2021-2021 Team (upper panel from the left: Dr. Johny, Dr. Luna, Grace, Claire, Shijina, and Dhananjai. Lower panel from the left: Peter, Medora, Kerem, Mikayla, Elaina, Emma)
Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny BVScAH, MVSc, PhD
Dr. Johny joined the department in December 2013 as an Assistant Professor – tenure track after completing his postdoctoral research/teaching training at the University of Connecticut. He has a doctorate in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut, Masters in Veterinary Science (in Animal Nutrition), and Bachelors in Veterinary Medicine (DVM equivalent) from the Kerala Agricultural University, India. His research interests broadly include alternative approaches to improving animal performance, reducing/inactivating zoonotic (multidrug-resistant) pathogens, pre-and post-harvest food safety, antibiotic resistance mitigation, and the use of Omics technology to understand colonization and survival strategies in animal pathogens and beneficial microorganisms. He has been consistently contributing to the applied and molecular research on using phytobiotic nutrition as an intervention strategy to control Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Clostridium in poultry.
Dr. Johny’s initial training as a veterinarian gives him a broad perspective on working with live animals for improving production and health. His master’s training in applied poultry (phytase, trace minerals, and algae) nutrition has strengthened his research skills in controlled broiler and layer experiments for improving growth performance, mineral balance, and meat quality. For his doctoral studies, Dr. Johny was trained in challenge experiments in broilers and layers and has developed models of Salmonella mitigation as it relates to food safety. He was also trained in in vitro screening of antimicrobials against pathogens, cell culture, gene expression assays, and microarray technique, and has developed skills in microbial transcriptomics during his postdoctoral training. Currently, he works with his team on several projects targeted to control foodborne pathogens and alleviate antimicrobial resistance in animal production using in vivo challenge models and omics technology. In addition, he focuses on the post-harvest microbiological safety of poultry products, including eggs.
Dr. Johny was promoted to the Associate Professor rank with tenure in May 2020.
Dr. Luna Akhtar Ph.D.
Dr. Luna Akhtar is a food safety microbiologist. She earned her MSc in Parasitology and M. Phil in Microbiology from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has a Ph.D. from Kansas State University. The focus of Dr. Akhtar’s research is investigating the interplay between foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella, Listeria, and Shiga toxigenic E. coli, and the commonly used antibacterials. Her research also covers the therapeutic evaluation of antibacterials in animal models of pathogens. Currently, Dr. Akhtar is working with Dr. Johny in his alternatives to antibiotics research targeting the control of MDR Salmonella Heidelberg and evaluating their potential in turkey and broiler challenge models. Dr. Akhtar has been also serving as a Microbiology Faculty at NHCC, a Minnesota State College, and teaches Microbiology and Medical Terminology courses. She also likes to contribute to the University and Community by serving on non-academic committees.
Graduate Research/Teaching Assistants:
Grace Dewi BS, MS – ANSC Ph.D. program
2019-2020 MnDRIVE GFV Fellow; 2016-2018 Rising Scholar ANSC
Grace was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital. She first moved to the United States in 2013 to attend the University of Minnesota, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. During her senior year, she volunteered in Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny’s lab and became interested in microbiology and food safety. She successfully defended her M.S. thesis in the fall of 2018. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Animal Science and is advised by Dr. Johny. Her research focuses on the antibacterial properties of plant-derived products against foodborne pathogens in poultry. Specifically, she is investigating the efficacy of essential oils against Salmonella colonization factors. Beyond her academic activities, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, drawing, and occasionally playing badminton and video games.
Claire Peichel BS, MS – ANSC Ph.D. program
2017-2021 USDA National Needs Fellow; 2020 MnDRIVE GFV Fellow
Claire is a first-year doctoral student in Dr. Johny’s lab. She joined Dr. Johny’s laboratory as an NNF fellow for her MS program and successfully defended her research thesis. She attended the University of Minnesota for Food Science where she became interested in Food Safety and Microbiology. Claire joined Dr. Johny’s lab in her sophomore year and has continued to expand her research while pursuing her Master’s degree. Claire has been a member of the Food Science and Nutrition Club and the Gopher Poultry Science Club. In her free time, Claire likes to hang out with friends, read books, and hike. For more about the NNF fellowship in Poultry Production, please visit http://www.poultrynnf.umn.edu
Shijina Manjankattil BVScAH, MS – ANSC Ph.D. program
2020 MnDRIVE Fellow; 2022 MnDRIVE UMII Fellow
Shijina Raj is a master’s student in the lab. Her current research focuses on the alternative to antibiotics in poultry production. Shijina has a bachelor’s degree (DVM equivalent) from Kerala Veterinary & Animal Sciences University (KVASU), India. After her DVM program, she completed a certificate course on ‘One Health’ from KVASU. Then she served as a research assistant at the poultry and duck farm at KVASU and got acquainted with poultry management practices and processing technology. She enjoys reading stories and practicing yoga in her leisure time.
Dhananjai Muringattu BVScAH – ANSC MS program
2022 MnDRIVE GFV Fellow
Dhananjai is an MS student in the lab. As Dhananjai grew up in Kerala, a southern state in India, assisting his grandparents in running a family farm enabled him to develop an interest in biology and agriculture. He completed BVSc & AH (equivalent to DVM) from Kerala Veterinary & Animal Science University (KVASU), India. After the DVM program, he worked as a veterinarian for Kerala Animal Husbandry Department, India. He has completed a three-month internship program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB). He loves to watch soccer and listen to music during his leisure time.
