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Alexis M. Hamilton

Assistant Professor
Alexis Hamilton
402-C HABB1 (0924)
1230 Washington Street SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Education

  • Ph.D., Food Science and Technology, Washington State University, 2021
  • M.S., Food Science and Technology, University of Tennessee, 2018
  • B.S., Food Science and Technology, University of Tennessee, 2016

Professional Appointments

2023 – Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2021 – 2022: Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Overview

Within the Virginia Tech Food Science and Technology program, my position aims to help food manufacturers produce safe, high quality food products through an integrated research (50%) and extension (50%) appointment in food processing microbiology. It is also important to me to find ways to integrate the teaching mission of a land grant university into my program so That I May Serve fully the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am currently seeking students (M.S. and Ph.D.) with a commitment to service, science, and education to carry out ongoing research and extension projects in the areas outlined below.

Research

My research program identifies evidence-based approaches to enhance food safety while preserving quality for food manufacturers by:

  • Evaluating novel management strategies in production and storage environments to validate their effects on foodborne pathogens and product quality,
  • Designing improved cleaning and sanitation regimens in food processing environments to control foodborne pathogens, particularly in the absence of hygienic design, and
  • Examining the changing microbiome and functional dynamics within food production and storage environments to enhance safety and preserve quality.

Extension

My extension program equips food manufacturers of all sizes with the resources they require to make science-based decisions about food safety and quality in their operations through:

  • Creation of fact sheets and video content to guide food safety and quality practices within food manufacturing establishments, 
  • Development of virtual, asynchronous course offerings to support the education of stakeholders in the fundamentals of food safety, regulatory compliance, and other niche topic areas, and
  • Delivery of courses required for regulatory compliance (GMPs, PCHF, HACCP, etc.) and to bridge knowledge gaps in regulatory compliance, food safety, and other emerging issues.

Teaching (Guest Lectures)

  • FST 2024 - From Raw to Burnt: Exploring Science and Society Through Food (Dairy and Eggs)
  • FST 2244 - Topics in FST (Current Good Manufacturing Practices)
  • FST 5034 - Good Agricultural and Manufacturing Practices (Cyberbiosecurity)

*Hamilton in bold; Current as of August 2022

Ruiz-Llacsahuanga B, AM Hamilton, K Anderson, F Critzer. Efficacy of cleaning and sanitation methods against Listeria innocua on fresh produce packing equipment. Food Microbiology. 2022; 107: 104061.

Hamilton A, B Ruiz-Llacsahuanga, M Mendoza, J Mattheis, I Hanrahan, and F Critzer. Persistence of Listeria innocua on Fresh Apples During Long-Term Controlled Atmosphere Cold Storage with Postharvest Fungal Rot. Journal of Food Protection. 2022; 85(1): 133–141.

Ruiz-Llacsahuanga B, A Hamilton, R Zaches, I Hanrahan, and F Critzer. Prevalence of Listeria species on food contact surfaces in Washington State apple packinghouses. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2021; 87(9): e02932-20.

Hamilton AM, DJ Paulsen, RT Trout-Fryxell, VE Orta, SJ Gorman, DM Smith, JR Buchanan, AL Wszelaki, and F Critzer. Prevalence of Salmonella enterica in flies on a Diversified Cattle and Fresh Produce Farm Across Two Growing Seasons. Journal of Food Protection. 2021; 84(6): 1009-1015.

Ruiz-Llacsahuanga, B, A Hamilton, R Zaches, I Hanrahan, and F Critzer. Utility of rapid tests to assess the prevalence of indicator organisms (Aerobic plate count, Enterobacteriaceae, coliforms, Escherichia coli, and Listeria spp.) in apple packinghouses. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2020; 337:108949.

Hamilton A, SJ Harper, and F Critzer. Optimization of a Method for the Concentration of Genetic Material in Bacterial and Fungal Communities on Fresh Apple Peel Surfaces. Microorganisms. 2020; 8(10): 1480.

Estrada, EM, AM Hamilton, GB Sullivan, M Wiedmann, FJ Critzer, and LK Strawn. Prevalence, Persistence and Diversity of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria species in Produce Packinghouses in Three U.S. States. Journal of Food Protection. 2020; 83(2):277-86.