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Introduction to Forensic Entomology (ENTO 4573/5573, 3 credits: Every odd fall)


Course description: Introduction to Forensic Entomology presents current information on the role of arthropods in decomposition, the role of forensic entomology in criminal and civil investigations and the increasing importance of forensic science on society.  Microbial forensic concepts are also discussed in relation to agricultural biosecurity.  Some of the material discussed in this course deals with death and some may consider images and concepts presented disturbing.



Global issues in agricultural biosecurity and forensics (PLP/ENTO 2143; 3 credits, offered every odd spring)


Course description: This course will introduce the relevance of the sciences and definitions involved in biosecurity and microbial forensics and how all system components operate and integrate to a broad range of scientific agricultural specialties including biology, economics and defense. This course offers a new, interesting professional option to prepare graduates for a career in biosecurity and microbial forensics, related research, science, roles in biosecurity agencies and law enforcement. As we examine study scenarios and topics of global significance in agricultural biosecurity and forensics, the students learn from class work, selected readings, literature research, reporting, video lectures, and guest expert(s) lectures. In addition, a comprehensive final exercise allows students to experience, practice and discuss strategies, techniques and applications relevant to agricultural  biosecurity and microbial forensics.





Advanced Biotechnology Methods (ENTO/PLP 5623; 3 credits; Every odd fall)


Course description: This is a combined lecture and laboratory course. The first half of the course covers the fundamental principles of molecular biology, such as DNA replication, gene transcription, and protein synthesis. It also introduces you a series of the conventional molecular techniques and bioinformatics tools which drive biotechnological research. The second half of the course provides some practical information on how nucleic acid techniques are applied in plant, microbiological, and forensic studies. We will include in the lab sessions in-class exercises, discussions, and problem sets to help you better understand the knowledge taught in the theory part and prepare for the examinations. The lab sessions will also involve student presentations on biotech applications, demonstrations of molecular techniques, simple experiments, and result interpretations.



Career Skills & Professionalism (ENTO/PLP5992; 2 credits; offered odd fall)


Course description: To familiarize students with concepts and information related to the successful completion of a graduate degree, obtaining employment, and performing effectively on the job.  Topics to be examined include job searching and interviewing, career opportunities, starting your career strongly, developing an IDP (individual development plan), balancing career & personal life, scientific writing, editing & plagiarism, writing and submitting proposals, the U.S. Land Grant University system, effective teaching and mentoring, negotiating successfully, biosafety issues, legal issues and patenting, use of electronic media to enhance job searching and careers, innovation, professional ethics, bioethics, and a discussion of what makes science, science.



Foodborne Pathogens on Plants (PLP5560; 3 credits; offered even fall)


Course description: The increasing outbreaks of foodborne illnesses associated with plant products, especially fresh produce, highlight the urgent need for understanding of the ecology of human pathogens on produce in order to develop improved farm-to-fork strategies to ensure the safety of these foods.  This course is designed to provide the essential information regarding the major human pathogens associated with produce, the complex interactions between human pathogens and produce, the mechanisms by which contamination occurs from the farm to the fork, and pre-harvest and post-harvest interventions.  This course also provides up-to-date information on outbreak investigation/track back, public, legal, and economic perspectives of outbreaks, and current “hot topics” on produce safety.



Phytobacteriology (PLP 5304; 4 credits; offered even spring)


Course description: This is a combined lecture and laboratory course. It will guide students in the study of the basic principles associated with prokaryotes as plant pathogens and provide sources of information on phytopathogenic prokaryotes in research, teaching, or extension careers.  Upon completion of this course the student should be able to discuss and evaluate current concepts, principles, theories, and procedures used in the study of phytopathogenic prokaryotes, describe major diseases caused by phyotpathogenic prokaryotes, economic importance, events of pathogenesis, optimum environmental conditions for disease development, and major control procedures.



Forensic Microbiology (FRNS5323; 3 credits; offered odd fall)


Course description: Throughout the course, you will learn basic microbiological techniques and apply these concepts to actual forensic situations. You will abide by the rules of evidence as they apply investigations of cases where the sued of microorganisms is suspected as a bioterrorism agent.  Recognition of the situation as a biological agent; site sampling, and laboratory identifications will be stressed.  While this course is specific to microbial forensics, it also covers background information, traditional and cutting-edge technologies, and various applications.  In order for you to gain a better understanding of the field, experts will share their expertise in the sixteen weekly units. By the end of the course, you not only should have a better understanding of forensic microbiology, but also be able to determine if you are interested in further studying the field.



