFSAN in conducting food safety risk assessments. For more information about CFSAN's risk assessment program and on-going projects see http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessm entSafetyAssess ment/default.htm

      JIP-246

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Major Allergen Detection by Immunoassays from Processed Complex Food Commodities
      Project Description: The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires labeling of food products containing major allergens. Despite this, food allergen-related recalls are the most common safety recalls by the FDA. Unintended exposure most often occurs from foods containing undeclared allergens, from mislabeled raw ingredients, from allergens that are inadvertently introduced during manufacture or from ambiguous or “may contain” labeling practices. Because trace amounts of allergenic proteins in foods can cause life-threatening reactions in some sensitized patients, accurate and sensitive immunologic methods are required to improve industry procedures and to support FALCPA mandates. This project will address limitations associated with quantitative analysis of major food allergens in processed foods and in different commodities using immunoassay methods.

      JIP-248(Old Project ID: JIP231, JIP147)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Food Safety Risk Analysis: Quantitative Risk Assessment
      Project Description: Quantitative risk assessment is a dynamic and emerging tool used by regulatory agencies to evaluate, prioritize, and manage the impact of the presence of hazards in food to public health. We have conducted quantitative microbial risk assessments on a variety of pathogens including Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is currently conducting risk assessments on a variety of foods (including shellfish, spices, cheese, produce, tree nuts, ready-to- eat foods,) and hazards (including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus). Risk assessment expertise supports several Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) efforts including the Most Significant Contaminants list, the High Risk Foods List, and assessment for the produce rule. CFSAN has established an integrated program to develop risk assessments at different levels of complexity needed for policy decision-making (i.e., risk management). CFSAN also actively uses its risk assessment capability to help identify the critical research needs for upcoming regulatory initiatives. This project is primarily an opportunity for the student to assist CFSAN in conducting food safety risk assessments. For more information about CFSAN's risk assessment program and on-going projects see http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessm entSafetyAssess ment/default.htm

      JIP-250(Old Project ID: JIP236)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Source grain specific gluten detection by immunoassay
      Project Description: Celiac disease is a major health concern in the US. Gluten from wheat, rye, and barley triggers the onset of celiac disease, whereas the role of oat is not clear. Also, wheat is listed as one of the "Big 8" food allergen that required allergen labeling under FALCPA. In order to ensure food safety and compliance, it is imperative to not only detect trace amounts of gluten in foods, but also identify the source grain responsible for gluten contamination. This project will develop various antibodies against gluten peptides and develop an immunoassay for grain specific gluten detection. This project will help develop an immunoassay for grain specific gluten detection and assess the impact of source grain on gluten detection.

      JIP-243(Old Project ID: JIP239, JIP224)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Ensuring Fresh Produce Safety: Susceptibility of Fresh-Cut Produce to Microbial Invasion; and Produce Safety Practices at Foreign Farms
      Project Description: This project will involve conducting a literature review and analysis of data on key issue areas related to the safety of fresh produce, in particular to fresh-cut produce and imported produce. Fresh produce is often prepared for consumption by retail establishments by peeling, slicing, dicing, or otherwise changing the form of the commodity from its natural state. For many produce items (e.g. tomato, cantaloupe, leafy greens), this creates an environment more conducive to the invasion, survival, or growth of various foodborne pathogens. For those commodities where this is a known occurrence, FDA has recommendations to the retail industry, published in the Food Code, to follow such preparation with storage at controlled temperatures. This project will involve a literature review of available publications to determine the extent to which other produce commodities have been determined to be susceptible to such microbial invasion. This information will help FDA hone recommendations on when time/temperature control measures may be necessary for certain fresh cut produce commodities.

      JIP-231(Old Project ID: JIP-147)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Food Safety Risk Analysis: Quantitative Risk Assessment
      Project Description: Quantitative risk assessment is a dynamic and emerging tool used by regulatory agencies to evaluate, prioritize, and manage the impact of the presence of hazards in food to public health. We have conducted quantitative microbial risk assessments on a variety of pathogens including Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. CFSAN is currently conducting risk assessments on a variety of foods (including shellfish, spices, cheese, produce, tree nuts, ready-to-eat foods,) and hazards (including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus). Risk assessment expertise supports several Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) efforts including the Most Significant Contaminants list, the High Risk Foods List, and assessment for the produce rule. CFSAN has established an integrated program to develop risk assessments at different levels of complexity needed for policy decision-making (i.e., risk management). CFSAN also actively uses its risk assessment capability to help identify the critical research needs for upcoming regulatory initiatives. This project is primarily an opportunity for the student to assist CFSAN in conducting food safety risk assessments. For more information about CFSAN's risk assessment program and on-going projects see http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessm entSafetyAssess ment/default.htm

      JIP-236

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Screening of polyclonal antibodies against gluten from specific grain and develop enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for grain specific gluten detection.
      Project Description: Celiac disease is a major health concern in the US. Gluten from wheat, rye, and barley triggers the onset of celiac disease, whereas the role of oat is not clear. Also, wheat is listed as one of the "Big 8" food allergen that required allergen labeling under FALCPA. In order to ensure food safety and compliance, it is imperative to not only detect trace amounts of gluten in foods, but also identify the source grain responsible for gluten contamination. This project will develop various antibodies against gluten peptides and develop an immunoassay for grain specific gluten detection. This information will aid in the policy development and regulation of proposed gluten-free rule by not only detecting gluten in foods but also identifying the source of gluten.

