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Monica A. Ponder

Dr. Monica Ponder
401-D HABB1 (0924)
1230 Washington Street SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061


  • Postdoctoral, Enteric Diseases Surveillance and Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, NCVZED, DFBMD, 2007
  • Ph.D, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, 2005
  • B.A., Microbiology, Miami University, 1999

Teaching Responsibilities

FST 4634: Epidemiology of Food and Waterborne Disease
FST 4644: Fermentation Microbiology
FST 5634: Epidemiology of Food and Waterborne Disease

Employment History

2014 - 2020:  Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

2007 - 2014:  Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

2005 - 2007:  ASM/NCID Emerging Infectious Disease Postdoctoral Fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Disease, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Disease, Foodborne and Diarrheal Disease Branch, National Salmonella Reference Laboratory

1999 - 2005:  Graduate Assistant, Michigan State University

Microbial ecology of agricultural commodities; Pathogen interactions with Gut Microbiome and influence of food processing on pathogen survival and virulence.

Current Research

Effects of prebiotics and probiotics on the gut microbiota and the health of their hosts

Investigating the role of the gut microbiota in childhood diseases (stunting, diarrheal diseases)

Validated inactivation of Salmonella on spices using ethylene oxide and steam treatment

Identifying role of food preservation stress on survival and virulence of food-borne pathogens

Fate and transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in agro-ecosystems

Developing strategies to reduce or control antibiotic resistant bacteria and food borne pathogens on foods

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Bywater A, Alexander KA, Eifert J., Strawn L. and Ponder MA.  2023.  Survival of inoculated Campylobacter jejuni and Escherichia coli O157:H7 on kale during refrigerated storage.  Journal of Food Protection.  86 (3): 100042.  doi: 10.1016/j.jfp.2023.100042

Brooks M, Alexander KA, Medley, S. and M. Ponder. 2023. Campylobacter in aquatic and terrestrial mammals is driven by life traits: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 11: 57.

Garcia JO, Wason S, Subbiah J, Eifert J, Strawn LK and Ponder MA.  2022. Media impacts recovery of Salmonella enterica and Enterococcus faecium NRRL B2354 from whole black peppercorns, basil leaves, and chia seeds treated with antimicrobial gasses. Front. Food. Sci. Technol. 2:1033814. doi: 10.3389/frfst.2022.1033814

Keenum, I., Wind, L., Ray, P., Guron, G., Chen, C., Knowlton, K., Ponder, M., and Pruden, A. 2022.  Metagenomic tracking of antibiotic resistance genes through a pre-harvest vegetable production system: an integrated lab-, microcosm- and greenhouse-scale analysis.  Environ. Microbiol. 24(8): 3705-3721. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.16022.

Murphy C., Weller, D., Reiter, M., Bardsley, C., Eifert, J., Ponder, M., Rideout, S. and L. Strawn.  2022.  Anaerobic soil disinfestation, amendment type and irrigation regimen influence Salmonella survival and die-off in agricultural soils.  Journal of Applied Microbiology.,

Iglesias-Carres, L., Hughes, M., Steele, C., Ponder, M.A., Davy, K., and A. Neilson.  2021.  Use of dietary phytochemicals for inhibition of trimethylamine N-oxide formation.  Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.  2021 May;91:108600.  doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108600. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Guron, G., Chen, C.., Pang, D.., Pruden A. and M. Ponder.  2021
Manure-Based Amendments Influence Surface-Associated Bacteria and Markers of Antibiotic Resistance on Radishes Grown in Soils with Different Textures.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 87(10), e02753-20

Wind, L., Keenum, I., Gupta, S., Ray, P., Knowlton, K., Ponder, M. Hession, W.C, Pruden, A., and Krometis, L.A.  2021.  Integrated Metagenomic Assessment of Multiple Pre-harvest Control Points on Lettuce Resistomes at Field-Scale.  Frontiers in Microbiology.  12: 683410.  doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.683410

Wei, X.,  , Verma, T., Danao, MG., Ponder,M.A.,  and J. Subbiah.  2021.  Gaseous chlorine dioxide technology for improving microbial safety of spices.  Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies.  73, 102783.

Wei, X.,  Chen, L., Chaves, B.D.,  Ponder,M.A.,  and J. Subbiah.  2021 Modeling the effect of temperature and relative humidity on the ethylene oxide fumigation of Salmonella and Enterococcus faecium in whole black peppercorn.  LWT. 140. 110742.

