AFS microbial, food safety expert joins new School of Veterinary Medicine
By: George Watson
Alexandra Calle had forged a very prosperous and rewarding career in her native Colombia, spending more than 13 years in microbiology and food safety. But as rewarding as her career was, she felt the need to take it a step further, and that meant furthering her education past the bachelor's degree she had earned. Luckily, her involvement in various projects and the networking contacts she made allowed her to pursue that education in the U.S.
Calle took advantage of that opportunity, as well as the others that have come her way, to cultivate a second career in academia. Her applied microbiology and food-safety expertise, with an emphasis in food-producing animals, are a perfect fit for a founding faculty member of the first veterinary school in Texas in a century.
Calle, an assistant professor with Texas Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences, joined the new Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo as an assistant professor of microbiology, beginning her duties earlier this month.
"Being part of the School of Veterinary Medicine faculty will bring me a great opportunity to develop research and instructional programs to teach students that food safety, public health and animal health are closely related based on the premise that animal health is important to human health," Calle said.
Calle earned her bachelor's degree in biology from the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, and came to the United States to continue her education. She earned her master's degree in food science from the University of Nebraska and her doctorate in animal science from Texas Tech. An expert in microbiology and food safety, Calle's research focuses on improving and promoting public health by investigating mechanisms to control microbial pathogens in food of animal origin.
A significant portion of her research has been conducted in Latin America and the Caribbean on projects sponsored by the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because animal production has become more globalized through the trade of animal feeds and animal-derived food, the spread and control of illnesses that affect animals and people have become more challenging. Her research to date has identified the differences in pathogen prevalence among countries and helped design country-specific approaches to prevent and control pathogens.
After earning her bachelor's degree, Calle served as a food safety consultant and senior consultant for more than 13 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Colombia. Earlier in her career, she worked as a director of food safety and quality assurance with Productos Yupi SA in Colombia and as a quality assurance supervisor with Rica Rondo SA in Colombia.
The Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, established in 2018, is working to enroll its first class in the fall of 2021, pending approval by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. The academic unit will recruit and select students with a passion to practice and succeed in rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practices that support these communities.
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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