Melha Mellata, PhD
Associate Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition
Chair, Interdepartmental Microbiology Graduate Program
Iowa State University
3346 Food Sciences 536 Farm House Lane Ames, IA 50011-1054
PhD University of Montreal
Post-doctoral research Washington University, St. Louis
Post-doctoral research Arizona State University
Research interest: Bacterial infections are important worldwide, resulting in considerable morbidity and mortality in humans, farm animals, and pets. Over 75% of emerging infectious diseases affecting humans can be traced to animals. Most are the result of infections with enteric pathogens, including Escherichia coli and Salmonella, causing substantial infections worldwide. Resistance to antibiotics among these bacteria complicates the therapeutic management of their infections. As a result, new treatments and prevention methods (for example, vaccines) are needed to prevent bacterial infections and increase food safety in the future.
Dr. Mellata’s research interests lie in the areas of pathogenesis of bacterial diseases and vaccine development. The long-term goal of the research program is to develop effective intervention strategies against bacterial infections and their antibiotic resistance. Her actual projects are directed towards understanding the molecular pathogenesis and zoonotic potential of foodborne bacteria, including Escherichia coli and Salmonella, host-pathogen interactions, and developing vaccines to control their infections in food-producing animals (i.e. chickens) and humans. Her research will benefit both human health and agricultural animal production and will enhance food safety by reducing the transmission of bacteria through the animal-food production pipeline.