Dr. Barbara Kowalcyk, well known in the food safety community for her advocacy, is joining the North Carolina State faculty as an assistant research professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

barb-kowalcyk1.jpgKowalcyk currently serves as CEO of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing foodborne illness through research, education, advocacy and service, and she will continue to serve in this capacity, but CFI will be moved from Pennsylvania to the N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, according to a N.C. State announcement.

At N.C. State, Kowalcyk will serve as an assistant research professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences and will be a half-time faculty member. She will also be an adjunct faculty member of the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Kowalcyk became an advocate for food safety reform after her 2-year-old son Kevin Kowalcyk died from E. coli complications in 2001. Since then, she has been featured in the Oscar-nominated Food, Inc., named the Huffington Post Ultimate Game Changer in Food, and received the LennonOno Grant for Peace, a biannual award established to honor John Lennon’s dedication to peace and commitment to human rights.

She founded the CFI in 2006. She received a Ph.D. in environmental health with a focus in epidemiology/biostatistics earlier this year.

“We feel North Carolina is a really good environment for our organization to grow in,” said Kowalcyk, who began her role at N.C. State Dec. 1. “North Carolina is already a food safety leader, and we feel the state is well positioned to become one of the most prominent participants in food safety in the country. There’s so much potential.”

As an N.C. State faculty member, Kowalcyk said her focus will be research designed to develop a better understanding of how and why outbreaks of foodborne illness occur, as well as long-term impacts on human health that may be related to bouts of foodborne illness, according to the announcement.

Kowalcyk is also a contributor to Food Safety News. Her articles can be viewed here