The CDC currently estimates that there are 48 million foodborne illnesses in the United States every year, while globally there are an estimated 600 million cases per year leading to 420,000 deaths. Bacterial foodborne pathogens are a very diverse group that have evolved to survive and flourish in a wide range of environments, and current agricultural practices designed to meet global food demands have allowed these pathogens to thrive. For example, as many people around the world have improved their diets by increasing their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, it has also lead to an increase in fresh produce as a source for foodborne disease. Fresh produce can be particularly challenging because it is commonly consumed raw. Nonetheless, fresh produce is not the only source of foodborne outbreaks, and thus every food commodity has unique food safety challenges that need to be addressed to make the global food supply as safe as possible. Therefore, the Cooper laboratory focuses on research involving the genomics, pathogenesis and epidemiology of bacterial foodborne pathogens to develop methods to help improve the safety of the global food supply.
Cooper Lab Motto: Everybody eats, let's make it safer!