Lab Alumni

PhD Students

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Merlyn Thomas

Merlyn received her master’s in food science  from the University of Georgia and is pursuing her PhD in Dr. Feng’s lab studying the social implications of  food safety. She has assisted in projects related to pet food safety and food handling practices of university students. Currently, she is working on projects related to food safety and the COVID-19 pandemic. She hopes to learn and grow during her time at Purdue and in the Feng Lab.

Master Students


Juan Achila Godínez

My name is Juan C. Archila Godínez, and I received a BSc. in Food Science and Technology from Zamorano University, Honduras. Since 2019, I have had the opportunity to assist in some projects from Dr. Feng’s lab. Currently, I am pursuing my MS in Dr. Feng’s lab, evaluating the effectiveness of online food safety educational materials for small food processors and veteran farmers. I hope these coming years will be of professional and personal growth in the lab.


Megan Low

My name is Megan Low and I graduated with a BSc in Food Science from the University in Minnesota in 2018. Over the past 3 months, I have been working remotely from Malaysia on a project with Dr. Feng examining the effects of situational factors on consumers’ menu selection of risky food items. I will join as an MS student in her lab starting Spring 2021 and look forward to starting the consumer perception research in flour safety.

Undergradaute Students

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I am a Spring 2021 graduate of the Animal Science Department at Purdue University. Not only am I graduating with my Bachelors in Animal Science, but I am also minoring in Agriculture Systems Management and Communication. While I was in the lab I was able to help write scripts for educational videos and write and publish an extension document on processing poultry. The largest contribution I made to the lab was creating and updating our lab's webpage and twitter account. Here I developed an interest in public relations which led me to choosing my minor in communication. My experience in the lab has helped me to improve my communication and time management skills. These are great skills to have and they can be applied to any industry. My plans are to move back home to Michigan where I can hopefully find job related to livestock or grain handling within the agriculture industry.

Leah Klinestiver

I am a Spring 2021 graduate of Purdue’s Department of Public Health. As a member of Dr. Feng’s lab, I was involved in the video coding of qualitative data for the High School Curriculum project. The project I dedicated the majority of my time to involved helping develop and deliver a culturally tailored food safety curriculum for low-income families with young children. I also contributed to writing the manuscript and performing some data analysis for the Dietetics project. My time as a member of the lab has been extremely valuable to me as it has helped me develop my research skills, which have been a huge advantage to me in my internships and other professional experiences. It has also given me more confidence in my own abilities to see a project through from start to finish. I plan to use these skills as I continue my education at Boston University’s School of Public Health this upcoming fall, where I will work towards getting my MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. I hope to eventually work in the field of infectious disease prevention.

Ziyue Zhang

I am a Spring 2021 graduate of the Food Science Department at Purdue University. I was in Dr. Feng’s lab from September 2019 to May 2021. I was involved in several great projects including Pet Food Safety project, Socioeconomic Family project, COVID-19 project, as well as Dried Wood Ear Mushroom project. Through these projects, I learned a lot of knowledge regarding food safety. I was glad that I had a great chance to learn to use SPSS. I also gained lots of experience of using Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint via doing these projects. Working with Dr. Feng and other great lab members was really a great experience which helped me learn and grow a lot. Really appreciate this opportunity!

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Lia Rosa

I am an undergraduate student of Food Science and Technology at Zamorano University, Honduras. I went to Purdue University as a visiting scholar to assist Dr. Feng´s Food Safety Laboratory. I worked in a culturally tailored curriculum in Spanish for low income Hispanic families. The course addressed food-handling practices in home kitchens and intended to identify the barriers, which this minority encounters when handling food properly in their homes. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we successfully adapted the course online and delivered it nationwide.

Currently, I am working with Zamorano University in my thesis research project measuring the incidence of mycotoxins in four different diets for feedlot cattle and its bioaccumulation rate in the final meat products.

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I am a Spring 2020 graduate of the Food Science Department at Purdue University. During my time in Dr. Feng's lab, I had the opportunity to participate in the Story of Your Dinner project,  Young Adult Food Handling Study, and was able to present both in the poster competition at the 2019 IAFP Conference. Through this lab, I was able to gain and improve in my communication and leadership skills, as well as improving upon my team and independence work through the different research projects that I either lead or aided in. These have proved important during my internships in the food industry and I plan to continue to use them throughout my career. I am starting as a Food, Safety, Quality, Regulatory Associate Chemist with Cargill in their Starches, Sweeteners, and Texturizers Business Unit in the Fall.

Ishani Roychowdhury

I am Ishani and I worked in Dr. Feng's lab my freshman year in 2019-2020. My role in the lab was to help Dr. Feng with various research projects. I've mainly worked on identifying, extracting and analyzing data from published research to enable meta-analyses of key factors in food safety practices and processes.

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Sasha Nerney

I am a Spring 2022 graduate of Purdue’s Food Science Department with a minor in Fermentation. As a member of Dr. Feng’s lab, I worked alongside the graduate and PhD students with their projects on low moisture food safety, namely concerning dried fruits and flour. Tasks included video coding, data organization, and assisting with studies with human subjects. My experience in the lab taught me the importance of bringing awareness to proper handling of these foods while honing my knowledge in food safety. I also learned crucial lab skills that I will bring with me during my next steps in higher education. I am pursuing a MS in Food Science at Oregon State University, focusing on produce food safety and microbiology. I hope to one day work closely in agriculture to aid in providing wholesome and safe foods for consumers.


Sangavi Subramani

I am a Spring 2022 graduate from Biological Engineering and Food Science. In Dr. Feng’s lab, I helped collect data from media on egg noodles and dried apples. I also worked with Dr. Feng and individuals from the Agricultural Economics department to co-author a paper on the presence of flour-related food safety in online media. I learned a lot about food handling practices that I can apply every day and the importance of paying more attention to product recalls. I also improved my ability to write technical papers and synthesize large amounts of data. After graduation, I am working for Del Monte in Hanford, CA as an engineer in their Rotational Development Program. I enjoyed my time in Dr. Feng’s lab and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful individuals!