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Dr. Robert L Buchanan

Professor Emeritus

Professor Emeritus

Nutrition & Food Science 0112 Skinner Building 4300 Chapel Lane College Park, Maryland 20742-7521


  • Predictive microbiology, quantitative microbial risk assessment, microbial physiology, mycotoxicology, and HACCP systems
  • Co-developers of the widely used USDA Pathogen Modeling Program

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Buchanan, Director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Food Safety and Security Systems, received his B.S, M.S. M.Phil, and Ph.D. degrees in Food Science from Rutgers University, and post-doctoral training in mycotoxicology at the University of Georgia. Since then he has 30 years experience teaching, conducting research in food safety, and working at the interface between science and public health policy, first in academia, then in government service in both USDA and FDA, and most recently at the University of Maryland. His scientific interests are diverse, and include extensive experience in predictive microbiology, quantitative microbial risk assessment, microbial physiology, mycotoxicology, and HACCP systems. He has published widely on a wide range of subjects related to food safety, and is one of the co-developers of the widely used USDA Pathogen Modeling Program. Dr. Buchanan has served on numerous national and international advisory bodies including serving as a member of the International Commission on Microbiological Specification for Foods for 20 years, as a six-term member of the National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods, and as the U.S. Delegate to the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Food Hygiene for 10 years.

Current Research

My research interests include multiple areas related to food safety, encompassing both Food Safety Microbiology and Food Toxicology. The primary areas that are the focus of my current research efforts are:

  • predictive microbiology – description of microbiological behavior through mathematical models
  • quantitative food safety risk assessments (microbial and chemical) – determination of risks associated with foodborne hazards
  • microbiological safety of fresh and fresh-cut produce – on farm and processing approaches to preventing foodborne disease
  • evaluation and enhancement of food sampling methods for microbiological testing
  • identification of new technologies to enhance the safety of foods

The overall thrust of this research is to provide the scientific basis for sound public health policy and the development of improved tools for preventing foodborne diseases. While not actively pursuing at the current time, mycotoxicology and foodborne mutagens/carcinogens are areas of past research where I maintain active interests.