Kali Kniel

Department of Animal and Food Sciences

Kali Kniel

Professor of Microbial Food Safety

Office location:
531 S. College Avenue
044 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716

Resources and links


  • Postdoctoral Microbiologist at the United States Agricultural Research Service, Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory
  • Ph.D. Food Science and Technology with a focus in Food Microbiology and Parasitology, Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • M.S. Molecular Cell Biology, Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • B.S. Biology, minor in Sociology, Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

Current courses

  • ANFS 102 – Food For Thought
  • ANFS 230 – Foodborne Diseases: Outbreak Investigation 
  • ANFS 439/639 - Food Microbiology


Dr. Kniel’s laboratory explores issues of food safety and public health that involve transmission of viruses, protozoa, and pathogenic bacteria. Few laboratories work with this extent of different microorganisms. Specific projects may address survival or transmission routes through various complex food systems. In light of needs related to the FDA FSMA Produce Safety Rule, research includes assessing risks associated with pre-harvest contamination of raw agricultural commodities through water and soil amendments. Research projects focus on survival and persistence in water and poultry litter and subsequent transfer onto the edible portion of the crop. Investigations into novel detection methods as well as biocontrol are also ongoing. Efforts are made to correlate behaviors of different microorganisms, including viral surrogates, with climate or other environmental metadata in our assessments. We also work with nearby government agencies and connect our research to the needs of policy makers. We have contributed data critical to addressing contemporary food safety questions; specifically, prevalence of pathogens in manure and time needed between application of manure and time to harvest. Students on all levels assist with this research.

Exploratory studies surrounding issues of food safety education is part of Dr. Kniel’s passion for research. Issues of food microbiology and food safety can be integrated across the K-16 curriculum in a novel way of connecting science to other topics. One Health is a holistic way of thinking about how the health of our environment is intertwined with human health and animal health. Food Safety is an outstanding example of a topic with a One Health focus. More information and examples are available on the Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation website.

Professional activities