Courses taught at the University of Memphis (current teaching)

Environmental Health Microbiology (PUBH 7125/8125) 

This course provides an introduction to foodborne and waterborne diseases, focusing on microbial contamination and infection. The relationships between microorganisms and food/water systems are explored. Different types of microorganisms inhabiting water and food systems: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites are discussed. The course also promotes understanding of the sources and routes of transmission of pathogens from the environment to humans.  Common water and foodborne pathogens and methods for their detection and surveillance are discussed in details. Basic information about safe preservation and intervention methods that retard and reduce microorganisms in food and water is provided. The regulatory aspects of prevention of foodborne disease and food safety policies, including governmental and industrial methods for tracking, control, and prevention, and how information from surveillance is used to improve public health policy and practice in ways that contribute to the safety of nation’s food and water are discussed. Spring semesters (alternate years), Credits: 3   

Introduction to Environmental Health (PUBH 7120) 

This course introduces the essentials, methodologies, applications, and regulations of environmental health, and exposes students to practical issues, environmental challenges, and career opportunities. The knowledge section introduces environmental agents and their sources, transport, exposure and health effects. It covers chemical (organics, pesticides, heavy metals, and inorganics), biological (pathogenic microbes such as, bacteria, and viruses), and physical (radiation) agents. The methodology section covers environmental toxicology, environmental epidemiology, exposure assessment, and risk assessment. The application section illustrates air pollution, water quality, food safety, occupational health, and environmental policy and regulations. The course equips students with approaches for the assessment, prediction, prevention and regulation of environmental hazards and risks to human health and safety. It fulfills the MPH core competencies in environmental health and is open to students in related disciplines. 

Spring semesters (in-class and online), Credits: 3   

Environmental Toxicology (PUBH 7124/8124) 

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to environmental toxicology – the study of the nature and mechanisms of toxic effects of substances on living organisms. Emphasis is placed on the impacts of toxic substances, and their mechanisms of effects, in human and non-human organisms as determined via direct studies or studies in surrogate systems (e.g., laboratory animals, cells). Significant components of the course include:  

  • Identification of environmental toxicants and their sources (e.g, metals, pesticides, and organics from industry, agriculture, household use)
  • Sources and routes of exposure
  • Absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and excretion
  • Identification (including mechanisms) and measurement of toxic effects from acute and chronic exposures
  • Methods to evaluate toxicity
  • Applications including regulatory toxicology, occupational toxicology, food toxicology

Fall semesters (in-class and online), Credits: 3   

Environmental Sampling and Analysis (PUBH 7129/8129) 

This is a graduate-level laboratory and lecture course on principles, equipment, instrumentation, methodologies, and strategies for measuring chemical, biological, and physical contaminants in the environment. We will primarily examine sampling and analytical methods used to measure airborne chemical and biological contaminants in the general environments as well as the workplace. Topics include sampling design, sampling techniques, analytical methods, quality assurance/quality control, and regulatory mandates applied to air, food, water, and soil samples. It is designed for students in environmental health sciences and other graduate students interested in occupational and ambient-environmental exposure assessments for regulatory compliance and epidemiologic risk estimation. 

Spring semesters, Credits: 3  

Other teaching/outreach materials

Dr. Banerjee has created educational modules on food safety for FDA, state, local, and tribal regulators utilizing competitive funding from FDA since 2012 in collaboration with Auburn University. Several of these modules can be accessed through Auburn University’s Food Systems Institute website (http://aufsi.auburn.edu/aufsitraining/).  

Courses taught in past

Dr. Banerjee taught the following courses at Alabama A & M University: 

Food Microbiology 

Introductory food microbiology course (4 credit hours) which includes one credit hour lab module. The goal of this course is to provide students (food science seniors and the M.S. or Ph.D. grad students) with basic food microbiology and food safety lessons, including, microorganisms in foods and their growth/survivability, microbial diversity in different foods and food products, microbial food spoilage, food preservation and intervention methods, foodborne pathogens and illness, functional foods (probiotics), etc. Credits: 4 (lecture 3, lab 1)   

Regulation of Food Safety and Quality 

This three (3) credit hour course focuses on the history of food laws and regulations; various agencies involved in enforcing the food laws; and how these agencies carry out their assigned duties. The course is intended to provide an overview of regulations governing the processing, packaging, distribution, safety and nutritive value of food and related agricultural products, food supply. Course emphasis is on the food regulations applicable to the US food supply and the international regulation of food products. The objective of this course is to provide the student with an appreciation of the scope of food regulation and to familiarize the student with local, state and federal regulatory authorities. Topics include food regulation in the United States, regulation of labeling and claims, food safety regulation, specialized food regulation, adulteration, Federal and State enforcement, international and trade regulations, etc.   

Food Microbiological Techniques

This three (3) credit course is designed for mainly graduate students (seniors may take it on the basis of the consent of the instructor). This is an intensive laboratory-based course where hands-on experimental and analytical, microbiological techniques are taught. Which includes classical/traditional food microbiological methods to molecular biology, immunochemistry, and tissue culture – based rapid and automated techniques currently used for detection and identification of foodborne pathogens are covered. The techniques usually include metabolic fingerprinting identification system, enzyme immunoassay and dot blotting, lateral flow assay, polymerase chain reaction, genomic fingerprinting, cytotoxicity assays and selected biosensor tools, etc.   

Advanced Food Microbiology 

This advanced course is designed to initiate an in-depth scholarly interaction and discussion on the current advancement in the area of food microbiology with special emphasis on microbial pathogens involved with foodborne diseases. Course emphasis is on (but not limited to) molecular and genetic basis of virulence of bacterial foodborne pathogens and host-parasite interactions. Topics include incidence and source of pathogens, immune response to infection, virulence factors and mechanism of pathogenesis of specific infections and intoxicating foodborne bacteria, mycotoxins, viruses, and parasites. Credits: 3