Sara Lomonaco, Ph.D.

Sara Lomonaco, Ph.D.

  • Affiliate Professor of Food Science


  • University of Torino (Italy), Veterinary Sciences (focus on Basic Sciences and Veterinary Biotechnology), Ph.D., 2010
  • The Pennsylvania State University, Visiting Scientist, 2007-2008
  • University of Torino (Italy), Veterinary Biotechnology, B.S., 2003

Research interests

Investigate and understand the diversity and distribution of pathogenic bacteria across different sources by the development and application of novel molecular subtyping methods.  Utilize these methods to track both  pathogenic bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes,  E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella and spoilage microorganisms (E. coli, Pseudomonas, Bacillus) isolated from foods and food production environments. ).  Conduct research on the prevalence of Listeria spp., Bacillus spp. and Escherichia coli in packaged animal feed for use in dairy herd and along the food supply chain,  to identify  persistent strains and develop strategies for their control. Develop  multiplex SNP-based assays for molecular subtyping of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis strains.

Courses Taught

Adding Value to Traditional Products of Regional Origin (16 hrs - 2 CFUs*); New Analytical Methods Applied to Foods (24 hrs - 2 CFUs*); Biotechnology Applied to the Production and Control of Food (8 hrs); Molecular Methodologies for the Detection of Contamination along the Food Supply Chain (8 hrs); Hygiene in Food Production (lab course): Microbiology of Food and Animal Feeding Stuffs (30 hrs).
*CFU: University learning credit, one usually corresponds to 25 hours of work, including lessons, lab work, etc., as well as home study.
Languages: Fluent in English. Italian mother tongue.

Recent Publications

Peer-reviewed Papers
Dell'Armelina Rocha P.R., Lomonaco S., Bottero M.T., Dalmasso A., Dondo A., Grattarola C., Zuccon F., Iulini B., Knabel S.J., Capucchio M.T., Casalone C. Listeria monocytogenes strains from ruminant rhombencephalitis constitute a genetically homogeneous group related to human outbreak strains. Appl.  Environ. Microbiol.  79,3059-66, 2013.

Lomonaco S., Verghese B., Gerner-Smidt P., Tarr C., Gladney L., Joseph L., Katz L., Turnsek M., Frace M., Chen Y., Brown E., Meinersmann R.J., Berrang M.E., Knabel S.J. Novel epidemic clones of Listeria monocytogenes, United States, 2011. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 19, 147-50, 2013.

Grassi M.A., Nucera D., Lomonaco S., Civera T. Growth potential of Listeria monocytogenes in fresh sauces for pasta. Food Control. 30, 288–291, 2013.

Nucera D., Lomonaco S., Costa A., Morra P., Grassi M.A. Diagnostic performance of rep-PCR as a rapid subtyping method for Listeria monocytogenes. Food Anal. Method 6, 868-871, 2013.

Lomonaco S., Patti R., Knabel S.J., Civera T. Detection of virulence-associated genes and epidemic clone markers in Listeria monocytogenes isolates from PDO Gorgonzola cheese. Int.  J. Food Microbiol. 160, 76–79, 2012.

Lomonaco S., Knabel S.J., Dalmasso A., Civera T., Bottero M.T. Novel multiplex single nucleotide polymorphism-based method for identifying epidemic clones of Listeria monocytogenes. Appl.   Environ. Microbiol. 77, 6290-629, 2011.

Lomonaco S., Nucera D., Parisi A., Normanno G., Bottero M.T.  Comparison of two AFLP methods and PFGE using strains of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from environmental and food samples obtained from Piedmont, Italy. Int.  J. Food Microbiol. 149, 177-182, 2011.

Nucera D., Lomonaco S., Bianchi D.M., Decastelli L., Grassi M.A., Bottero M.T., Civera T. A five year surveillance report on PFGE types of Listeria monocytogenes isolated in Italy from food and food related environments. Int.  J. Food Microbiol. 140, 271-276, 2010.

Lomonaco S., Decastelli L., Nucera D., Gallina S., Bianchi D.M., Civera T. Listeria monocytogenes in Gorgonzola: subtypes, diversity and persistence over time. Int.  J. Food Microbiol. 128, 516-520, 2009.

Lomonaco S., Decastelli L., Bianchi D.M., Nucera D. Grassi M.A., Sperone V., Civera T. Detection of Salmonella in finishing pigs on farm and at slaughter in Piedmont, Italy. Zoonoses  Public Hlth. 56,137-144, 2009.

Lomonaco S., Chen Y., Knabel S.J. Analysis of additional virulence genes and virulence gene regions in Listeria monocytogenes confirms the epidemiological relevance of Multi-Virulence-Locus Sequence typing. J. Food Protect.  71,2559-256, 2008.

Lomonaco S., Nucera D., Griglio B. Pezzoli L., Marotta V., Casonato I., Civera T. Real-time subtyping via PFGE reveals potential epidemiological relatedness among human salmonellosis cases in Northern Italy. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 47,227-23, 2008.

Book Chapters:
Lomonaco S. Epidemic clones of Listeria monocytogenes: detection, transmission and virulence.  In "Listeria Infections: Epidemiology, Pathogenesis and Treatment". Eds.  Romano A. and Giordano C.F. Nova Science Publisher, Hauppauge, NY, USA. Pp. 35-66, 2012.

Lomonaco S., Nucera D. Evolution and application of molecular subtyping methods for tracking and controlling Listeria monocytogenes. In "DNA methods in food safety: molecular typing of foodborne and waterborne bacterial pathogens". Eds. Oyarzabal O. and Kathariou S. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK, in press.

Lomonaco S.  Application of SNP-based typing for DNA fingerprinting of foodborne bacteria.  In "Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology 2nd Edition".  Eds. Tortorello M.L. and Batt C. Elsevier, in press.

Current Grant Funding

  • Quality Milk. Improving the nutritional quality and the ensuring the food safety of the dairy industry supply chain in Piedmont.  Agriculture Directorate, Piedmont Region (Italy), 2009.
  • Feed & Food packaging: biodegradable films for environmental sustainability in the food chain. Agriculture Directorate, Piedmont Region (Italy), 2010.
  • Characterization of Escherichia coli isolated from animals and animal products. Research funded by the University, 2012.