Food Virology Laboratory

Research scientist: Dr. Neda Nasheri

Microbiology research division

Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada

Research technical support: Jennifer Harlow

Research activity

In our laboratory we mainly focus on detection, genomic characterization, and inactivation of foodborne viruses such as norovirus, hepatitis A virus, hepatitis E virus, etc. We also participate in surveillance programs designed to identify and characterize enteric viruses in Canada. The aim of these studies is to understand the epidemiology of foodborne viral infections and their transmission through food, environment and population. Furthermore, we study the survival and inactivation of these viruses in diverse food commodities and under different conditions. We use these data to provide advice on appropriate safety measures to prevent and control food contamination and potential illnesses.

Current research activity:

  • Developing methods for the detection of foodborne viruses
  • Performing genomic characterization of foodborne viruses
  • Exploring novel inactivation methods and approaches
  • Tracing reservoirs for transmission of enteric viruses in foods.
  • Leading the Food Virology Reference Centre for Canada (FVRC)

Food Virology Reference Centre for Canada

The FVRC for Canada is housed within our Food Virology laboratory, in the Microbiology Research Division of the Bureau of Microbial Hazards. For more details on the FVRC, visit: Food Virology Reference Centre for Canada.

Food & Environmental Virology Network

The Food and Environmental Virology Network aims to support communication and collaboration between food and environmental virology laboratories. For more details on FEVN, visit: Food and Environmental Virology Network.

Recent publications

1) Dallner M, Harlow J, Nasheri N. 2022. Efficacy of Washing Produce in Removing Human Coronavirus OC43 and Murine Norovirus. Journal of Applied Microbiology. doi: 10.1111/jam.15667

2) Harlow J, Dallner M, Nasheri N. 2022. Protective Effect of Food Against Inactivation of Human Coronavirus OC43 by Gastrointestinal Fluids. Food and Environmental Virology. 14 (2):212

3) Flint A, Reaume S, Harlow J, Hoover E, Weedmark K, Nasheri N. 2021. Genomic analysis of human noroviruses using combined Illumina-Nanopore data. Virus Evolution. 7 (2), veab079

4) Plante D, Bran Barrera JA, Lord M, Iugovaz I, Nasheri N. 2021.Development of an RNA Extraction Protocol for a Norovirus from Raw Oysters and Detection by qRT-PCR and Droplet-Digital RT-PCR. Foods.10 (8):1804.

5) Dallner M, Harlow J, Nasheri N. 2021. Human coronaviruses do not transfer between surfaces in the absence of organic materials. Viruses. 13 (7):10.3390

6) Blondin-Brosseau M, Harlow J, Doctor T, Nasheri N. 2021 Examining the persistence of human Coronavirus 229E on fresh produce. Food Microbiology. 98:103780

7) Nasheri N, Harlow J, Chen A, Douglas A, Corneau N, Bidawid S. 2021. Survival and inactivation of enteric viruses in low moisture foods. Food and Environmental Virology 13:107

8) O'Brien B, Goodridge L, Ronholm J, Nasheri N. 2021. Exploring the potential of foodborne transmission of respiratory viruses. Food Microbiology 95:103709

9) Nasheri N, Harlow J, Chen A, Corneau N, Bidawid S. 2021. Survival and Inactivation by Advanced Oxidative Process of Foodborne Viruses in Model Low-Moisture Foods. Food Environmental Virology.13(1):10

10) Nasheri N, Doctor T, Chen A, Harlow J, Gill A. 2020. Evaluation of High-Pressure Processing in Inactivation of the Hepatitis E Virus. Frontiers in Microbiology.11:461

11) Nasheri N, Harlow J, Chen A, Corneau N, Bidawid S. 2019. Evaluation of Bead-Based Assays in the Isolation of Foodborne Viruses from Low-Moisture Foods. Food Protection 83(3):388

12) Nasheri N, Verster A, Petronella. Persistence and transmission of pathogenic enteric viruses in frozen produce. Epidemiology & Infection 147, e291

13) Suresh M, Harlow J, Nasheri N. 2019. Evaluation of Porcine Gastric Mucin Assay for Detection and Quantification of Human Norovirus in Fresh Herbs and Leafy Vegetables. (in preparation). Food Microbiology 84:103254

14) Petronella P, Ronholm J, Suresh M, Harlow J, Myckytczuk O, Corneau N, Bidawid S, Nasheri N. 2018. Genetic characterization of norovirus GII.4 variants circulating in Canada using a metagenomic technique. BMC Infectious Diseases. 18(1):521

15) Mykytczuk O, Harlow J, Bidawid S, Corneau N, Nasheri N. 2017. Prevalence and molecular characterization of the hepatitis E virus in retail pork products marketed in Canada. Food and Environmental Virology. 9(2):208-218

16) Nasheri N, Ronholm J, Petronella N, Bidawid S, Corneau N. 2017. Characterization of the genomic diversity of norovirus in linked patients using a metagenomics deep sequencing approach. Frontiers in Microbiology 8:73

17) Ronholm, J. Nasheri, N. Petronella, N, Pagotto F. 2016. Navigating microbiological food safety in the era of whole genome sequencing. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 29(4):837-857

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