FRI News

Dec 04, 2017

FRI eNews December 2017

Scientists link cases of unexplained anaphylaxis to red-meat allergy caused by tick bites; FRI's year in review; CDC reports on E. coli-contaminated flour

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Nov 06, 2017

FRI eNews November 2017

FRI faculty pursue antibiotic-free innovations; Thanksgiving hits the ice cream shop

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Oct 26, 2017

Food Evolution Screening Sparks Lively Panel Discussion

On Oct. 24, the Collegiate Farm Bureau, UW-Madison Department of Plant Pathology, and the Food Research Institute brought Food Evolution to UW-Madison. Nearly 300 guests from as far away as Illinois and Iowa gathered in the Marquee Theater to watch one of the most talked about documentaries of 2017.

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Oct 25, 2017

Beyond Antibiotics

FRI affiliated faculty member JP van Pijkeren and the late Mark Cook were featured in the most recent issue of UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences's Grow Magazine in an article on antibiotic-free innovations.

JP looks at probiotics as a way to sneak in antibiotic-free treatment for disease-causing bacteria like Clostridium difficile. And Cook's spinoff company, Isomark, works to help prevent the overuse of antiobiotics — and the resulting drug resistance — by determining when antiobiotic treatment is not needed.

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Oct 01, 2017

FRI eNews October 2017

FRI remembers Mark Cook; Report says microbiome may play role in multiple sclerosis

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Sep 11, 2017

FRI Notes the Passing of Mark Cook

Mark CookIt is with great sadness that we share that FRI Executive Committee member Professor Mark Cook passed away on September 9 after a courageous battle with cancer. Mark was a member of the faculty in the Department of Animal Sciences at UW-Madison for 35 years. He was a world renowned leader in poultry science as both an investigator and as an instructor in campus courses and the Midwest Poultry Consortium Center of Excellence.

Mark was an outside-the-box thinker who strove to find real-world applications of his research. He was part of more than 20 patents, including pioneering work with Emeritus Director Dr. Mike Pariza on the beneficial effects of conjugated linoleic acid in domestic animals. Mark helped start three companies (Isomark, aOva, and Ab E Discovery), whose technologies ran the gamut from isotope detection in expired air to detect underlying infection to novel use of chicken eggs as a source of beneficial antibodies to improve animal production and reduce disease. The latter effort holds the promise of providing effective new tools to reduce reliance on antibiotics in food animal production.

Beyond his many research accomplishments, Mark was an outstanding mentor to students in the classroom and to graduate students working on projects in his lab or on whose thesis committees he served. Mark was a consummate academic citizen. He was always quick to volunteer to give a lecture, help a graduate student, or provide leadership to a campus program. In particular, he served admirably as Chair of the UW-Madison University Committee and was involved in creation of the Discovery to Product initiative (D2P). The latter is a new collaboration between UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to advise and support business ideas from faculty, staff, and students.

Most importantly, Mark was a warm, generous, and caring colleague and friend. His contributions to FRI and the UW-Madison campus were exceptional. His passing is a loss felt by many.

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Sep 01, 2017

FRI eNews September 2017

FRI to co-sponsor "Food Evolution" screening; Pumpkin spice is back, whether you like it or not

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Aug 28, 2017

Microbes Compete for Nutrients, Affect Metabolism, Development in Mice

FRI affiliated faculty member Federico Rey studies how our microbiomes may effect our metabolism and nutrient intake.

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Aug 22, 2017

Federico Rey to Present at Fermentation Fest 2017

FRI affiliate Federico Rey will present "Gut Reaction: Microbes, Diet and Health" on Oct. 6 from 6:30–7:45 p.m. as part of Fermentation Fest 2017 in Reedsburg, Wisc. Information on his presentation can be found on the Fermentation Fest website.

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Aug 01, 2017

FRI eNews August 2017

FRI Summer Scholars present research; Schumer requests FDA investigate health effects of phthalates

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Jul 04, 2017

Eric Johnson Works with Alaska Natives to keep Botulism Out of Traditional Foods

FRI executive committee member and bacteriology professor Eric Johnson, one of the world’s foremost experts on Clostridium botulinum, is working with Alaska Natives and other groups to keep botulism out of seal oil and other traditional favorites.

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Jul 03, 2017

Mark Cook Part of UW-Madison Group That Aims to Solve Stress in Fish Farms

FRI executive committee member Mark Cook is part of a University of Wisconsin-Madison group that discovered a way to improve survival in fish farms and has begun to unravel the mechanism behind their unexpected finding. In a series of experiments, they are probing how an oil from a gland that birds use to condition their feathers can keep fish alive.

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Jul 01, 2017

FRI eNews July 2017

FRI at IAFP; Do dust storms spread antibiotic resistance?

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Jun 26, 2017

Jeff Sindelar Receives 2017 WAMP Meritorious Service Award

Congratulations to FRI executive committee member Jeff Sindelar, who has received the 2017 Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors (WAMP) Meritorious Service Award.