Acuff, J. C., Waterman, K., Ramakrishnan, J., and Ponder, M. A. (2021). Thermal Resistance of Single Strains of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli O121: H19 and O157: H7 Based on Culture Preparation Method and Osmolyte-Reduced Water Activity. JOURNAL OF FOOD PROTECTION, 84 (1): 122-127.

Acuff, J. C., Wu, J., Marik, C., Waterman, K., Gallagher, D., Huang, H.,Ponder, M. A. (2020). Thermal inactivation of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and a surrogate (Pediococcus acidilactici) on raisins, apricot halves, and macadamia nuts using vacuum-steam pasteurization. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 333, 10 pages. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2020.108814

Chen, L.,  Wei, X.,  Chaves, B.D.,  Jones, D.,  Ponder,M.A.,  and J. Subbiah.  2020.  Inactivation of Salmonella enterica and Enterococcus faecium NRRL B2354 on cumin seeds using gaseous ethylene oxideFood Microbiology. 94: 103656. 

Wu, J., Acuff, J., Waterman, K., & Ponder, M. A. (2020). Evaluation of Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus survival and growth during cooling of hams cured with natural-source nitrite. Journal of Food Protection. doi:10.4315/jfp-20-249

Dharmarha, V., Boyer, R., Strawn, L., Drape, T., Eifert, J. Vallotton, A. and M. Ponder.  2020.  An Assessment of Produce Growers’ Sanitizer Knowledge and Practices on the Correct Use of Sanitizers.  Food Protection Trends.  40 (3): 140-146.  

Medley, S., Ponder, M. and K. Alexander. 2020.  Anthropogenic landscapes increase Campylobacter jejuni infections in urbanizing banded mongoose (Mungos mungo): A one health approach.  PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 14(3) e0007888

Poe, N., Yu, D., Jin, Q., Ponder, M., Stewart, A., Ogejo, J. and H. Huang. 2020.  Compositional variability of food wastes and its effects on acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation.  Waste Management. 107: 150-158.

Guron, G.*, Arango-Argoty, G., Zhang, L., Pruden A. and M. Ponder.  2019. 
Effects of Dairy Manure-Based Amendments and Soil Texture on Lettuce- and Radish-Associated Microbiota and Resistomes.  mSphere.  Doi:10.1128/mSphere.00239-19. OPEN ACCESS.

Dharmarha, V.*, Guron, G*.,  Boyer, R., Niemara, B.., Pruden, A., Strawn, L. and M. Ponder.  2019.  Gamma Irradiation Influences The Survival And Regrowth Of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria And Antibiotic-Resistance Genes On Romaine Lettuce.  Frontiers in Microbiology.  10:710. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00710. OPEN ACCESS.

Fogler, K*., Guron, G.*, Wind, L., Keenum, I., Krometis, L.A., Hession, W.C., Pruden, A. and M. Ponder. 2019.  Microbiota and Antibiotic Resistome of Lettuce Leaves and Radishes Grown in Soils Receiving Manure-Based Amendments Derived from Antibiotic-Treated Cows. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems-Agro-Food Safety DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2019.00022. OPEN ACCESS.

Dharmarha, V.*, Pulido, N*. , Boyer, R., Pruden, A., Strawn, L. and M. Ponder.  2019.  Effect of Post-harvest Interventions on Surficial Carrot Bacterial Community Dynamics, Pathogen survival, and Antibiotic Resistance.  International Journal of Food Microbiology.  291:25-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2018.11.006. 

Lee AH, Neilson AP, O'Keefe SF, Ogejo JA, Huang H, Ponder M, Chu HSS, Jin Q, Pilot G, Stewart AC.  2019.  A laboratory-scale model cocoa fermentation using dried, unfermented beans and artificial pulp can simulate the microbial and chemical changes of on-farm cocoa fermentation.  European Food Research And Technology 245(2):511-519.  

Wu, Jian* and M. Ponder.  2018.  Evaluation of Transfer Rates of Salmonella from Single-Use Gloves and Sleeves to Dehydrated Pork Jerky.  Food Control.84C:  17-22. . 

Saunders, T.*, Wu, J.*, Williams, R., Huang, H., and M. Ponder. 2018.  Inactivation Of Salmonella And Surrogate Bacteria On Cashews And Macadamia Nuts Exposed To Commercial Propylene Oxide Processing Conditions. Journal of Food Protection. 81(3):417-423.