      JIP-239(Old Project ID: JIP-224)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Ensuring Fresh Produce Safety: Susceptibility of Fresh-Cut Produce to Microbial Invasion; and Produce Safety Practices at Foreign Farms
      Project Description: This project will involve conducting a literature review and analysis of data on key issue areas related to the safety of fresh produce, in particular to fresh- cut produce and imported produce. Fresh produce is often prepared for consumption by retail establishments by peeling, slicing, dicing, or otherwise changing the form of the commodity from its natural state. For many produce items (e.g. tomato, cantaloupe, leafy greens), this creates an environment more conducive to the invasion, survival, or growth of various foodborne pathogens. For those commodities where this is a known occurrence, FDA has recommendations to the retail industry, published in the Food Code, to follow such preparation with storage at controlled temperatures. This project will involve a literature review of available publications to determine the extent to which other produce commodities have been determined to be susceptible to such microbial invasion. This information will help FDA hone recommendations on when time/temperature control measures may be necessary for certain fresh cut produce commodities.

      JIP-224

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Analyzing Food Safety Practices Related to Fresh Produce
      Project Description: Analysis of data on key areas related to the safety of fresh produce, in particular to imported produce and fresh sprouts, will be conducted to ensure the safety of imported produce, which is an ongoing challenge due to the wide variety of imported produce commodities and the diversity of conditions under which they are grown. This project entails updating and populating a database that captures surveillance data of produce-importing farm inspections regarding the conditions and practices by which produce is grown, harvested, and packed. This information will allow for informed resource allocation and prioritization as well as support on-going produce safety regulation efforts. Ensuring the safety of fresh sprouts is also a challenge, due to the humid, moist growth conditions and the lack of a “kill step” for pathogens. Between 1996 and 2010, 34 outbreaks associated with fresh sprouts were reported - more outbreaks than were associated with any other type of fresh produce. A plan for domestic surveillance inspections of sprout growers is expected to yield information regarding the conditions and practices with which fresh sprouts are grown and packed.

      JIP-282

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Major Allergen Detection by Immunoassays in Processed Complex Food Commodities
      Project Description: FDA needs improved analytical methods for detection of major food allergens from processed complex foods. This project will help to ensure labeling accuracy for effective food allergen management plans and to protect allergic consumers

      JIP-281(Old Project ID: JIP248, JIP264)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Food Safety Risk Analysis: Quantitative Risk Assessment
      Project Description: Quantitative risk assessment is a dynamic and emerging tool used by regulatory agencies to evaluate, prioritize, and manage the impact of the presence of hazards in food to public health. We have conducted quantitative microbial risk assessments on a variety of hazards including Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is currently conducting risk assessments on a variety of foods including shellfish, spices, cheese, produce, tree nuts, ready-to-eat foods. Risk assessment expertise supports several Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) efforts including the Most Significant Contaminants list, the High Risk Foods List, and assessment for the produce rule. CFSAN has established an integrated program to develop risk assessments at different levels of complexity needed for policy decision-making (i.e., risk management). CFSAN also actively uses its risk assessment capability to help identify the critical research needs for upcoming regulatory initiatives. This project is primarily an opportunity for the student to assist CFSAN in conducting food safety risk assessments. For more information about CFSAN’s risk assessment program and on-going projects see http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessm entSafetyAssessment/default.htm Results of risk assessments are used to inform scientific policy, decision- making (risk management), and to prioritize focus areas and identify research needs. For example, the Salmonella in tree nuts risk assessment will provide information needed to evaluate the impact on public health from a post-harvest reduction treatment and potential establishment of safety performance criteria. The arsenic in rice/rice products risk assessment will support agency decisions intended to reduce dietary exposure.

      JIP-262(Old Project ID: JIP-246)

      Status: Internship not available
      Project Title: Major Allergen Detection by Immunoassays from Processed Complex Food Commodities
      Project Description: The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires labeling of food products containing major allergens. Despite this, food allergen-related recalls are the most common safety recalls by the FDA. Unintended exposure most often occurs from foods containing undeclared allergens, from mislabeled raw ingredients, from allergens that are inadvertently introduced during manufacture or from ambiguous or “may contain” labeling practices. Because trace amounts of allergenic proteins in foods can cause life-threatening reactions in some sensitized patients, accurate and sensitive immunologic methods are required to improve industry procedures and to support FALCPA mandates. This project will address limitations associated with quantitative analysis of major food allergens in processed foods and in different commodities using immunoassay methods.

    Back to the top

    - International Trade

    No projects available under International Trade Back to the top

    - Marketing

    No projects available under Marketing Back to the top