Huynh is an assistant professor of food science at UW–Madison. Her current research focuses on bacteria, specifically on bacterial signaling and pathogenesis to treat infectious diseases.
Huyng’s project will use a high-speed refrigerated floor centrifuge dedicated for Biological Safety Level-2 work. This is essential for research to understand and circumvent antibiotic resistance in Listeria monocytogenes, which is an invasive pathogen that can cause lethal systemic infections in humans and dairy cattle. Clinical listeriosis in cattle, often manifested as encephalitis, is difficult to treat because antibiotics do not sufficiently reach the brain. Huyng will run three complementary projects that aim to: i) understand the mechanisms by which Listeria maintains cell wall integrity, which is the target of most prescribed antibiotics, ii) develop antibiotics and adjuvants by inhibiting essential Listeria proteins, and iii) understand antibiotic resistance among Wisconsin cow isolates.