Research Group

Current Graduate Students

This photograph is of Amninder Singh Sekhon and is attached with his biography

Amninder Singh Sekhon

I am Ph.D. Research Assistant at the School of Food Science, Washington State University, Pullman. I was born and brought up in Punjab, a northwestern state of India. I completed my bachelor’s in technology in Dairy Technology from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, India in 2018. I joined Dr. Michael’s lab group in fall 2018 as an M.S. student. My MS thesis work was focused on survival and thermal resistance of Salmonella in milk powders during extended storage. After completing my M.S. in May 2020, I started my Ph.D. with Dr. Michael in fall 2020. My Ph.D. research work is focused on hyperspectral imaging: a potential novel tool for rapid identification of pathogens such as SalmonellaListeria monocytogenesE. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus in food.

Besides my thesis research work, I have also worked on various other lab projects, including validation of the drying, and baking step for controlling foodborne pathogens such as SalmonellaListeria monocytogenesE. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus in various food matrices such as brownie batter, cranberry pomace, and hotcake batter. Furthermore, I have experience in conducting thermal inactivation studies (D-and z-values) of low water activity foods such as milk powders, hotcake batter, cornmeal flour, etc. In addition to that, I have also worked on the incorporation of gas nanobubbles to increase the efficacy of commonly used antimicrobials (PAA, lactic acid, citric acid) against Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. 

Phoebe Unger

I grew up in Moscow, Idaho and my love for food started at a young age when my parents opened a small local bakery. I received my Bachelor’s in Food Science from the University of Idaho in spring 2019. I loved how food science took two of the most fascinating aspects of my life and combined them into a single area of study. It hooked me instantly. I am currently a second-year graduate student in the School of Food Science at Washington State University. My graduate advisor is Dr. Minto Michael. My Master’s project is the rapid identification of Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157: H7 in milk and cheese using hyperspectral imaging. I have also led a validation study on baking as the kill-step for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in brownies, and have contributed to various lab projects such as developing a wine sorbet for industry, survival and thermal resistance of Salmonella in dry and hydrated milk powder, and the impact of micro-nano-bubbles on the efficacy of common antimicrobials used in the food industry. After completing my Master’s, I plan on pursuing my Ph.D

Alex Lampien

I’m Alex, a Master’s of food science student at Washington State University. I earned my B.S. in Agricultural Science from the University of Nevada – Reno. Also, I have a long history practicing culinary sciences. I’ve always been passionate about food: how it’s grown, processed, prepared, and especially consumed. I started working under the mentorship of Dr. Michael in Spring of 2022. My project is addressing the late-blow defect observed in the canned cheeses at the WSU Creamery. I aim to identify the microbe responsible and explore potential solutions to mitigate cheese spoilage.

Current Undergraduate Students

Andrew Galland

Born in Spokane, WA. I’m a fifth-year student currently pursuing a Bachelors’s degree in Microbiology with the goal of continuing on to a Master’s. The Dairy Microbiology research group has been amazing in teaching lab skills through hands-on research and professional development skills through attending conferences and interviews. I have assisted in research pertaining to the Impact of gas micro-nano-bubbles on the efficacy of commonly used antimicrobials in the food industry, and other studies involving gas micro-nano-bubbles, and am currently assisting the other graduate students in their various research. Once I attain my degree I would like to pursue more research into harmful pathogens and pre-emptive measures of treatment.
  • Jessica Martin (B.S. Student)
  • Grace Dudley (B.S. Student)
  • Zafran A, Arif (B.S. Student)
  • Ray Rany (B.S. Student)

Past Students


  1. Sonali Sharma (2020-2021)
  2. Yaeseol Yang (2020-2022)
  3. Phoebe Unger (2019 – 2021)
  4. Amninder Singh Sekhon (2018 – 2020)
  5. Arshdeep Singh (2018 – 2020)


  1. Kabir Bhavnani (2021-2022)
  2. Khanh Dam (2021)
  3. Jessica Melocoton (2021)
  4. Taylor Wells (2021)
  5. Jennifer Bautista (2021)
  6. Yaeseol Yang (2019)