Brendan Niemira, PhD


Brendan Niemira is the Research Leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research Unit. He leads a team of 30+ scientists, engineers, technicians, postdocs, and students in Wyndmoor, Penn., in developing tools to kill human pathogens on produce, meats, poultry, shellfish, and other foods. Brendan joined the USDA in 1999 as a research microbiologist. His personal research has focused on the development and validation of cold plasma, high-intensity monochromatic light, irradiation, and other nonthermal food safety treatments for fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

Brendan has published more than 150 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters, and critical reviews. He is the co-editor and author of a well-regarded reference text and holds one patent. He is the recipient of the 2016 Department of Defense Award for Excellence. 

IFT Highlights

A member of IFT since 2003, Brendan has presented dozens of research posters and technical presentations at the Annual Meetings and has chaired multiple symposia. As an IFT volunteer, he has served in numerous roles on different committees and panels. He was twice elected chair of the Biotechnology Division and received the Biotech Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2015. He served as AMSPAP, first as Food Microbiology track lead, and then as Chair. In support of IFT events outside the Annual Meeting, he served on the organizing committees for the Nonthermal Processing Division Workshop, the Eastern Food Science Conference, and has presented at IFT-allied meetings in China and South Africa. Brendan has served on the Innovation Award jury, and recently assisted with the IFT comment submission on the USDA-AMS “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard”. He serves on the editorial boards for Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Journal of Food Protection.


BA in Biology from the University of Chicago

PhD in Plant Pathology from Michigan State University