Faculty & Staff


Siyun Wang, PhD, Principal Investigator

Dr. Siyun Wang is an Associate Professor of Food Safety Engineering at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, where she conducts research on microbial safety in the Ulrich Freybe Food Safety Laboratory.

Siyun received her B.S. degree in Pharmacy from Fudan University (2005) and Ph.D. degree in Biology from the Institute for Food Safety and Health at Illinois Tech (2010). Prior to joining UBC in 2013, she was a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University.

Lin Chen, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lin Chen is a Postdoctoral Fellow in our group. He received his PhD degree in Food Science and Technology from National University of Singapore (2021).

During his PhD study, he investigated the application of organic acid to control foodborne pathogens, such as Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella, in organic sprouts.

His current project is focused on understanding the molecular interactions between bacteriophages and host pathogens on model plants.

Yvonne Ma, Lab Manager

BSc in Microbiology and Immunology, UBC, 2017

MSc in Food Science, UBC, 2019

Yvonne completed her MSc in characterizing bacteriophages isolated from British Columbia in our lab. She was a recipient of the NSERC CGS-M scholarship.

Graduate Students

Justin Falardeau, PhD Candidate

BSc in Food Science, Carleton University, 2014

MSc in Food Science, UBC, 2017

Justin’s research is focused on the interaction between Listeria monocytogenes and the native microflora in soft-ripened cheeses like Brie and Camembert.  His goal is to develop cheese starter cultures that possess intrinsic antilisterial activity.

Justin originally came to UBC for his MSc after completing his BSc in Food Science and Nutrition at Carleton University in Ottawa. During his MSc research, Justin investigated the occurrence and predictors of common foodborne pathogens in surface waters used for irrigation in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

Justin was the recipient of an Izaak Killam Pre-Doctoral Fellowship and currently holds an Alexander Graham Bell Canada Doctoral Scholarship.

Thomas Brenner, PhD Candidate

BSc in Honours Biology with a minor in Chemistry, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2015

MSc in Integrative Biology, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2017

During his BSc and MSc programs, Thomas investigated the structure and function of proteins involved in cellulose biosynthesis by Escherichia coli. Following this, Thomas spent a year as a Project Manager/Research Associate for two major biofilm projects at Wilfrid Laurier University. He investigated potential treatments for periodontitis-causing organism biofilms under the Canadian Glycomics Network and bacteriophage treatments for various Salmonella spp. under Salmonella Syst-OMICS. His current PhD research at UBC involves the characterization of bacteriophages for reducing foodborne pathogen contamination.

Thomas is a recipient of NSERC Doctoral Scholarship.

Catherine Wong Photo

Catherine Wong, PhD Candidate

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2016

MSc in Food Science, UBC, 2019

Catherine was raised in Vancouver, BC and did her Bachelor in Food Science in 2016.

Her MSc thesis was completed in our lab, entitled “Colonization and bacteriophage biocontrol of Salmonella on fresh produce”.

Her PhD project is focused on understanding the interactions between bacteriophages and bacterial pathogens on fresh produce.

Tim Bowornnan Chantapakul, PhD Student

BSc in Honour Biology with a minor in Microbiology, Chiang Mai University, 2014

MSc in Food Science, University of Guelph, 2020 

Tim grew up in Thailand and completed his bachelor’s degree at Chiang Mai University. During his master’s degree, he investigated the microbiome of tropical fruits in order to control Listeria monocytogenes and Cronobacter sakazakii. His current project is focused on working with bacteriophage to control plant pathogens in blueberries.

Tim is a recipient of the Thai Royal Scholarship.

Daniel Yutong Ye, PhD Student

B.E. in Food Quality and Safety, South China University of Technology, 2017

M.E. in Food Engineering, South China University of Technology, 2020

Daniel’s project will be focus on finding bacteriophages against antibiotic-resistant Salmonella enterica through omics data analysis based on machine learning in food systems.

Daniel was a recipient of the CSC scholarship.


Linda Yu Tong Lu, MSc Student

HBSc in Immunology and Nutritional Science, University of Toronto, 2019

Linda grew up in British Columbia but pursued her bachelor’s degree at University of Toronto. During her undergraduate, Linda investigated clinical predictors of mortality in heart failure at Toronto General Hospital.

