NC State University College of Vetinary Medicine

Welcome to the Thakur Lab

TMEL Mission: To improve food animal and human health by reducing the burden of bacterial food borne pathogens

Food borne diseases are increasingly recognized as a major public health problem both nationally as well as globally. Despite major advances and improvements in hygiene, quality of food, water, sanitation and detection of food borne pathogens, food borne diseases remain one of the leading public health concerns. There is tremendous economic burden of treating animals and human patients affected by antimicrobial resistant pathogens and critical knowledge gaps exist in the complex chain of events that leads to dissemination and persistence of these bacterial pathogens. There is no clear consensus on the significance of ecological and management factors in the dissemination of such antimicrobial resistant strains in humans. In addition, characterizing the pathogen to specific strain level is time consuming.

Research in our lab is focused on understanding the molecular epidemiology of important multidrug resistant (MDR) food borne pathogens at the pre-harvest and post-harvest food safety levels. The Thakur laboratory represents the state of North Carolina in two national surveillance systems, including the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring system (NARMS) and the FDA whole genome sequencing GenomeTrakr program. Our specific goal is to determine the dynamics of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli and Clostridium in food animals, retail meat, humans and the environment. With this information, we plan to achieve our long term goal of reducing the burden of infections caused by bacterial pathogens in food animals and humans by:

  1. Determining the risk factors and understanding the dissemination of antimicrobial resistant strains in animals, humans and their environment,
  2. Characterizing and elucidating the mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance at the molecular level,
  3. Understanding the genotypic diversity and population dynamics of these bacterial populations through phylogenetic analysis,
  4. Developing diagnostic methods that will aid in the rapid identification and characterization of bacterial pathogens and,
  5. Conveying the results of these studies to the stakeholders and developing new curricula aimed at providing education and training of veterinary, animal and food science students.