The Avis Lab studies both fundamental and applied aspects of food and plant microbiology. More specifically, we are interested in microbial food spoilage and plant pathology. Our main focus is the use of alternatives to synthetic chemicals to control the growth of microorganisms on crops and during food storage. The resulting effects of this research are meant to increase food yield and reduce food loss, which can have a positive impact on food security and environmental sustainability.
We are investigating the use of beneficial microorganisms (biological control agents), as well as microbial and plant extracts and purified natural antimicrobial compounds as potential alternatives to control harmful microorganisms. These novel control measures are meant to mitigate problems associated with some synthetic control measures such as risks to health and the environment as well as to delay or eliminate the onset of resistance development in the targeted microorganisms.
Our laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach including basic microbiology, biochemistry, bio-analytical and bio-physical chemistry, membrane and lipid chemistry, as well as molecular biology, genetics, and genomics.