Linda was a recipient of the NSERC CGS-M scholarship. Her current MSc research at UBC involves characterizing bacteriophages for reducing pathogenic Escherichia coli contamination in fresh produce.

Lucy Jiangning He, MSc Student

BSc in Honours Food Science, UBC, 2021

Lucy’s current MSc research at UBC involves reducing Salmonella enterica contamination in poultry products using bacteriophages.

Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral and Research Associates

Gahee Ban, PhD

Dr. Gahee Ban was a postdoctoral fellow in our lab from 2018 to 2021. She received her PhD degree in Food Science and Biotechnology from Seoul National University and worked as a postdoctoral associate at University of Hawaii before joining our lab. Her project focused on developing effective strategies to reduce Salmonella contamination in food chain.

Currently, Dr. Ban is a research Assistant Professor at Ewha Womans University.

Karen Fong, PhD 

BSc in Microbiology, UBC Okanagan, 2012

MSc in Food Science, UBC, 2015

PhD in Food Science, UBC, 2019

Karen was born and raised in the Okanagan region of BC. She completed her MSc and PhD both at our lab. Her PhD dissertation was entitled “Comparative analysis of Salmonella-infecting bacteriophages and characterization of bacteriophage-host interactions”.

Karen was a recipient of Canadian Dairy Commission & NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Doctoral Scholarship.

After a very brief postdoctoral fellowship, she joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) as a Research Scientist in Summerland, BC in 2020.


Aljosa Trmcic, PhD

PhD in Biotechnology, University of Ljubljana, 2011
BS in Food Science & Technology, University of Ljubljana, 2005

Dr. Aljosa Trmcic was a Research Associate in our lab from 2016 to 2018. He worked on L. monocytogenes and biofilm formation, as well as on microbiology of sourdoughs.

Currently, he works as an Extension Associate in the Dairy Foods Extension at Cornell University.

Kristie Keeney, PhD

Dr. Keeney was a part-time Research Associate in our lab from 2015 to 2017.

She is the founder of Keeney Scientific, Vancouver, BC.

Graduate Students

David Mahoney, MSc 

BSc in Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University, 2018

MSc in Food Science, UBC, 2020

David was born and raised in Nova Scotia and attended Dalhousie University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and immunology in 2018.

David’s MSc thesis was entitled “Genomic Associations of Listeria monocytogenes Adhesion at 8°C”.

Currently, David works as an inspector at Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


Patricia Hingston, PhD 

BSc in Food Science, Dalhousie University, 2010

MSc in Food Science, Dalhousie University, 2013

PhD in Food Science, UBC, 2017

Patricia (Trish) is originally from Ontario but also lived in Halifax, NS for 7 years while she completed her Bachelors and Masters in Food Science. She came to Vancouver for her PhD. Most of Trish’s past and current research is focused on elucidating stress survival mechanisms used by the human foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, to survive in food and food processing environments.

Trish’s research in our lab focused on investigating L. monocytogenes‘ cold, salt, acid, and desiccation stress survival as well as its ability to form a biofilm on food processing surfaces. Trish was a recipient of the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Doctoral Scholarship scholarship.

Currently, Trish is appointed as an Assistant Professor of Teaching (tenure-track) at UBC.



Yue (Cindy) Dai, MSc 

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2016

MSc in Food Science, UBC, 2018

Born and raised in China, Cindy came to Vancouver in 2012 and obtained her Bachelor of Food Science degree from UBC in 2016.

Her MSc thesis project was focused on developing mitigation strategies for reducing pathogen contamination on sprouted vegetables.


Huihui (Hanna) Chen, MSc

BSc in Environmental Science, Zhejiang University, 2015

MSc in Food Science, UBC, 2017

Hanna was born and raised in Zhejiang Province, China. Her MSc project in our lab focused on characterizing the Salmonella strains that are important to fresh produce safety in BC.

