CAHFS Spotlight: Ehud Elnekave

Our monthly series of CAHFS Spotlights highlights our residents, graduate students, faculty, and staff. This month, we're spotlighting our postdoctoral fellow Ehud (Udi) Elnekave whose work in CAHFS centers around antimicrobial resistance research.

What is your current position? PostDoc fellow in the Veterinary Population Medicine department

Where did you study and what other experience have you gained? I completed a Bachelor of Life Sciences (B.Sc.) degree at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. I earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Ph.D. in Veterinary Epidemiology at the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. I was an intern in the livestock medicine and surgery program at the veterinary school in Israel and trained as a Public Health veterinarian in Israel. In addition, I have practiced as a small animal clinician.

What work do you do with CAHFS? I am conducting my research on zoonotic enteric pathogens (mainly Salmonella) epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) using molecular tools (whole genome sequencing) and evolutionary models. This work at CAHFS is supported by the United States - Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund, Vaadia-BARD Postdoctoral Fellowship.

What are you most passionate about professionally? My main passions are public health and food safety. In my research, I want to understand how much resistance to antibiotics exists in production animals, what are the genetic mechanisms that lead to this resistance, and what is the risk of spread to humans.

Where can we find you when you are not working? When I am not working, I enjoy the outdoors, photography, gardening and spending time with my family. Not surprisingly, since we came to Minnesota, hockey became a real deal and during the winter I spend a lot of time watching my kids practicing at the rink. During the summer, I enjoy going fishing and kayaking or just grilling at home.

Where did you grow up, and why are you not there now? I grew up and lived in the northern part of Israel. A country tenth of the size of Minnesota with average temperature above 32 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. After starting my PhD in veterinary epidemiology and thinking about an academic career in Israel, I knew I would have to do a postdoc abroad, and here I am surviving 50 degrees below zero winter in Minnesota :)

What is your dream job (besides the one you have now!)? While studying veterinary medicine, I was planning to work as a practitioner of small ruminants and I guess this dream of working in the field and not in a lab will accompany me also in the future. However, I am pursuing an academic position in which I will continue my research in the field of public health and enhance our understandings regarding food safety.

You can learn more about Dr. Elnekave's Salmonella and AMR research in our One to One Newsletter: Who's infecting whom?

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CAHFS News is a compilation of current topics and news updates in animal health, food safety, and veterinary public health.