Creative Research Medal 2017
Xiangyu Deng, assistant professor of food microbiology, is recognized for creating a bioinformatics tool that is helping transform global laboratory surveillance of salmonella, the most prevalent bacterial foodborne pathogen in the U.S. and worldwide. His creation, SeqSero, is a powerful web-based tool that offers a novel and rapid approach to serotyping salmonella strains obtained from infected humans, animals, foods and the environment during epidemiological investigations. His innovation replaces a complicated and time-consuming laboratory protocol with whole genome sequencing that allows accurate, fast “fingerprinting” of any salmonella strain. The impact of Deng’s creation on public health is enormous. As a result of his rare combination of bioinformatics expertise, epidemiology know-how and food microbiology background, SeqSero has cut analysis time from days to seconds, while adding no additional cost. The tool has been adopted by U.S. federal agencies and state health departments, as well as laboratories and regulatory agencies in other North American countries, Europe and Asia.