Undergraduate Students

Devita Kireina

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2018

Devita conducted her undergraduate thesis project in our lab on sourdough fermentation. She loves to bake in her spare time and when she needs to de-stress. She hopes to travel the world to try different kinds of cuisines.


Alfred Ke

BSc in Applied Biology, UBC, 2018

Alfred conducted his undergraduate thesis project on Salmonella and sprouts safety in our lab. From the science to the culinary arts, he wants to experience as many different aspects of food as possible.


Zheqing (Ula) Zhu

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2018

Ula has started her bachelor’s degree in Vancouver since 2013. Her BSc thesis studies the biofilm-forming abilities of Listeria monocytogenes with different virulence gene profiles, with the focus mainly on the comparison of truncated Internalin A and full-length InlA in L. monocytogenes.


Gwendolyn Ge

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2018

Gwendolyn is working on her undergraduate thesis project in our lab, which is about exploring the bacteria species involved in spontaneous cassava sourdough fermentation. In her spare time she enjoy reading, cooking, traveling and music, as well as meeting new friends.

Brett LaBossiere

BSc in Biochemistry, University of Victoria, 2018

Brett was raised in the Cariboo region of central BC. He is a visiting co-op student from the University of Victoria, and is assisting Karen Fong in characterizing Salmonella phages.

Anna photo

Anna Cheng 

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2013

Anna completed her BSc thesis in our lab in 2013, titled “Real-time PCR vs. Traditional methods on the detection of Salmonella enterica in chocolates”.

Anna is currently working as a Quality Assurance professional in food industry.


Yining Mao 

BSc in Biochemistry, UBC, 2014

Yining worked with Karen in our lab from September 2013 to April 2014, when he was a 4th year Biochemistry student at UBC.

Hyun Soo

Hyun Soo Seo 

BSc in Food and Nutritional Sciences, UBC, 2015

Hyun Soo completed her BSc thesis in our lab in 2015, titled “Antimicrobial effect of crude MRP on Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium under acidic and thermal stress conditions”.

Hyun Soo is currently pursuing her MSc in Food Microbiology at Seoul National University.


Jesline Rahardjo

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2016

Jesline investigated the antimicrobial effects of Millard Reaction products on Salmonella.

She will continue to pursue a Master’s in Management at UBC.


Shinnie Zhou 

BSc in Food Science, UBC, 2016

Shinnie’s BSc thesis project is on isolation and characterization of Salmonella phages from the BC agricultural environment.

She is currently working as a consultant in a Vancouver-based company.


Donna Lau 

BSc in Biology studies, UBC, 2016

As a summer work-learn student, Donna worked with Justin on the enumeration of E.coli/Coliform in irrigation water.

Visiting Students and Scholars

Cora Chmielowska, Visiting PhD student, 2019

Cora is currently a PhD student at the Department of Bacterial Genetics, University of Warsaw.

Kaili Wang, Visiting PhD student, 2019-20

Kaili is currently a PhD student at the School of Food and Biological Engineering, Jiangsu University. Her MSc thesis focused on pre-cooling and bacteria-reducing technology in the process of broilers slaughtering.

Erkan Yildiz, Visiting BSc student, 2019

Erkan was a visiting research student working on the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on soft-ripened cheeses with Justin. He is currently pursuing his BSc in Applied Science at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Shoukui He, visiting PhD student (2018)

Department of Food Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China

Shoukui was a visiting student supported by the China Scholarship Council. He worked on the ethanol stress response mechanisms of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis in our lab.


Maxime Haure, Visiting MSc student (2015)

Maxime is pursuing his MSc in Food Engineering at AgroSup Dijon, France. His project at UBC was focused on understanding the survival of Listeria monocytogenes in soil.


Maram Garout (2014-15)

BSc in Microbiology, King Abdulaziz University, 2010

Maram has completed her graduate study on Master of Food Science (MFS) at UBC. When in our lab, Maram investigated the effects of Millard Reaction products on Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC).


Monika Trząskowska, PhD

Faculty of Human Nutrition and Consumer Sciences, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Poland

Dr. Monika Trząskowska was a Dekaban Foundation Scholar. She investigated effective mitigation strategies for producing safety mung bean sprouts in our laboratory.