Global Food


Brian Buhr

CFANS Dean and co-leader, Global Food Ventures
(612) 626-7173

John Finnegan

School of Public Health dean and Global Food Ventures co-leader
(612) 625-1179

Trevor Ames

College of Veterinary Medicine dean and Global Food Ventures co-leader
(612) 624-6244


Aaron Lorenz

Faculty scholar
(612) 625-6754

Aaron Lorenz is a new faculty member in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics in CFANS who was hired via MnDRIVE.  His research is focused on improving the efficacy and speed of breeding for complex traits in crops. A major part of this effort is focused on optimizing a form of DNA marker-based selection known as genomic selection. Specifically he is interested in training population design and optimal resource allocation, across a variety of crop species. He also studies the genetic architecture underlying variation of complex traits in corn, including tolerance to Goss's Wilt, drought, and nitrogen deficiency.

Matteo Convertino

Faculty scholar
(612) 624-0132

Matteo Convertino is a new faculty member in Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health who was hired via MnDRIVE. His expertise involves computational ‘‘one health,’’ or the development of mathematical models and derived cyber-infrastructure for real-time use in order to solve population health issues. In particular, he’s interested in water-dependent diseases (e.g. cholera and leptospirosis) in large-scale ecosystems, zoonosis, foodborne diseases and food system design, occupational health infrastructure design, and pharmacodynamics.

Sinisa Vidovic

Faculty scholar

Sinisa Vidovic is a new faculty member in Avian Health in the College of Veterinary Medicine who was hired via MnDRIVE. Vidovic’s expertise includes genetics/genomics and proteomics as well as bioinformatics and veterinary diagnostics. He’s worked with identifying bacterial, protozoal and viral pathogens from animal and environmental samples using biochemical and molecular techniques.

Alison Joglekar

Faculty scholar
(612) 624-5385

Alison B. Joglekar is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota and Research Associate with the University's G.E.M.S/International Agro-Informatics Alliance (IAA) initiative. She received a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Business Management from Montana State University; a M.S. in Applied Economics from Montana State University and a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota.

Steven Bowden

Faculty scholar
(612) 624-7412

Dr. Bowden earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, in the U.K., after completing his BSc in biochemistry at the University of Birmingham, U.K. During his Ph.D. research in the laboratory of Prof. George Salmond, he investigated the regulation of carbapenem antibiotic biosynthesis in the plant pathogenic food spoilage bacterium, Pectobacterium carotovorum. During his time in Cambridge, Dr. Bowden participated in laboratory instruction, mentored and advised undergraduate and graduate students, and published research. After completing his Ph.D. in 2006, Dr. Bowden served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, U.K. and identified central metabolic reactions that support the ability of Salmonella enterica sv. typhimurium to replicate within host cells during infection. As a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Bowden studied (p)ppGpp and quorum sensing signaling in Pectobacterium atrosepticum. He went on to a project engineering a novel biofuel fermentation pathway in Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius at the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath, U.K. In 2013, Dr. Bowden joined the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow hosted by Prof. Hirotada Mori, working on the development of a novel transposon sequencing method called 2D-TnSeq. In 2015, he joined the Biotechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities as a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Igor Libourel’s research group, continuing the development of 2D-TnSeq in Escherichia coli. Dr. Bowden is a member of the Society for General Microbiology (UK), the Society for Applied Microbiology (UK), the American Society for Microbiology. He is a JSPS Fellow, and a manuscript reviewer for the journal Microbiology.

Jesse Erdmann

Faculty scholar
(612) 625-7889

Over his career, Jesse Erdmann has worked as a software engineer in the fields of web development, information security, network security, bioinformatics and health informatics.  He has strong background in securing data and semantic technology. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science at the University of Northern Iowa in 1999.

Senait Senay

Faculty scholar
(612) 625-5249

On April 18, 2018 Senait Senay began her appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on developing and enhancing spatial models that can be used to predict the distribution of agricultural pests and diseases as well as research on interactions between these pests, their hosts and the environment. Senait has an in interest in working on climate change adaptation issues especially regarding the increased risk from alien invasive species on livelihoods, food safety and biodiversity. She believes it is important to develop strategies that counter homogenization of species distribution, as novel climates resulting from climate change create suitable habitats for invading species. Her active research area is to develop intuitive pest risk models that can provide realistic results through the use of un-orthodox data sources that affect pest emergence and establishment but were not usually accessible to conventional pest risk models due to challenge in data interoperability.

Jennifer van de Ligt

Faculty scholar
(612) 624-2567

Jennifer van de Ligt, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at the University of Minnesota. She has an extensive background in animal feed and human food production, nutrition, safety, and regulations. Currently, Dr. van de Ligt helps lead a talented team of experts providing evidence-based food defense innovation, education, and outreach solutions. A key focus of her leadership is building collaborations with and transitioning the food defense solutions to the food industry.