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Officials announce strategic hiring of noted food science researcher

Officials announce strategic hiring of noted food science researcher

Texas Tech continued its quest toward Tier One status with the strategic hiring of a respected food science researcher who will help grow the university’s research capabilities. The newly added faculty member is Kendra Nightingale, now an associate professor with the university’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Nightingale, who joins the Tech faculty in September, was formerly an associate professor in Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Science.

Her research focuses primarily on pre- and post-harvest food safety. Her work has included gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the molecular ecology and transmission dynamics of food borne pathogens throughout the human food chain, as well as identifying risk factors that contribute to loading of the human food chain with food borne pathogens and the subsequent spread of these pathogens along the food continuum.

She’s also interested in probing the molecular evolution and population structure of human food borne and animal pathogens, and defining the underlying genetic mechanisms responsible for observed differences in virulence phenotypes within a given pathogen species. Nightingale received her bachelor’s degree in animal science and master’s degree in food science from Kansas State University. Her doctorate in science and technology is from Cornell University.

Hiring of strategic researchers like Nightingale is one of the key elements in becoming a Tier One research institute, university officials stressed. “To reach Tier One status, we cannot take small steps forward,” said Texas Tech President Guy Bailey. “We must make a quantum leap.”

Attracting new, high-profile faculty members is one way to increase not only the caliber of research that Texas Tech can do in the future, but also the quality of education students can receive, he said.

Taylor Eighmy, vice president of research, added that through the strategic hiring process, the university will increase its national research visibility. “Texas Tech has a wonderful opportunity to strategically expand externally funded research, promote economic development and further its creative activity,” he said. “Hiring top-level researchers such as these will ensure Texas Tech’s future credentials as a top public research university.”

Achieving National Research University designation, or Tier One, would put Texas Tech into an elite category of universities. National research universities have annual research expenditures of at least $100 million. They offer more than 50 doctoral degree programs and have more than 1,000 tenure track faculty. They also usually have large undergraduate populations and offer a wide-range of undergraduate degrees.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Leslie Thompson, chairman and professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at 806-742-2805 ext 224 or leslie.thompson@ttu.edu

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