MADISON, WIS. – Steven Ricke, PhD, has been appointed as the director of the Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery (MSABD) program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, effective Oct. 5. Ricke is succeeding Dan Schaefer, PhD, who retired from the position in late 2019.

Ricke, a microbiologist who has worked as a professor of food science at the University of Arkansas since 2005, will be responsible for assessing and strategically guiding research for the program in addition to overseeing teaching and outreach activities. In his previous role, he earned a reputation as a leading researcher specializing in microbial food safety in poultry and developing farm-to-fork interventions to control Salmonella and Campylobacter in food animals. 

“I have always been motivated to apply a vision of interfacing fundamental academic science with agricultural industry interests to develop cutting edge research that has immediate practical applications or helps address urgent needs of the industry,” Ricke said. “My vision for the MSABD program is to continue developing it into a world-class program that utilizes our first-rate research facilities to conduct innovative research to help solve practical problems.”

He will be joining the MSABD during a period of significant transition as the program is in the process of moving into a new $60-million meat science facility and laboratory.

“We will be able to use this facility to rapidly respond to the urgent needs of the industry. This includes using the facility to beta test new meat processing technologies, pathogen detection systems or pathogen intervention strategies that the industry is considering,” Ricke said. “One of my top priorities is to get familiar with the research being conducted in the program and simultaneously get to know the meat industry in the state — and begin to develop potential matches between the research being conducted and the needs of the meat industry.”

Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences Chair, Kent Weigel, PhD, said the addition of a researcher with the expertise and reputation of Ricke bolster’s the university’s world-class faculty.  

“He is an incredibly prolific scientist, and he has been a leader in integrating new technologies into his research program, which has had a significant and widespread impact on the safety of food production systems in the US and abroad,” Weigel said. “Steve will bring tremendous energy, enthusiasm, experience, and vision to MSABD, and his proven ability to develop impactful relationships with a broad array of research collaborators and industry partners will serve our stakeholders very well in the coming years.”