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Abani K. Pradhan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Program UM - Department of Nutrition and Food Science, CFS3
3309 Marie Mount Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Biography

Dr. Abani Pradhan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science & the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems at the University of Maryland in College Park (UMD). He is also the Director of Graduate Program in Nutrition and Food Science at UMD since 2017. He has been serving as the faculty advisor of the UMD Food Science Club (since 2012) and Nutrition and Food Science Graduate Student Organization (since 2017). Prior to joining UMD in 2011, he was a Research Associate at Cornell University.

Education:

  • Postdoctoral Training. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. 2011
  • Ph.D. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. 2006
  • M. Tech. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. 2001
  • B. Tech. Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), India. 1998

 

Research interests of Dr. Pradhan’s group are broadly in the area of food safety and risk assessment. Many foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, pathogenic Escherichia coli, and Toxoplasma gondii are of serious food safety and public health concerns as they can cause life-threatening diseases in human populations. The continuing incidence of foodborne disease outbreaks and food recalls in the U.S. and across the globe clearly demonstrate the need for improvement in the safety and security of our food supply. Because of the highly complex issues currently challenging the management of food safety risks on an international basis, advances in food safety risk assessment are crucial for providing a more scientifically sound basis for informed management and policy decisions. Our goal is to improve food safety by integrating experimental and field data with mathematical modeling, and developing predictive and risk models that will aid in guiding several stakeholders such as policy makers, government agencies, and food industry in making informed risk management decisions.

Using food microbiology, engineering, risk assessment modeling, and advanced data analytic (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) techniques, we have been conducting interdisciplinary research to address critical food safety issues related to foodborne pathogens in different food categories such as fresh produce (e.g., leafy greens), meat and poultry, dairy products, and low moisture foods (e.g., pet foods, chocolate). We are also working on developing and utilizing appropriate methods and approaches to integrate microbial genomics with risk assessment to evaluate public health risk.

Research interests: Food safety, quantitative microbial risk assessment, predictive microbiology, advanced data analytics [artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)], supply chain and system modeling, food safety engineering, and molecular epidemiology

Awards and Honors:

  • LEAD21 Fellow - Leadership Development for the 21st Century: Linking Research, Academics, and Extension, 2021-2022
  • First Place recipient of John N. Sofos Most-cited JFP Review Publication Award. International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). [JFP: Journal of Food Protection. Paper published from Dr. Pradhan’s lab], 2020
  • ASM-IUSSTF Indo-US Teaching Professorship Award, American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), 2020
  • Faculty Research Award of Excellence, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, 2020
  • Faculty-Student Research Award, the Graduate School, University of Maryland, College Park, 2020-2021
  • Among honored faculty and researchers, Maryland Research Excellence Celebration, University of Maryland, College Park, 2020
  • Among honored faculty and researchers, Inaugural Maryland Research Excellence Celebration, University of Maryland, College Park, 2019
  • UMD Leadership Fellow, University of Maryland, College Park, ADVANCE Initiative, 2018-2019
  • The Paul R. Poffenberger Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, 2018
  • Chauncey Starr Distinguished Young Risk Analyst Award, Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), 2015
  • Excellence in Instruction Award, Alumni Chapter-College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, 2015
  • On-Campus Junior Faculty Award of Excellence, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, 2014
  • Honored Faculty, 7th Annual University-Wide Celebration of Scholarship and Research, University of Maryland, College Park, 2014
  • Honored Faculty, 6th Annual University-Wide Celebration of Scholarship and Research, University of Maryland, College Park, 2013
  • Johne’s Disease Integrated Program (JDIP) travel award, JDIP 6th annual conference, Denver, Colorado, 2010
  • Johne’s Disease Integrated Program (JDIP) travel award, 10th International Colloquium on Paratuberculosis (ICP), Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2009
  • Student Merit Award, Exposure Assessment Specialty Group-Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), 2006
  • 1st place award winner, poster competition, Food Safety Consortium (FSC) annual meeting, 2005
  • Student Travel Award, Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), SRA annual meeting, 2004
  • 2nd place award winner, poster competition, Arkansas Section of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) annual meeting, 2004
  • Student Travel Award, Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), SRA annual meeting, 2003
  • 3rd place award winner, poster competition, Food Safety Consortium (FSC) annual meeting, 2003
  • Institute Silver Medal for the best graduate student in the Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India, 2001
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship, Federal Republic of Germany, 2000-2001
  • Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) Fellowship, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, 1999-2001
  • Basudev Prasad Modi Gold Medal for securing the top position (rank 1) among all graduating students (Bachelor’s degree) of all Colleges, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar, India, 1998
  • University Gold Medal for securing the top position (rank 1) among all graduating students (Bachelor of Technology) of the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar, India, 1998
  • University Merit Scholarship, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar (OUAT), India, 1994-1998