Food Safety Laboratory

The JIFSAN-CFS³ Food Safety Laboratory specializes in research and training in microbiology and genomics. We are steadfast in our commitment to advancing research and generating new knowledge aimed at enhancing the safety and quality of the global food supply.


Food and Environmental Microbiology: Our primary area of expertise is in studying microorganisms found in food, water, and the food-producing and processing environment, with a specific emphasis on characterizing foodborne pathogens. We are also interested in elucidating the complex behaviors of microbes when exposed to various stresses and different food matrices.

Genomics: Our laboratory conducts cutting-edge research in microbial genomics, exploring the genetic makeup and variations of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. Our scope includes whole-genome sequencing, data analysis, and advanced bioinformatics. Additionally, we undertake sequencing and analysis of metagenomic samples, assessing the food safety implications from environments.


JIFSAN-CFS³ takes pride in its Collaborative Research Program, which nurtures partnerships across academia, governmental agencies, and industry sectors. The Cooperative Agreement with the FDA fosters a dynamic collaboration between FDA scientists and researchers from the University of Maryland. It also supports a survey study focusing on Salmonella prevalence in Latin American surface waters.

The Food Safety Laboratory stands as an excellent hub for collaborative research, facilitating synergy among UMD faculty and international scientists. At present, our research projects involve faculty from diverse disciplines of departments such as Nutrition and Food Science, Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Animal and Avian Sciences, Computer Science, and Veterinary Medicine. Moreover, we maintain active collaborations with international institutions: the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Federal University of Paraiba in Brazil, The Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico, The University of Chile, The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and University Andrés Bello in Chile.


Our laboratory welcomes collaborations and partnerships with academic institutions, research organizations, and fellow scientists. We actively seek opportunities to contribute to scientific advancements in food microbiology and genomics.

We also welcome prospective graduate students to contact us for current and future opportunities.


Magaly Toro, PhD, MSc, DVM.
Director, Food Safety Laboratory
Associate Research Professor