Sindelar provides assistance to many state and federally inspected establishments throughout Wisconsin, the U.S., and internationally. From the vast number of educational programs he has developed to the research he has conducted and articles published, as well as the continued assistance to the meat industry, Sindelar has made a positive impact on the success of the UW-Madison Department of Animal Sciences as well as WAMP.

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Jun 22, 2017

FRI Researchers Receive Microbiome Initiative Funding

FRI executive committee members Laura Knoll and Jeri Barak and FRI affiliate Federico Rey have received funding through the 2017 UW-Madison Microbiome Initiative.

The Microbiome Initiative is part of a series of strategic initiatives launched by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to seed research that is likely to galvanize the UW’s research community and to position UW-Madison faculty to be more competitive when applying for federal funding in specific research areas.

Learn more about these projects:

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May 30, 2017

UW Expertise a Secret Ingredient at Kerry

Kerry has had relationships with UW-Madison for more than 20 years, working with departments including Food Science, the Center for Dairy Research and the Food Research Institute.

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Apr 13, 2017

Antibiotic alternatives, delivered by friendly microbes - See more at:
Antibiotic Alternatives, Delivered by Friendly Microbes
Antibiotic alternatives, delivered by friendly microbes - See more at:
Antibiotic alternatives, delivered by friendly microbes - See more at:

FRI affiliate faculty member JP van Pijkeren looks at probiotics as more than just friendly bugs. He sees a way to target disease-causing bacteria without producing more drug resistance in a world glutted with antibiotics.

Van Pijkeren, an assistant professor of food science at UW-Madison, is looking to probiotics as a way to sneak in antibiotic-free treatment for Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, a resilient gastrointestinal pathogen that causes pain, diarrhea, and potentially life-threatening inflammation of the colon. By loading the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri with viruses targeted at C. diff, van Pijkeren aims to deliver genetic instructions that cause the pathogen to self-destruct.
Microbiologist Jan Peter van Pijkeren looks at probiotics — those microbes thought to provide health benefits in our bodies — as more than just friendly bugs. He sees a way to target disease-causing bacteria without producing more drug resistance in a world glutted with antibiotics. - See more at:

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Mar 28, 2017

Kathy Glass and Jeff Sindelar Speak at Sodium Reduction Workshop

Workshop proceedings are available for review regarding “The safety of sodium reduction in the food supply: A cross-discipline balancing act.” Jointly presented by the ILSI North America Technical Committees on Food Microbiology and Sodium, the workshop aimed to provide greater knowledge and appreciation of the opportunities and challenges facing the food industry in answering the public health community’s call to reduce sodium levels in the food supply. Sodium plays a critical role in inhibiting the growth of pathogens and food spoilage bacteria.

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Mar 21, 2017

How Well Does the U.S. Food Recall System Work?

FRI science writer Wendy Bedale shares her perspective on last year's flour recall.

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Mar 02, 2017

Students on the Cutting Edge

This article from Grow magazine features undergraduate students who pursued research projects and internships to further their knowledge and careers. FRI summer scholar Makala Bach worked on a research project sponsored by the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors with the purpose of helping Wisconsin meat processors improve the safety of their processes and products.

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Feb 21, 2017

Listeria May Be Serious Miscarriage Threat Early in Pregnancy
Listeria may be serious miscarriage threat early in pregnancy - See more at:

Listeria, a common foodborne bacterium, may pose a greater risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy than appreciated, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine studying how pathogens affect fetal development and change the outcome of pregnancy.

According to the CDC, Listeria makes about 1,600 Americans sick each year — a relatively small number, but a group heavy on newborn babies and older adults with undeveloped or weak immune systems.

“The problem with this organism is not a huge number of cases. It’s that when it is identified, it’s associated with severe outcomes,” says Charles Czuprynski, a UW-Madison professor of pathobiological sciences and director of the Food Research Institute.

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Feb 17, 2017

From Mice, Clues to Microbiome’s Influence on Metabolic Disease

The community of microorganisms that resides in the gut, known as the microbiome, has been shown to work in tandem with the genes of a host organism to regulate insulin secretion, a key variable in the onset of the metabolic disease diabetes.

That is the primary finding of a study published Feb. 14 in the journal Cell Reports by a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers Alan Attie and Federico Rey, an affiliate faculty member of FRI.

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Feb 01, 2017

Kathy Glass Honored at Dairy Forum

FRI Associate Director Kathy Glass received the National Cheese Institute's highest honor at the Dairy Forum this week. The NCI Laureate Award is given to leaders in the cheese industry or academia who have made significant, prolonged contributions to the development and growth of the industry.

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Jan 03, 2017

Jeff Sindelar Receives NAMI Educator's Award

The North American Meat Institute has honored FRI Executive Committee Member Jeff Sindelar with the 2017 Harry L. Rudnick Educator’s Award in recognition of his role as an educator of future industry leaders and his commitment to education, training, and certification for the Wisconsin meat processing industry.

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