Chen C, Guron GK*, Pruden A, Ponder M, Du P, Xia K.  2018.  Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Bulk and Rhizosphere Soils Subject to Manure Amendment and Vegetable Cultivation.  Journal Of Environmental Quality. 47(6):1318-1326. OPEN ACCESS.

Griffin LE, Witrick KA, Klotz C*, Dorenkott MR§, Goodrich KM§, Fundaro G, McMillan RP, Hulver MW, Ponder MA, Neilson AP.  2018.  Alterations to metabolically active bacteria in the mucosa of the small intestine predict anti-obesity and anti-diabetic activities of grape seed extract in mice. Food & Function. 8(10):3510-3522. 

Newkirk, JJ*, Wu, J. Acuff, J, Caver C§, Wiersema, B., Mallikarjunan P, Williams RC, and M. Ponder.  2018.  Inactivation of Salmonella enterica and SurrogateEnterococcus faecium on Whole Black Peppercorns and Cumin Seeds Using Vacuum Steam Pasteurization. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems-Agro-Food Safety.  OPEN ACCESS.

Duncan SE, Moberg K, Amin KN, Wright M, Newkirk JJ*, Ponder MA, Acuff GR, Dickson JS.  2017. Processes to Preserve Spice and Herb Quality and Sensory Integrity During Pathogen Inactivation. Journal of Food Science. 82(5):1208-1215. OPEN ACCESS.

Li, Meng, Seelenbinder, KM§, Ponder, M., Deng L, Rhoads, R., Pelzer, K., Radcliffe, J, Maxwell, C., Ogejo, J and M. Hanigan.  2017.  Effects of dirty housing and a Typhimurium DT104 challenge on pig growth, diet utilization efficiency and gas release from stored manure.  Journal of Animal Science.  95 (3): 1264-1276.  

Byerley LO, Samuelson D, Blanchard E, Luo M, Lorenzen BN, Banks S, Ponder MA, Welsh DA, Taylor CM.  2017.  Changes In The Gut Microbial Communities Following Addition Of Walnuts To The Diet. Journal Of Nutritional Biochemistry. 48:94-102. OPEN ACCESS. 

Pollard, S.  diStefano, J., Boyer, R., Chapman, B., Archibald, T. Ponder, M. and Rideout S. 2015.  Identification of Risky Food Safety Practices at Southwest Virginia Farmers’ Markets, Food Protection Trends.   

Bowman, Lauren, Waterman, Kim, Robert C. Williams and Monica Ponder.  2015.  Inoculation Preparation Affects Survival of Salmonella enterica on Whole Black Peppercorns and Cumin Seeds Stored at Low Water Activity. Journal of Food Protection. 78(7):1259-65.

Bowman, L., Ponder, M., Waterman, K., and R. Williams.  2014.  Inoculation Procedure Effects Survival of Salmonella Enterica on Whole Black Peppercorn and Cumin Seeds Stored at Low Water Activity. Journal of Food Protection, Submitted October, 2014, revisions submitted December, 2014. Under review.

Shepherd, M., Ponder, M., and W. Swecker. 2014.  Effect of Two Different Commercial DNA Extraction Kits on the Bacterial 16S rRNA gene Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis Profile of Arabian Gelding Feces. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Accepted 12/02/2014.

Pereira Baltasar, P., Ponder, M., Swecker, W., and F. Elvinger.  2014.  Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Distribution and Characterization in a Pasture-Based Cow-Calf Production System. Journal of Food Protection. 77(5):722-31.

Schroeder, M., Eifert, J., Schmale, D., and M. Ponder.  2014.  “Association of Campylobacter spp. Levels between Chicken Grow-Out Environmental Samples and Processed Carcasses.”  Poultry Science. 93:734-741.

Shepherd, M., Ponder, M., Swecker, W., and A. Burk. 2014. Fibre digestibility, abundance of faecal bacteria and plasma acetate concentrations in overweight adult mares. Journal of Nutritional Science. 7;3:e10. doi: 10.1017/jns.2014.8.eCollection 2014.

Waitt, J., Kuhn, D., Welbaum, G., and M. Ponder.  2014.  Post-Harvest Transfer and Survival of Salmonella enterica Serotype Enteritidis on Living Lettuce.  Letters in Applied Microbiology.  58 (2): 95-101.

