Food Science Institute Director

Jeanette ThurstonDr. Jeanette Thurston
Director of the Food Science Institute
216 Call Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
785-532-1234 (office)

Area(s) of Specialization
Public Health Water/Wastewater Microbiology/Disinfection and Treatment
Water and Food Virology
Water and Food Protozoan Parasites
Food Safety

B.S., University of Arizona, 1995
M.S., University of Arizona, 1997
Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2001

Bio Brief
Dr. Jeanette Thurston was raised in Tucson, Arizona which presented a wonderful living laboratory where she gained an appreciation for the diversity of flora and fauna in the Sonoran Desert as well as its fragile nature due to its limited natural resources. Dr. Thurston received her Bachelor's degree in Microbiology, Master's degree in Environmental Science, and Ph.D. in Soil, Water and Environmental Science all from the University of Arizona. She studied and performed research in the area of public health water microbiology, developing detection methods and evaluating ways to reduce and remove waterborne and foodborne pathogens in water and wastewater. Upon graduation, she began as a Research Microbiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Lincoln, Nebraska conducting pathogen fate and transport research on dairy farms, cattle feedlots, and within cow-calf pastures. In 2009, Dr. Thurston applied her expertise in a new science administration position in Washington, D.C. As a National Program Leader for Food Safety at the USDA's National Institute for Food and Agriculture, she provided leadership and direction for the agency's food safety research, education, and extension portfolio. In 2015, Dr. Thurston joined NIFA's leadership team in a new position as the agency's Science Officer and provided leadership to the agency's science portfolio and budget. Dr. Thurston was elated with her opportunity to get back to academia, joining K-State's Food Science Institute in 2019, working alongside faculty, staff, and students to continue K-State's excellence in carrying out the land grant mission.