Visiting Scholars/Scientists: (Vacant)
Undergraduate Research/Lab Assistants (Federal & State-Sponsored Programs):
Peter Bina – ANSC (Research Assistant/Summer Fellow; MTGA Ranelius Awardee)
Peter is currently a second-year undergraduate working towards a degree in animal science. Born and raised in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, attending the University of Minnesota had always been a dream of his. When not in the lab, Peter enjoys making music on his computer, cross country skiing, snowboarding, and playing video games.
Medora Creek – FScN (Research Assistant/Summer Fellow)
Medora is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota from Laurel, Maryland. She’s working towards a degree in Food Science with a minor in Horticulture. When she’s not working in the lab as a research assistant, you can find Medora sharing her love of food by cooking in the kitchen, sewing a new clothing project, or going on an outdoor adventure with friends.
Thomas Hagen – CBS (Summer Fellow)
Thomas is a senior undergraduate student working in the lab. He is currently majoring in biochemistry, with a minor in pharmacology. He is very involved on campus, serving as the president of the University of Minnesota Alpine Ski Team, and as a member of many other clubs at the university. In his free time, he enjoys playing baseball and tennis, skiing, reading, and playing with his dogs.
Undergraduate Research Scholars (University Funded Programs):
Kerem Deniz – Food Science (URS Awardee/Summer Fellow)
Kerem Deniz is an undergraduate student, working to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition. Growing up with a mother who completed her master’s in the field of microbiology, Kerem has always been interested in the study of different bacteria and viruses. Kerem is currently working in the lab with a focus on completing his URS project. Aside from working in the lab and studying, Kerem likes to dive and swim.
Mikayla Schlosser – Animal Science (URS Awardee; MTGA Ranelius Awardee)
Mikayla is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota from Maple Plain, Minnesota. She is majoring in Animal Science with a dual emphasis in poultry production and pre-veterinary medicine and minoring in Microbiology. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, exploring somewhere new, or being around animals.
Ashton Amann (CFANS Spring 2021 – Fall 2021) Commitment to Johny lab – Research Assistant
Kay Lerohl (CBS, Summer 2021) Commitment to Johny lab – Research Assistant/Summer Fellow
Sage Hagans-Petersburg (ANSC, Spring 2021. Commitment to Johny lab – Research Assistant/Summer Fellow).
Opeyemi Omotoyinbo (Pharm D, Spring 2020 – 2021. Commitment to Johny lab – Research Assistant).
Brigitta Yaputri – (BS, Spring 2020 – Food Science and Nutrition; Current – MS student, Food Science, and Nutrition, University of Minnesota). Commitment to Johny’s lab – URS and UROP Researcher (won UROP two times).
Cori LaMere – (Current – CFANS Undergrad, BS ANSC program); Commitment to Johny lab – lab trainee
Dr. Divek Nair (Ph.D., Fall 2018) – Current – Postdoctoral Scientist, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University; Commitment to Johny lab – Doctoral Student, Postdoctoral Research Associate; 2018 Midwest ASAS Young Scholar
Jiliang Shia (Ph.D., 2019-2020) – Current – Ph.D. program, China Agricultural University; Commitment to Johny lab – Visiting Scholar
Joo Lee (BS, Spring 2020) – Commitment to Johny lab – Lab management intern
Jason Langlie (BS, Spring 2018; MS Fall 2020) – Current – FSQR Associate, Cargill, Fort Worth, Texas; Commitment to Johny lab – UROP Researcher, Lab Manager, Lab Management Intern
Grace Taylor (Current – CFANS Undergrad, BS program); Commitment to Johny lab – Lab Intern
Emma Severns (Current – AnSci Undergrad, BS program); Commitment to Johny lab – Industry Research Intern
Brandon Severns (BS, Spring 2018); Commitment to Johny lab – Industry Research Intern
Claire Peichel (BS, Spring 2017) – Current – MS program, Animal Science (Johny lab), University of Minnesota, Fall 2017; Commitment to Johny lab – UROP Researcher, Research Intern
Jijo Thomas (MS, Spring 2017) – Current – Veterinarian, Animal Husbandry Department, Kerala, India; Former employment since graduation – Researcher III, Tim Johnson lab group, University of Minnesota, Commitment to Johny lab – MS student (Sept 2015 – May 2017)
Emma Bak (BS, Spring 2017) – DVM program, University of Minnesota, Fall 2017; Commitment to Johny lab – Research Intern / Manager
Grace Dewi (BS, Spring 2016) – Ph.D. program, MS program, Animal Science, University of Minnesota, Fall 2016; Commitment to Johny lab – Research Intern, Lab Manager
Tatum Odland (BS, Spring 2016) – Current – Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian, USDA APHIS (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tatum-odland/), Former – DVM program – Class of 2020, University of Minnesota; BS Animal Science (Fall 2016), Commitment to the lab – UROP Awardee, Honors Student
Alexandra Bakken (BS, Spring 2016) – DVM program, University of Minnesota, Fall 2016; Commitment to the lab – URS Awardee, UROP Awardee
Jennifer Hagen (BS, Fall 2015) – BVetMed program, the Royal Veterinary College, London, Fall 2016; Commitment to the lab – Lab Manager (2013 Dec – 2015 Dec).
For more information about Dr. Johny’s publications and research interests, please visit the UMN Animal Science Department website or email him at email@example.com