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Olivia obtained a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina and an MSc. in Plant Sciences from McGill University. Before joining the Bhullar Lab, Olivia worked as a Laboratory Lead for a food microbiology testing laboratory, where she gained insight into critical food safety needs in the produce industry. She joined the Bhullar lab in Fall 2020 as a Ph.D. student and is currently the Lab Manager. The focus of Olivia’s work is investigating ultraviolet radiation for the disinfection of agricultural water and fresh produce surfaces and UV-induced hormesis for the post-harvest quality enhancement of fresh produce. On a personal note, she is passionate about food safety and loves the Bhullar lab’s outdoors sampling adventures!
Durga received a bachelor’s degree in public health and a master’s in sociology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. She worked in the non-profit sector related to nutrition and food security in rural areas of Nepal. She joined Dr. Bhullar and Dr. Pliakoni’s lab to pursue an M.S. program in horticulture with an emphasis on urban food systems in fall 2021. Her research is focused on investigating the effect of innovative produce-labeling technology on the quality and safety of horticultural produce. Additionally, her research will evaluate the consumer acceptability of such produce-labeling technology.
Markanna received a bachelor's degree in agribusiness economics & management and a M.S. in agriculture and resource economics from the University of Arizona. She has worked with global supply chain standards and agribusiness companies, where she was introduced to the great potential of urban and controlled environment agriculture. Her interest in efficient and sustainable food production led her to Dr. Bhullar and Dr. Yang's lab in the fall of 2022, while pursuing an M.S. in horticulture with an emphasis on urban food systems. Her research focuses on investigating the microbial food safety risks in hydroponic systems and the impact of ultraviolet light on postharvest quality outcomes in those systems.
Yeqi received a B.A. in Horticulture from Iowa State University and joined the Bhullar lab in Fall 2020 as an M.S. student in Horticulture with an emphasis in Urban Food Systems. The focus of Yeqi’s work was the microbial quality of agricultural source water. Her projects involved identifying the critical needs of Kansas and Missouri produce growers for extension education purposes to improve agricultural water quality, and microbial source tracking studies to identify the source(s) of fecal contamination of surface waters.
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