Our newest addition to the Discover FSHN Series is postdoctoral associate Cameron Bardsley! Cameron works closely with Dr. Keith Schneider in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at UF, assisting with research into produce food safety. Learn more about his fascinating work into reducing contamination in crops, his path to UF and the FSHN department, the most important facts the public should know about food safety, and the most unusual food he’s ever eaten!
Would you tell me about your current work as a postdoctoral associate?
I’m working with Dr. Keith Schneider to discover new strategies to reduce introduction of microbial hazards into specialty crops. I am working on identifying ways that fresh produce can become contaminated by foodborne pathogens while it’s being grown. Specifically, we are looking at how biological soil amendments of animal origin (such as manure or chicken litter) effect the survival of pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella.
Will you share how you chose the FSHN department at UF for your postdoctoral work?
The produce safety world is really small, so my Ph.D. advisor at Virginia Tech, who is a UF alum, suggested I reach out to Dr. Schneider. The University of Florida is a very distinguished institution and the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department has a great reputation, and I wanted to be involved with that type of institution. After discussing it with my wife, we felt that we needed to move to Florida for my professional development.
Tell me about your background and what you did before coming to UF.
I was born in the Bay Area of California and grew up in Utah. Once I graduated high school, I did a two-year mission for my church in Sao Paulo Brazil. I completed my undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University. I majored in food science and minored in business management and Portuguese.
At BYU, I fell in love with food safety research while working at the BYU food microbiology lab under the advisement of Dr. Frost Steele. While I was pursuing my undergraduate degree, I met my wonderful wife Olivia, and we were married in 2014.
I started my Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 2016 under the advisement of Dr. Laura Strawn. I spent two years on campus in Blacksburg, Virginia and two years at the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center. During my Ph.D. I wasn’t busy enough, so my wife and I had two sons (Anders in 2017 and Hendrick in 2019). I graduated with my Ph.D. and did a short postdoc stint at Virginia Tech from May to January. Now we are in Gainesville, and we are enjoying it!
What do you believe are the most important facts the public should know about produce food safety?
I think researchers in our discipline do a good job applying our research. It’s important the public knows that most growers try their best grow a safe, high quality product. In addition, growers should know that there are easy steps they can take to reduce the risk of product contamination.
What do you want to do in your career long term?
My goal is to get an assistant professor position at a research university.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I like to spend time with my wife and two sons building LEGOs, riding bikes, going to the beach, and wrestling. I also enjoy traveling, running, biking, playing soccer, watching soccer and football, and playing fantasy football.
What is the most unusual food you’ve ever eaten, and how did you come across it?
The most unusual food I’ve ever eaten was guinea pig, which I had the opportunity to eat while in Ecuador. (I’ll stick with pork.)
Note: Some images in this post were taken prior to national guidelines of face coverings and social distancing.
P.S. The Discover FSHN Series highlights the unique experiences of UF’s Food Science and Human Nutrition students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Want to read more about the amazing work going on in the FSHN department? See our previous features below:
Savanna Curtis, Food Science (M.S.)
Carley Rusch and Matthew Beke, Nutritional Sciences (Ph.D.)
Alexa Hosey, Dietetics (MS/DI)
Vicnie Leandre, Food Science (M.S.)
Rufus Theophilus, Nutritional Sciences (Ph.D.)
Amber Fritsche, Dietetics (MS/DI)
Dr. Naim Montazeri, Food Science/Food Virology
Dr. Jeanette Andrade, Dietetics
Dr. Zhiyong Cheng, Nutritional Sciences
Dr. Juan Andrade Laborde, Global Nutrition
Dr. Razieh Farzad, Food Science