Skip to content

Irene Hanning

Assistant Professor



My research focuses primarily on food safety and poultry. For that reason, I conduct research on Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter spp. which are zoonotic pathogens that are commensals in poultry, but the leading causes of foodborne illness worldwide. As a broad overview, my research aims to characterize and develop control methods for these two pathogens. Students in the lab have a diversity of projects from basic microbiology to using sophisticated molecular techniques. We isolate bacteria from chicken carcasses using standard microbiology techniques to assess prevalence of pathogens in raw retail products. These isolates then are used by Ph.D. students and Post-Docs for whole genome sequencing, comparative genomics and searching for virulence markers. This information will eventually be used to design vaccines and for detection of pathogenic strains. We also conduct applied research for the industry. Packaging materials containing antimicrobials are being developed and we are using next gen sequencing to identify patterns in chicken gut microbiomes related to specific factors including feed conversion and fat deposition. We hope to provide tools to the industry to improve production and food safety.


  • Ph.D: 2008 - Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Dept of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas


Hanning, I., D. Donoghue, R. Jarquin, G. Kumar, V. Aguiar, J. Metcalf, I. Reyes and M. Slavik. 2009. Campylobacter biofilm phenotype exhibits reduced colonization potential in young chickens and altered in vitro virulence. Poultry Sci. 88:1102-1107.

Solis de los Santos, F., M. Hume, K. Venktianarayanan, A. Donoghue, I. Hanning, M. Slavik, V. Aguiar, J. Metcalf, I. Reyes-Herrera, P. Blore and D. Donoghue. 2010. Caprylic acid reduces enteric Campylobacter colonization in market-aged broiler chickens but does not appear to alter cecal microbial populations. J. Food Prot. 73(2):251-257.

Joerger, R.D., I. B. Hanning and S.C. Ricke. 2010. Presence of arsenic resistance in Salmonella enterica serovar Kentucky and other serovars isolated from poultry. Avian Dis. 54:1178-1182.

Hanning, I., D. Biswas, P. Herrera, M. Roesler, and S. Ricke. 2010. Prevalence and characterization of Campylobacter jejuni isolated from pasture flock poultry. J of Food Science. 75:M496-502

Handley, J., I. Hanning, S.C. Ricke, M.G. Johnson, F.T. Jones, and R.O. Apple. 2010. Temperature and Bacterial Profile of Post Chill Poultry Carcasses Stored in Processing Combo Held at Room Temperature. J of Food Science. 75: M515–M520.

Melendez, S., I. Hanning, J.Han, R. Nayak, A.R. Clement, A. Wooming, P. Herrera, , F.T. Jones, S.L. Foley and S.C. Ricke. 2010. Salmonella Isolated from Pasture Poultry exhibit Antimicrobial Resistance and the Presence of Class I Integrons. J Applied Microbiology. 109, 1957–1966

Hong, S.I., I. Hanning, P.Moore, D. Dongohue, A. Donoghue and S. Ricke. 2011. Detection and Quantification of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter with a Fluorescence Based PCR Assay from water samples. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 316:7-15.

Dawoud, T., P. Herrera, I. Hanning, Y.M. Kwon, and S. C. Ricke. 2011. In vitro invasion of laying hen ovarian follicles by Salmonella Enteritidis strains. Poultry Science. 90:1134-1137.

Limayem,A., I. Hanning, A. Muthaiyan, K. Illeghems, J. Kim, P. G. Crandall, C. O’Bryan and S. Ricke. 2011 Alternative Antimicrobial Compounds to Control Lactobacillus Contamination in Yeast Fermentation. J Environ Sci Health. 8, 709-714.

Foley S., R. Nayak, I. Hanning, T. Johnson, J. Han, and S. Ricke. 2011. Dynamic Shifts in Salmonella enterica Serotypes in Commercial Poultry – A True Paradigm? Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 77:4273–4279.

Park, S., R. Jarquin, I. Hanning, G. Almeida, and S. Ricke. 2011. Detection of Salmonella spp. survival and virulence in poultry feed targeting the hilA gene. J. Appl. Microbiol. 111:426-432.

Hanning, I., D. Gilmore, S. Pendleton, S. Fleck, A. Clement, S. Park, E. Scott and S. Ricke. 2011. Comparison of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from healthy humans and whole retail chicken carcasses in Northwest Arkansas. J. Food Prot. 75:174-178.

Hanning, I., C. O’Bryan, P. Crandall, and S.C. Ricke. 2011. Food Safety and Food Security. The Nature Knowledge Project. In Press.

Gonzalez Gil, F., A. Le Bolloch S. Pendleton, A. Wallis, N. Zhang and I. Hanning. 2012. Expression of hilA in response to acid stress in Salmonella enterica is serovar and strain dependent. J. Food Science. In Press

Milillo, S.R., J.C. Stout, I. Hanning, A. Clement, E.D. Fortes, H.C. den Bakker, M. Wiedmann, and S.C. Ricke. 2012. Characterization of Listeria from Pasture-reared Poultry Reveals L. monocytogenes and hemolytic L. innocua in Ceca and the Pasture Environment. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. In Review

Pendleton, S., D. Biswas, S.C. Ricke and I. Hanning. 2012. Evaluation of Whole Genome Sequencing as a Genotyping Tool for Campylobacter jejuni by Comparison with Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis and flaA typing. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. In review

Schultz, J., R. Jarquin, S. C. Ricke, and I. Hanning. 2012. Enhanced detection and culturing of Salmonella from poultry environmental samples. Avian Disease. In review

Hill, J., S.H. Park, S.Beaupre, S.C. Ricke, and I. Hanning. 2012. A Non-Lethal Sampling Technique for Obtaining Digestive Tract Samples from Snakes. J Herp. In review.

Hanning I., and G. Nava. 2012. A Comparison of the Functionality of Gastrointestinal Microflora in Humans and Animals. BMC Micro In Review

Hanning, I., A. Clement, C. Owens, S.H.Park, S. Pendleton, E.E. Scott, G. Almeida, F. Gonzalez Gil, F., and S.C. Ricke. 2012. Assessment of Production Performance in Two Breeds of Broilers Fed Prebiotics as Feed Additives. Poultry Science. In Preparation

Park, S.H., I. Hanning, M. Munro, W. Gilbert, L. Devareddy, and S. Ricke. 2012. Fresh and aged blackberry powder supplements result in shifts in the gastrointestinal microflora. In Preparation

Scott, E., I. Hanning, L. Devareddy, and E. Alm. 2012. Comparison of the Gastrointestinal Microflora of Obese and Lean Rats. Journal of Nutrition. In Preparation

Hill, J., K. Geluso, and I. Hanning. 2012. Bacterial Diversity in the Gastrointestinal Tracts of Three Species of Anurans. Copeia. In Preparation.

Contact Information

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.