Bhunia Lab



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Research Focus and Interests       

Pathogen and Toxin Detection

Bhunia Lab is one of the founding members of the Center for Food Safety Engineering (CFSE) at Purdue University. Our contribution to this research initiative focuses on rapid and high throughput detection of bacterial species or toxins relevant to food safety and public health. Our approaches to address this goal utilize both up-to-date hardware as well as classical biological methods. Present projects in pathogen detection include: (1) the use of Bacterial Rapid Detection using Optical Light Scattering Technology (BARDOT) for detection of Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia, Staphylococcus, and members of the Enterobacteriaceae family, (2) generation of a cell-based biosensor system for bacterial toxins including Shiga-toxin, and (3) implementation of plasmonic ELISA for bacterial pathogens and toxin.

Molecular Pathogenesis of Listeria monocytogenes

Listeria monocytogenes is recognized as one of the most important foodborne bacterial pathogens. The impact of L. monocytogenes to the food industry can be appreciated in the stable increase in CDC reported outbreaks​ due to the pathogen. L. monocytogenes also has large potential to impact human health—the causative agent of the potentially fatal condition listeriosis as well as an important risk consideration for fetal demise and neonatal infection for pregnant women. While pathogenic mechanisms of L. monocytogenes have been extensively studied, our research seeks to supplement the present model and focuses on the role of the Listeria Adhesion Protein (LAP) in the early establishment of infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Our approaches within this project include molecular and cell biological methods within both in vitro and in vivo infection models.

Bioengineered Probiotics as Anti-Pathogenic Effectors

Probiotics, simply defined as commensal organisms that exert positive effects on their hosts, are increasingly gaining popularity for improving gastrointestinal health and as therapeutic agent for chronic inflammatory diseases in the gut. Our lab has successfully demonstrated that Lactobacillus spp. expressing the Listeria Adhesion Protein (LAP) are able to attenuate the pathogenic effect of Listeria monocytogenes in an in vitro model of infection. We are presently extending this study to include mouse and guinea pig models of listeriosis. Moving forward, we seek to explore the possibility of targeted bioengineered probiotics as therapeutics against other food borne pathogen species.

Research Group


Dr. Arun K. Bhunia  


Post Doc

Dr. Shivendra Tenguria


Graduate Student

Tawfiq Alsulami (MS, Food Science)

Xingjian Bai (MS, Food Science) 

Taylor Bailey (PhD, Comparative Pathobiology)

Rishi Drolia (PhD, Food Science) 

Dongqi Liu (MS, Food Science)

Marcela Martinez-Chavez (MS, Food Science)

Manalee Samaddar (MS, Food Science)

Celina To (MS, Food Science)



Jingyi Ren (Food Science)

Alexander Stanley (Biology)

Luping Xu (Food Science)

Shangqi Yu (Food Science)


Visiting Scholar

Maha Abdalhaseib 

Moloko Mathipa 

Xingyue Zhu​