Agricultural Research Service - USDA
About Agricultural Research Service - USDA
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Our job is finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table.
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Food safety microbiologist, focus on foodborne pathogens detection and control, specific research interests, as follows: Fresh and fresh-cut produce safety research; Foodborne pathoges detection (fast detecion); Antibiotic resistance; Pathogens typing method; Pathogens virulence evolution ; Foodborne pathogens source tracking database;
Douglas Gladue, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at the Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service at Plum Island Animal Disease Center. For over a decade, his research has focused on the molecular mechanisms of viral pathogenesis and virus-host protein interactions and applying these discoveries to the design of rational vaccines for foreign animal viral diseases. He has discovered over one hundred host-viral protein interactions and has used this discovery combined with a custom computational pipeline involving both bioinformatic and functional genomic data, to identify critical domains in viral proteins. Deletion or mutation of these domains has been used as a basis to develop rationally designed vaccines for both classical swine fever virus (CSFV) and foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). With no commercial vaccine and recent outbreaks of ASFV affecting the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, Dr. Gladue has focused his research on developing a novel rationally designed ASFV vaccine. His recent accomplishments include the functional characterization of ASFV proteins and the development of new methodology for independent multiple deletions in the ASFV genome, allowing for safer ASFV vaccine design strategies. Dr. Gladue has served on multiple scientific committees, authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, and holds multiple patents in the field of foreign animal diseases.
As long ago as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the biological world and the mysteries of how it works. As I grew up it became clear that my curiosity could only be satisfied by becoming a scientist. In spite of side trips working with my hands as a tradesman and following my other passion, music, my path has always arced back to science; eventually, resistance was futile. While my academic pursuits began at N.C. State University, my first success was my degree in Biotechnology from Alamance Community College in 1991. This was followed by a year working in the water and wastewater treatment facilities of Burlington NC. Next, I completed a B.S. in Biology from East Carolina University in 1993. This was followed by two years as a Research Technician at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where I worked with Dr. Lola Stamm on the Syphilis spirochete, Treponema pallidum. At this point I chose to continue work in microbiology because I recognized that drug resistance in bacteria would soon become a huge challenge for medicine and human health. In 1995 I joined Dr. Frank Gherardini’s lab in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Georgia. Here I studied regulation of gene expression and antibiotic resistance in Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease. I received my Ph.D. in 2000 and moved to San Diego, CA, for postdoctoral training with Dr. Michael McClelland, who was a pioneer in the new field of genomics and was finishing the first Salmonella whole genome sequence. There I worked with a team of scientists developing microarray technology to study Salmonella enterica gene expression, gene content, and evolution. This work was technically challenging, exciting, and highly productive. In 2003, I was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, in Athens Georgia as a Research Microbiologist to study antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella associated with food animals. Salmonella is one of the most prevalent foodborne pathogens globally and is estimated to cause over one million infections in the U.S. each year. Antimicrobial resistance is also common in Salmonella and has been an increasing problem over the past few decades. My research at USDA strives to understand antibiotic resistance, pathogenicity, and the evolution of Salmonella. Over the past 15 years we’ve isolated ~100,000 Salmonella from U.S. food-animals, farms, processing plants, and retail meats and determined their serotypes, genotypes, and antimicrobial resistances. We used custom microarrays and high-throughput sequencing to understand the genetics causing the spread of resistance and the development of multidrug resistance (MDR). Our work identified the antimicrobial resistance genes and mobile genetic elements that are responsible for their transmission in Salmonella. We’ve completed several collaborative studies with scientist at CDC, FDA, and Canada that have determine the genetics causing MDR in Salmonella isolated from animals, retail meats, and human infections. Recently we joined scientists at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Washington St. Louis to sequence whole Salmonella genomes. We have sequenced the whole genomes of approximately 200 isolates representative of the diversity of serotypes, antimicrobial resistances, and animal sources in our collection. Analyses of the data give us insights into the genetics of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella and how it has evolved. We have begun investigating the environmental factors on-farm and during processing that select for the development of resistance in Salmonella or that enable Salmonella to contaminate food. Our long term goal is to modify practices or devise interventions that will reduce the development of resistance in Salmonella or prevent Salmonella from contaminating food and posing a risk to human health. My team and our collaborators accomplishments have improved our understanding of the genetics behind the biology of Salmonella and antibiotic resistance. Our investigations also led to the adaptation of methods like DNA microarrays and genome sequencing to achieve our goals, as well as the development of specific assays to address diagnostic needs. One of these is our automated, high-throughput technique to identify Salmonella serotypes (SMART: Salmonella multiplex assay for rapid typing). This assay is more accurate, easier, quicker, and cheaper than traditional serotyping. SMART has been employed by a number of labs worldwide to improve Salmonella serotyping. These achievements have allowed me to author or co-author over 80 peer reviewed publications, book chapters, and review articles. We have also obtained intramural and extramural funding to allow the expansion of our investigations and to develop new collaborations. As the beneficiary of the generous training from my many mentors, I understand the need to pay that gift forward. To help achieve this, I am an adjunct professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Georgia, and I have trained many undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs, and mentored several graduate students during their MS or Ph.D. studies. I enjoy accepting graduate students into my lab for training and supporting them in completing their research thesis or dissertation. I’m looking forward to the next decade of research and plan to apply cutting edge methodologies of investigation to address the challenges to food safety and public health posed by antimicrobial resistance and Salmonella. My lifelong passion to investigate the mysteries of life has given me an enjoyable and challenging career and has filled my life with fabulous coworkers and collaborators.