Agriculture News

February 16, 2017

Purdue University microbiologist Haley Oliver selected as an AAAS Fellow

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Haley Oliver, a Purdue University associate professor of food science, was among 15 researchers selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to be a 2017-18 Public Engagement Fellow of the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science.

The Leshner Fellowship program, which is in its second year, identified researchers who are specializing in infectious disease research. In making the announcement, the AAAS noted that the new fellows have demonstrated leadership and excellence in their research careers. The fellowship is designed to enhance their skills in public engagement leadership as a way of promoting meaningful dialogue between scientists and society.

Oliver said that the fellowship will help advance her research on the transmission of L. monocytogenes and Salmonella at restaurants, grocery stores and other food retail outlets, as well as assist in her efforts to raise public awareness about how consumers can reduce their risks to exposure.

“This is a very critical time for science and universities in a climate that is challenging evidence-based facts,” Oliver said. “The need for clear and effective communication has never been more urgent. Refining my ability to communicate the results of my research on foodborne pathogens to consumers, industries, and other stakeholders is imperative to make progress towards reducing foodborne disease.”

This year’s recipients were recognized at a reception Feb. 16 during the AAAS annual meeting in Boston. The group also will meet in Washington, D.C., this summer for a week of intensive public engagement and science communication training, networking, and public engagement plan development. The training is designed to equip the fellows to train other scientists and engage with the public. They also will receive ongoing support from the AAAS staff during their fellowship year.

Oliver, who currently teaches food microbiology and food plant sanitation courses for Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, also earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture Science Excellence in Teaching Award for New Teachers in 2014 and the Larry Beuchat Young Scientist Award in 2016.

Since 2012, Oliver and her colleagues have been working on a USAID-sponsored project to develop a food technology undergraduate program at Herat University in Afghanistan that is designed to improve food safety, quality, and security.           

Writer: Shari Finnell, 765-494-2722, 

Source: Haley Oliver, 765-496-3913,

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Darrin Pack, 
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