Published on 08/22/13

UGA food scientist wins international young researcher award

By Sharon Dowdy

The International Association of Food Protection has recognized University of Georgia food scientist Walid Alali with the 2013 Larry Beuchat Young Researcher Award.

The award is named in honor of UGA Distinguished Research Professor Larry Beuchat, a retired College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences food microbiologist. Sponsored by bioMerieux, Inc., the IAFP presents the award annually to a young researcher who has shown outstanding ability and professional promise in the early years of his or her career.

Alali received a plaque and a $2,000 honorarium during the IAFP 2013 meeting held July 28-31 in Charlotte, NC.

Alali joined the faculty of the UGA Center for Food Safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology in 2008 as an assistant professor of food safety epidemiology. His research focuses on understanding foodborne pathogen transmission in animal populations and developing practical interventions to limit the spread of those pathogens in food animals, particularly poultry.

He has published 27 refereed scientific journal articles, two book chapters and more than 30 scientific abstracts. Alali has developed an international food safety data collection program centered around salmonella on raw poultry sold in retail markets in emerging market countries. He has presented numerous invited talks across the nation and the world.

"Dr. Alali is off to a terrific start in his academic career and certainly deserves this special recognition,” said Michael Doyle, Regents Professor and director of the UGA Center for Food Safety.

In addition to his research projects, Alali is the president of the Georgia Association for Food Protection; serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Food Protection and Poultry Science; and is a member of the Preharvest Food Safety and Meat and Poultry Safety and Quality professional development groups, the Food Protection Trends management committee and the program committee of the Eighth Dubai International Food Safety Conference.

He is also a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Foodborne Infectious Network and the European Food Safety Authority’s expert database.

Alali holds a veterinary medicine degree from Jordan University of Science and Technology, a master’s degree in epidemiology from Kansas State University and a doctorate in epidemiology from Texas A&M University.

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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