- Characterization of genotypic and phenotypic properties of Listeria spp.
- Antimicrobial resistance and sanitizer tolerance of Listeria spp. and other foodborne microorganisms.
- Prevention of contamination events in produce handling and processing environments.
- Mitigation strategies and monitoring for environmental pathogens in produce, dairy and other food handling and processing environments.
- Food safety on produce farms.
Dr. Kovacevic's program focuses on food microbiology and safety, with emphasis on traditional and novel molecular microbiology and genomic approaches to study the mechanisms underlying pathogenesis, stress survival, persistence and antimicrobial resistance of foodborne pathogens. Extension activities involve FSMA training, education and outreach through the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety, and food safety training and client service support through the Food Innovation Center.
My research interests are in the application of molecular methods and genomics in food safety. In particular, my lab researches how these methods and tools can be used to improve pathogen tracing, to advance our understanding of pathogen survival and contamination events in the farm-to-fork food chain, and to aid the development of targeted interventions. Current areas of interest include: i) survival, stress response mechanisms, and prevention of Listeria monocytogenes contamination in food processing environments; ii) antimicrobial resistance in the food chain; iii) pathogen stress survival and biofilms; and iv) understanding and prevention of foodborne outbreaks. As Director of the FSMA’s Western Regional Center, I am also very much interested in working with food industry to develop effective food safety training, education and knowledge transfer initiatives.
Current and Recent Research Projects