Walid Alali, a scientist with the University of Georgia Griffin Campus, has received the University of Georgia Creative Research Medal — an award presented to faculty who have conducted outstanding research within the past five years on a single topic.
Alali is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin. His research focuses on the epidemiology and control of salmonella in the poultry industry. A significant number of foodborne illnesses caused by salmonella are tracked back to the consumption of poultry.
With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alali led an international food safety data collection program centered around salmonella on raw poultry sold in retail markets in emerging market countries like China, Russia and Colombia. He also investigated the presence of antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella in these countries and found high levels of multi-drug resistance. Alali worked with the World Health Organization and local officials to plan and execute a response to this problem.
“Dr. Alali’s research is extremely significant in Georgia, the U.S. and globally. His poultry research supports one of Georgia’s most important commodities that, along with eggs, had a farm gate value of $5.7 billion in 2012,” said Jerry Arkin, assistant dean of the UGA CAES campus in Griffin.
Alali joined the food science faculty of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 2008. Overall, his research focuses on understanding foodborne pathogen transmission in animal populations and developing practical interventions to prevent the spread of those pathogens in food animals, particularly poultry.
He has published 31 refereed scientific journal articles, two book chapters and more than 30 scientific abstracts. He has also delivered 26 national and international talks.
Alali is the current 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 Professional Development Groups, the Food Protection Trends management committee and the program committee of the 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.