Atwill Water & Foodborne Zoonotic Disease Laboratory

Kristine L. Fernandez

Photo: Fernandez


2007 - BS
University of California, Davis, CA
Major: Biotechnology with an emphasis in Animal Science


I am interested in the epidemiology and risk assessment of infectious diseases of waterborne and fecalborne zoonotic diseases in California. I am currently working on projects which monitor the microbial contamination of pathogenic bacteria, such as but not limited to E. coli O157 and Salmonella, in water, soil, and rodent samples from various areas. I am also interested in studying the spatial distribution of virulence genes and genetic similarities between bacteria carried by different vectors. 


  • Conducting diagnostic bacteriology for E. coli O157: H7 and Salmonella in wildlife, livestock, soil, and various water samples.
  • Performing multiplex Real-Time TaqMan PCR to detect the specific serotypes and virulence characteristics of fecalborne and waterborne bacteria.
  • Developing and optimizing Real-Time TaqMan PCR assays for the detection of Escherichia coli (STEC) strains: O26, O111, O103, O121, O45, O145, and O157.


  • Able to perform Immunomagnetic Separation for the isolation of E. coli O157.
  • Performs biochemical analysis to identify and confirm E. coli and Salmonella isolates.
  • Experienced at Traditional PCR followed by Agarose Gel Electrophoresis and UV Transillumination. 
  • Able to troubleshoot and optimize Traditional and Real-Time PCR reactions including primer selection to recognize virulence genes such as E. coli Shigatoxin 1 and/or 2, limiting primer and optimal DNA concentration identification, and the use of temperature gradients to optimize annealing and extension temperatures.


Torres, JV et al. 2006. Cancer Immunomodulation by Cox-2 Inhibitor Drugs.