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Departmental Faculty
Sophia Kathariou Sophia Kathariou

Professor, Food Science and Microbiology

322-F Schaub Hall


B.A. (1975) Austin College, Sherman, Texas
Ph.D. (1981) University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

We are primarily interested in the study of virulence, adaptive physiology, ecology, molecular epidemiology and evolution of bacterial foodborne pathogens. Our focus is on two systems of substantial current concern to food safety, Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter jejuni. Sources of food contamination by Listeria are primarily environmental (although reservoirs remain largely unknown), whereas Campylobacter is commensal in birds, and infection commonly involves contaminated poultry products.

Our objective is to employ molecular epidemiologic tools along with genetic, physiologic and pathogenesis approaches to identify and characterize lineages of special relevance to food safety, including the unique clonal lineages that have been implicated in epidemics of foodborne listeriosis. Listeria can persist in biofilms and grow at low temperatures, and we are investigating the molecular basis underlying cold and freeze tolerance, and biofilm establishment and persi stence of the pathogen. These processes are also being studied with Campylobacter, which is capable of persistence (albeit not growth) in refrigerated foods, esp. poultry. Campylobacter is a genetically highly variable microorganism, presenting special opportunities and challenges to the study of the evolution of virulent strains, and their adaptation to different hosts, such as poultry, other meat animals, and humans.

Curriculum Vitae

Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC  27695
(919) 515-2951