Molecular microbiology

Molecular microbiology

11 July 2024

Member: £130 + VAT / Non-member: £180 + VAT

Group discounts available on request. Contact Training


Molecular microbiology methods are needed to ensure that food is safe, with the most common use being to detect pathogens. But there is so much more.

DNA sequencing allows detected pathogens to be compared to each other with greater accuracy than ever before. It also provides tools to examine microbial populations in great detail, so that these can be understood and controlled.

Sequencing is maturing as a tool for use in food microbiology, particularly for tracking the source of outbreaks and for examining gut microflora.

By covering comparative genomics, population profiling and ISO 16140 validation of methods, this seminar is the ideal opportunity to develop and update your knowledge of molecular microbiology, so that you can best use it to ensure the safety of your products.

Who should attend

Food Microbiologists, Food Analysts, Technical Managers, Hygiene Specialists

Event Director

Fiona Cawkell


Provisional programme

Time Presentation
08:45 Registration and arrival refreshments
09:10 Welcome and Chairman's introduction
09:25 ISO 16140: Validation and verification of microbiology testing methods
Suzanne Jordan, Campden BRI
10:05 The use of comparative genomics
Anais Painset, UKHSA
10:45 Refreshment break and opportunity to visit the exhibits
11:05 Molecular microbiology and how it benefits the food industry
Prof Cath Rees, University of Nottingham
11:45 Hot news! An update on our sponsor’s products
12:15 Lunch and opportunity to view the exhibits
13:20 Unlocking microbial mysteries: application of Rep-PCR in identification of probiotic lactic acid bacteria
Dr Hamid Ghoddusi, London Met University
The application of Rep-PCR holds promise for advancing our understanding of microbial communities found in food, feed and both human and animal microbiota. Within the realm of probiotic bacteria, it facilitates the process of identifying strains with potential health-promoting traits and probiotic characteristics. This overview serves as a case study, delving into Rep-PCR's transformative role in unravelling the enigmatic aspects of probiotic lactic acid bacteria. Through this exploration, it sets the stage for improved development of probiotic products and their application in therapeutic contexts.
14:00 How Applied Molecular Mycology can help the food industry
Dr Carol Verheecke-Vaessen, Cranfield University
A mycotoxin case study – I will focus my talk on how Molecular Mycology has help the Applied Mycology Group to support the industry regarding the mycotoxins challenges and how the new Magan Centre of Applied Mycology will be a wonderful opportunity to speed-up the research needed to further support the reduction of food waste due to mycotoxins challenges.
14:40 Refreshment break and opportunity to visit the exhibits
14:55 16S rRNA Metabarcoding: Insights into meat production compared to traditional culture-based microbiology
Jack Alderton, Campden BRI
An overview from Jack which will introduce an upcoming method within the industry, 16S rRNA metabarcoding and how it has been used to provide additional data in shelf life studies. The data will be explored to show how the effects of certain external variables can impact product characteristics, such as the maturation lengths of meat products. The session will also include an evaluation of how 16S rRNA metabarcoding fits within the analytical toolbox of food and drink microbiology and potential avenues forward.
15:25 Presentation TBC
Speaker TBC
16:00 Q&A and Chairperson’s closing comments


Suzanne Jordan, Campden BRI

Suzanne has worked here at Campden BRI since 2005, following nine years of PhD and postdoctoral research experience in food microbiology and molecular biology of food microorganisms.

Suzanne is the lead for third party microbiological method validation studies for AOAC, MicroVal and NordVal, is a Retailer-approved Method Review Co-ordinator, and is involved in several research and contract projects for developing and evaluating new methodology. Alongside this, she is an industrial PhD supervisor for a project on the of fine-tuning dietary fibre to target gut microbiota accessibility.

During her career to date she has participated in multidisciplinary research projects involving European partners, developed expertise in a range of molecular techniques, and presented her research at an international level and in peer-reviewed journals.

Prof Cath Rees, University of Nottingham

Prof Cath Rees is Professor of Microbiology in School of Biosciences, at the Nottingham University, Sutton Bonington Campus. Originally, she studied Biochemistry at Oxford, followed by PhD in Bacterial Genetics at Leicester University and has a research focus on applying molecular techniques to the study of applied microbiology, with specific interest in the study of Listeria and Mycobacteria in food and agricultural systems.

Recent research has resulted in the development of rapid, phage-based tests (Actiphage) for the detection of mycobacterial pathogens including M. tuberculosis in humans and M. paratuberculosis and M. bovis in animals. This led to the establishment of PBD Biotech Ltd, where she was CSO until 2022, which was awarded The Royal Dairy Innovation Award for R&D in the field of dairy farming (2019) and the British Veterinary Association Innovation Award (2021). Since stepping down from her role in the company, she has joined the Government Advisory Committee on the Microbial Safety of Food and has become a Trustee of Applied Microbiology International. In 2024, her work in the area of applied microbiology was recognised by the award of the Translational Microbiology Prize by the Society for Microbiology.

Dr Hamid Ghoddusi, London Metropolitan University

Dr Hamid Ghoddusi is a Reader (Associate Professor) in food and microbial science at London Metropolitan University, with over 20 years of experience in academia and food industry. He holds a PhD degree in food science (microbiology) from Reading University, MSc in food science / microbiology and a BSc in food science and technology. He is currently the Head of Microbiology Research Unit (MRU) and has been the Director of the postgraduate programs in food science for 8 years. Dr Ghoddusi has been a member of Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) of Food Standards Agency (FSA) since July 2016, as the gut microbiologist and food safety advisor.

Dr Carol Verheecke-Vaessen, Cranfield University

Dr Verheecke-Vaessen obtained her PhD in mycotoxin-related research in 2014 and was awarded the best innovative PhD by the Federal University of Toulouse (France - 2015). Prior to her PhD, she had industrial experience including the development of Decision Support Systems for post-harvest management of stored cereals and liaison coordinator with food chain transformers. She then worked for two years as a temporary research and teaching attaché at the Ecole National Supérieur Agronomique de Toulouse (France) prior to joining the Applied Mycology group at Cranfield University in 2016.

Since joining Cranfield, Carol has developed her own research vision focusing on a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underpinning fungal secondary metabolites (including mycotoxins) production with a specific focus on how environmental factors, including climate change, trigger these mechanisms. Since 2016, she has been involved in several teaching and research projects (for e.g.: Oats for the future, NutriNuts, Gender-equal mycotoxin training) to improve the full supply chain management of mycotoxin.

Carol has published more than 40 peer-reviewed journals research papers and 4 book chapters. In 2021, Carol obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice from Cranfield University and became the Director of Mycotoxin Training Hub developing tailored training and research opportunities to tackle specific mycotoxin challenges faced by the agrifood industry in the UK and worldwide.

Jack Alderton, Campden BRI

Jack joined Campden BRI in 2019 as a molecular biology technician for the microbiology safety and spoilage team after completing a BSc in cellular and molecular medicine from the University of Bristol and a Masters’ in E. coli infection mechanisms from Cardiff University.

Jack is currently working in the Emerging Microbiology Group as one of our microbiologists, exploring various new and exciting food and drink topics. His primary focus is on next-generation sequencing and its applications within the industry, aiming to identify innovative ways to benefit Campden BRI members. In parallel with his work, Jack is conducting a PhD at the University of Nottingham. His research uses 16S rRNA metabarcoding to identify key and time-critical bacterial populations throughout the production of beef-based products.

Please note copies of the presentations will not be available on the day but a recording of the event will be made available within a few days of the event for registered delegates.

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