Food Safety & Biosecurity (ENTO5020/PLP5560; 3 credits; teaching 2018 spring)


Course description: Using Cronobacter as a model foodborne pathogen to illustrate and study the important issues in food safety & biosecurity.  Topics include taxonomy, ecology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, current methods for detection, new assay development & validation, and statistics in collaborative studies.  Course activities also include participating in hand-on collaborative studies on new assay development and on-site visit (field trips) to commercial & government regulatory laboratories.



Insect Morphology and Physiology (ENTO 3044 and 5044; 4 credits; offered odd spring)


Course description: In this course, basic structure and function of arthropods is combined to understand how arthropods survive in and interact with their environment.  The integument, alimentary system, nervous system, locomotor system as well as feeding physiology, hormonal control of development and reproduction are covered in this course.



Insect Behavior and Chemical Ecology (ENTO 4733/5733; 3 credits; offered even spring).


Course description: Principles of behavioral ethology using insects as model organisms are covered in this course.   Topics range from basic neurobiology, communication modalities, and endogenous rhythms to mating systems, defense strategies, pheromone chemistry, and foraging behavior.  Special emphasis is placed upon behavioral assays and communicating science through writing.



Special Topics in Microbial Forensics and Biosecurity Sciences (PPL 5560; 1 credit; every semester)


Course Description: This course is uniquely designed for microbiologists from many fields: veterinary medicine, plant pathology and entomology, food safety, and microbial forensics.  The intent is to expose students to various career tracks for microbiologists, from field vector entomology to regulatory and law-enforcement sciences.  Students will be exposed to techniques useful in the field of microbial forensics and biosecurity and hear lectures from and have the opportunity to talk with law-enforcement and regulatory science practitioners.



Emerging Issues in Food Safety & Biosecurity (PLP 5560; 3 credits; offered even fall)


Course description: A variety of emerging issues in food safety and biosecurity including antibiotic resistance, foodborne pathogen detection, changes in food safety policies and management, and economically motivated adulteration (EMA) will be the topics of this course.  For each topic, its history, evolution, current practices and future development will be discussed through literature reviews and presentations.   Upon completion of this course the student should have basic understanding on these emerging issues in food safety and biosecurity.



Problems in Plant Virology (PLP 5560, 4 credits, offered even spring)


Course description: a contemporary survey of plant viruses in terms of diagnostic, characterization techniques, viral taxonomy, viral structure, genetics, epidemiology, viral vectors, and control. The course will invite graduate students to participate in class and lab discussions since it is integral part of the learning process to extend and clarify lectures and readings. The aim of the course is to provide insights and practical understanding of the fundamental definitions, principles, sources of information and language of contemporary Plant Virology. Efforts will made to spark critical thinking and proper use of definitions and terms. This course is a new, attractive and interesting professional option to prepare graduates for a career in plant pathology, entomology, biology, biosecurity and microbial forensics, as well as for related research, science, or roles in research/diagnostic agencies.



Special Topics in Microbial Forensics in Biosecurity - Detection, Diagnosis, Mitigation, Investigation, Litigation (PLP/ENTO, VETMed, ANSCI, 2 credits, offered every fall)


Course description: Students will acquire technical and logical thinking skills to investigate an outbreak of a high consequence food-borne or agricultural disease problem.  They will become familiar with food and agricultural Biosecurity infrastructure and policy in their State or Country. Students will be exposed to advanced diagnostic methods for forensics, understanding levels of confidence, assay validation and sequencing diagnostics.  To differentiate between a normal and an anthropogenic outbreak, students will learn risk/pathway analysis, epidemiology techniques, and decision trees to support a forensic determination. Students will learn statutory risk communication channels and processes.  There will be exercises in crime scene management and chain of custody sample handling. Students will understand the predicate for admission of scientific evidence, and how to behave in Court as a litigant, expert witness, counsel and/or juror.


The course will offer lectures, role play scenarios, in-class work, homework, one essay and exercises


Biosecurity and Microbial Forensics Prevention to Response

(Prerequisite course: General Biology) (ENTO 5020 or PLP 5560 Lecture and Seminar Special Topic - 3 credit hours)


Take advantage of tremendous career options for scientists versed in the language and tactical sciences of Biosecurity and Microbial Forensics! This elective course will prepare you to be highly competitive in job applications in the food and agriculture regulatory sectors, including USDA, FDA, and CDC, food industries, law enforcement, companies with high biosecurity concern, international trade, space, homeland security and military research positions. Certificate of Biosecurity will be offered to course graduates.


Lectures every Friday, 10:00 – 11:20 am;

Expert Speakers every Friday from 12:30 Noon- 1:20pm. 

(Everyone is welcome to the Friday Seminars)

Information and Contact: Dr. Kitty Cardwell, Professor, Director of Institute for Biosecurity & Microbial Forensics.


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