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Assistant Research Scientist

Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition 5825 University Research Court Suite 1400 College Park, MD 20742


  • Food microbiology
  • Bacterial genomics
  • Bacterial stress response


  • Ph.D. in Microbiology, Clemson University

Professional Experiences

Postdoctoral associate, University of Maryland

Postdoctoral associate, University of California, Davis

Postdoctoral associate, Clemson University

Recent Publications

Cao, G., Zhao, S., Kuang, D., Hsu, C., Yin, L., Luo, Y., Chen, Z., Xu, Xu., Strain, E., McDermott, P., Allard, M., Brown, E., Meng, J., & Zheng, J. (2023). Geography shapes the genomics and antimicrobial resistance of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis isolated from humans. Scientific Reports, 13, 1331.

Chen, Z. & Meng, J. (2022). Critical assessment of short-read assemblers for the metagenomic identification of foodborne and waterborne pathogens using simulated bacterial communities. Microorganisms, 10, 2416.

Chen, Z. (2022). Application of chlorine dioxide-based hurdle technology to improve microbial food safety–A review. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 379, 109848.

Ballesteros-Nova, N. E., Sánchez, S., Steffani, J. L., Sierra, L.C., Chen, Z., Ruíz-López F. A., Rubio, M. S., Soberanis, O., Barona, F., Meng, J., Allard, M. W., & Delgado-Suárez, E. J. (2022). Genomic epidemiology of Salmonella enterica circulating in surface waters used in agriculture and aquaculture in Mexico. Applied and Environmental Microbiology88e02149-21.

Wang, Z., Zhu, T., Chen, Z., Meng, J., Simpson, D. J., & Gänzle, M. G. (2021). Genetic determinants of stress resistance in desiccated Salmonella entericaApplied and Environmental Microbiology, 87, e01683-21.

Chen, Z. & Meng, J. (2021). Persistence of Salmonella enterica and Enterococcus faecium NRRL B-2354 on baby spinach subjected to temperature abuse after exposure to sub-lethal stresses. Foods10, 2141.

Chen, Z., Erickson, D. L., & Meng, J. (2021). Polishing the Oxford Nanopore long-read assemblies of bacterial pathogens with Illumina short reads to improve genomic analyses. Genomics113, 1366-1377.

Chen, Z., Erickson, D. L., & Meng, J. (2020). Benchmarking long-read assemblers for genomic analyses of bacterial pathogens using Oxford Nanopore sequencing. International Journal of Molecular Sciences21, 9161.

Chen, Z., Erickson, D. L., & Meng, J. (2020). Benchmarking hybrid assembly approaches for genomic analyses of bacterial pathogens using Illumina and Oxford Nanopore sequencing. BMC Genomics21, 1-21.

Kwon, H. J., Chen, Z., Evans, P., Meng, J., & Chen, Y. (2020). Characterization of mobile genetic elements using long-read sequencing for tracking Listeria monocytogenes from food processing environments. Pathogens9, 822.

Chen, Z., Kuang, D., Xu, X., González-Escalona, N., Erickson, D. L., Brown, E., & Meng, J. (2020). Genomic analyses of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Indiana, Typhimurium, and Enteritidis isolates using MinION and MiSeq sequencing technologies. PloS ONE15, e0235641.

Grant Awards

20222024. Principal investigator. “Control of Persistent Salmonella enterica on Foods with Prior Exposure to Sub-Lethal Food Production-Related Stresses Using a Hurdle Concept”, U.S. Department of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture. $288,000.

2023 – 2026. Co-principal investigator. "Production and Application of Biochar in Agricultural Practices at Small and Underserved Farms: Soil enhancement, Carbon Sequestration, and Promoting Climate-Smart Commodities", U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service. $4,855,000.

Editorial Board Members

International Journal of Food Microbiology

Food Control

LWT - Food Science and Technology

Professional Members

International Association for Food Protection

American Society for Microbiology