Where Our Grads Go

Graduates of our graduate programs are well prepared for various career paths, including careers in academia, the health sciences, biomedical

industries, biotechnology, agricultural biosystems, food industries, pharmaceutical industries, and government agencies.

To give you specific examples of what you might do with a graduate degree in microbiology from NDSU, we’re dedicating this section of the website to profiles
of our former graduate students. Check back often as this page will be periodically updated with new profiles.

Michael MaheroMichael Mahero is originally from Kenya. He earned a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda in 2005. After working in mixed -animal practice, he moved on to focus on infectious disease epidemiology at a regional research station (KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Kilifi, Kenya). He joined the Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in 2008 as a master’s student in Food Safety and graduated in 2010.

Currently, Mike is a resident in the Veterinary Public Health program at the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the executive program in Public Health Practice within the School of Public Health at the U of M.

“My current position at the CVM’s Center for Animal Health and Food Safety is heavily focused on the practice of public health and food safety. This allows me to be involved in a variety of research and service oriented projects within the state and beyond. For instance, I got the opportunity to work with the University’s Healthy Foods Healthy Lives as part of a team of microbiologists, horticu1turists, and public health and food safety experts working together to identify farm practices, environmental conditions, and specific genes that allow pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella to contaminate and grow on vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes. I am currently working as part of a multiagency Rift Valley disease modelling effort that involves the Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health and seeks to adequately prepare for a possible Rift Valley Fever incursion in the US.”

In addition, Mike is involved in community-service activities, including, surveillance of TB in the north-eastern part of the state among wild deer during the deer hunting season and developing an on-farm risk assessment tool to identify brucellosis and milk residue risk factors among small holder farmers in Kosovo.

“My training at NDSU provided me with the necessary mettle required for the residency program. I am grateful for the support rendered, the multicultural atmosphere, opportunity to teach, exposure to extension and its role in land grant universities, the strong didactic foundation in Microbiology and Food safety, the great commitment of the department to collaborative research and unfettered focus on bio-security and food safety. No better foundation would one in my field hope for, go bison!”

Tim JohnsonDr. Timothy Johnson graduated from NDSU with a B.S. in microbiology in 2000. He continued on to complete his Ph.D. in molecular pathogenesis at NDSU in 2004. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

The focus of his lab is two-fold: (1) the basic biology of plasmids associated with virulence and antimicrobial resistance and (2) metagenomic and microbial community analysis of gut conditions related to production animals.

Tim’s lab currently studies a plasmid type known as IncA/C, which has emerged worldwide in E. coli and Salmonella sp. of production animals and humans.

“These plasmids are of particular interest, because they are able to encode high levels of resistance to a large number of antimicrobial agents, and they have a very broad host range making them transferable to many different genera of bacteria,” he explains. “We are working on dissecting the regulatory crosstalk mechanisms that occur between these plasmids and their host chromosomes and the effects of plasmid and chromosome adaptation on these crosstalk mechanisms.”

Their ultimate goal is to better understand how these plasmids disseminate and persist in the environment. This knowledge will allow them to develop strategies for controlling the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

The metagenomics arm of the Johnson lab’s research focuses on defining the gut microbiota that results in optimal feed efficiency, weight gain, and disease reduction in commercial broilers and turkeys.

“We have studied the effects of growth promoters, feed additives, and gut pathogens on gut microbial communities with hopes of identifying novel microbial markers of optimal gut health and alternative ways to modulate the gut microbiota toward this optimal state,” Tim says.

Tim notes that NDSU and VMS are increasingly recognized for high-quality training and research. Students are given the opportunity to perform cutting-edge research and obtain the kind of first-class education that produces graduates who are competitive for the best jobs in their fields.

“The setting in VMS and at NDSU is unlike what you would find at larger institutions,” he reflects. “That truly fostered a sense of community and forged some long-lasting relationships that I value more than anything else.”

For more info on the Johnson Lab.