Lopez-Velasco, G., Carder, P., Welbaum, G., and M. Ponder. 2013. Bacterial Community Diversity of the Spermosphere and Phyllosphere Bacteria of Spinacia oleracea. FEMS Microbiology Letters.  346 (2): 146-54.

Pesapane, R., Ponder, M., and K. Alexander.  2013.  Tracking Pathogen Transmission at the Human Wildlife Interface:  Banded Mongoose and Escherichia coli.  EcoHealth.  10 (2): 115-128.

Aviles, B., Klotz, C., Eifert, J., Williams, R., and M. Ponder. 2013.  Effect of Physiological State, Prolonged Dry Storage, and in vitro Digestion on the Survival and Gene Expression of Salmonella enterica sv. Tennessee. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 162 (3): 252–259.

Aviles, B., Klotz, C., Smith, T., Williams, R., and M. Ponder.  2012.  Survival of Salmonella enterica Serotype Tennessee during Simulated Gastric Passage is Improved by Low Water Activity and High Fat Content.  Journal of Food Protection.  76 (2): 333-7.

Goodrich, K., Fundaro, G., Griffin, L.E., Grant, A., Hulver, M.W., Ponder, M.A., and  A.P. Neilson.  2012.  Administration of Dietary Grape Seed Extract Increases Colonic Expression of Gut Tight Junction Protein Occludin and Reduces Fecal Calprotectin in a Secondary Analysis of Healthy Wistar Furth Rats. Nutrition Research.  2 (10): 787-94.

Shepherd, M., Swecker, W., Jensen, R., and M. Ponder.  2012. Characterization of the Fecal Bacteria Communities of Forage-Fed Horses by Pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA V4 Gene Amplicons.  FEMS Microbiology Letters.  326 (1): 62-68.

Lopez-Velasco, G. Tydings, H., Boyer, R., Falkinham, J., and M. Ponder.  2012. Characterization of Interactions between Escherichia coli O157:H7 with Epiphytic Bacteria in vitro and on Spinach Leaf Surfaces.  International Journal of Food Microbiology.  153 (3): 351-357.

Lopez-Velasco, G., Welbaum, G., Falkinham, J., and M. Ponder.  2011. Phyllopshere Bacterial Community Structure of Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) as Affected by Cultivar and Environmental Conditions at Time of Harvest.  Diversity.  3 (4): 721-738; doi:10.3390/d3040721

Lopez-Velasco, G., Boyer, R., Welbaum, G., and M. Ponder. 2011. Changes in Spinach Phylloepiphytic Bacteria Communities Following Minimal Processing and Refrigerated Storage Described Using Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA Amplicons. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 110 (5): 1203-1214.

Price, K., Totty, H., Lee, H., Utt, M., Escobar, J., and M. Ponder.  2010.  Use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Fermentation Product on Growth Performance and Microbiota of Weaned Pigs during Salmonella Infection.  Journal of Animal Science. 88: 3896-3908.  

Ayala-del-Río, H., P. Chain, J. Grzymski, M. Ponder, N. Ivanova, P. Bergholz, G. Di Bartolo, L. Hauser, M. Land, C. Bakermans, D. Rodrigues, J. Klappenbach, D. Zarka, F. Larimer, P. Richardson, A. Murray, M. Thomashow and J. Tiedje. 2010. The genome sequence of Psychrobacter arcticus 273-4, a psychroactive Siberian permafrost bacterium, reveals mechanisms for adaptation to low-temperature growth. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 76(7):2304-12.

Hintz, L., R. Boyer, M. Ponder, R. Williams and S. Rideout. 2010. Recovery of Salmonella enterica Newport introduced through irrigation water from tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum) fruit, roots, stems, and leaves. HortScience. 45:675-678.

Lopez-Velasco, G., M. Davis, R. Boyer, R. Williams and M. Ponder. 2010. Alterations of the phylloepiphytic bacterial community associated with interactions of E. coli O157:H7 during storage of packaged spinach at refrigeration temperatures. Food Microbiology. 27(4):476-486.

Price, K., H. Totty, H. Lee, M. Utt, J. Escobar and M. Ponder. 2010. Use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation product on growth performance and microbiota of weaned pigs during Salmonella infection. Journal of Animal Science. 88:3896-3908.