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Lab group 2019

Current Group  (from the left – Claire Peichel, Shijina Manjankattil, Grace Dewi, Brigitta Yaputri, Anup Johny, Jia Shiliang, Kerem Deniz, Divek Nair, Luna Akhtar, and Joo Lee)


Principal Investigator:

Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny BVScAH, MVSc, PhD 

Anup JohnyDr. Johny is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He joined the department in December 2013 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 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 in 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 on microbial transcriptomics during his postdoctoral training. Currently, he works with his lab group 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.

Research Associates:

Dr. Luna Akhtar Ph.D.

lunaDr. 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 evaluate 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.

Dr. Divek Nair Ph.D. (2018 Midwest ASAS Young Scholar)

Divek web

Dr. Divek Nair has recently graduated with a Ph.D. His current research focuses on the control of foodborne pathogens in poultry using environmentally-friendly alternative approaches. Divek has a Bachelor’s degree (DVM equiv.) from the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in India. During this time, he became interested in studying animals domesticated for food purposes. He volunteered in research projects focusing on poultry. In 2012 he joined the Mississippi State University for earning a Master’s degree in Poultry Science. His research was on reducing pathogenic and spoilage bacteria in poultry meat using plant-derived antimicrobials in combination with modified atmosphere packaging. He also volunteered in a 4-H poultry chain project at the MSU. Apart from his academic activities, Divek likes to spend time with family and friends. He reads adventure stories and likes to watch science fiction movies.

Graduate Research/Teaching Assistants:

Ms. Grace Dewi BS, MS – ANSC Ph.D. program (2019 MnDRIVE Fellow)

GraceDGrace 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.

Ms. Claire Peichel BS – ANSC MS program (National Needs Fellow, USDA)


Claire is a first year Master’s student in Dr. Johny’s lab. She joined Dr. Johny’s laboratory as an NNF fellow. She attended the University of Minnesota for Food Science where she became interested in Food Safety and Microbiology. Claire joined Dr. Johny’s lab 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

Ms. Shijina Manjankattil BVScAH – ANSC MS program

Shijina Raj Manjankattil Rajan-2017 (1) (1)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 in 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 leisure time.


Visiting Scholars:

Mr. Shiliang Jia – Ph.D. program, China Agricultural University

jia-e1548890083246.pngShiliang Jia was born and raised in Ri Zhao city, a seaside city in Shandong province, China. Now, he is a 3rd-year Ph.D. candidate at the China Agricultural University, and his major is food science and engineering. His research focuses on the processing and storage of aquatic products. Specifically, he is investigating the mechanisms of the quality deterioration caused by specific spoilage organisms in freshwater fish flesh during chilled storage. He joined in Dr. Anup Kollanoor Johny’s lab as a visiting Ph.D. student from January 2019. Apart from his academic activities, Shiliang likes to spend time with family and friends. He likes to play badminton and watch science fiction movies.

Undergraduate Scholars:

Ms. Brigitta Yaputri – Food Science (URS, UROP Awardee)


Brigitta is an undergraduate student in the lab. She is majoring in Food Science and a minor in Nutrition with an interest in microbiology. She is currently engaged in research under the Undergraduate Research Scholarship (URS) Program that focuses on increasing the sensitivity of foodborne pathogens in poultry to antibiotics by utilizing the beneficial properties of probiotics. After completing the URS project, she plans to continue doing research in the area. Outside of academics, she loves to read, watch action movies, and do yoga sculpt.

Ms. Joo Lee – ANSC (Lab Management Intern)


Joo Lee is an Animal Science Undergraduate Student, working to obtain a bachelors degree in Animal Science with a Pre Vet Emphasis. Joo is currently interning in the lab as Lab Management Intern, managing the lab and learning the basics of research and microbiology. Aside from interning at the lab and studying, Joo likes to play computer games and spend time with her friends and her pets.


Ms. Grace Taylor – ANSC Lab Intern (in absence from May 2018 to May 2019 to execute her duties as the President of Minnesota State FFA)

Grace TGrace Taylor is an Animal Science Undergraduate Student, working to obtain a bachelors degree in Animal Science with a Poultry Science Emphasis. Growing up on a turkey farm, she has a strong interest in the field of poultry. Grace is currently interning in the lab, learning the basics of research and microbiology. She is working closely with and assisting the graduate students with their projects in the lab. Aside from interning at the lab and studying, Grace likes to read, play her violin and spend time with friends.


Mr. Kerem Deniz – Food Science (URS Awardee)

KeremKerem Deniz is an undergraduate student, working to obtain a bachelors degree in Nutrition. Growing up with a mother who completed her masters 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 of completing his URS project. Aside from working in the lab and studying, Kerem likes to dive and swim.



Lab Alumni:


Jason Langlie (BS, Spring 2018) – Current – MS program, Animal Science, University of Minnesota, Fall 2018; Commitment to Johny lab – UROP Researcher, Lab Manager, Lab Management Intern.




Emma Severns (Current – AnSci Undergrad, BS program); Commitment to Johny lab – Industry Research Intern




BRANDON_SEVERNS (2)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.



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Jijo Thomas (MS, Spring 2017) – Current – Researcher III, Tim Johnson lab group, University of Minnesota, Commitment to Johny lab – MS student (Sept 2015 – May 2017).



emma bak

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) – DVM program, University of Minnesota, 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) – DVM 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 2019-2021