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June 25, 2012 Dr.

Aaron Kiess Poultry Science Department Mississippi State University Box 9665, MS 39762 Dear Dr. Kiess, I recently learned of the Graduate Research Assistantship position with Department of Poultry Science exploring safety and microbiology related to poultry production. I am very interested in this exciting opportunity to work and contribute to this field and to further develop my scientific skills. In August of 2011, I started my Ph.D. in the food safety branch of the Institute of Agriculture in the University of Tennessee. I am currently a Food Microbiology laboratory graduate research assistant in the Department of Food Science and Technology. My current research focuses on novel molecular approaches and decontamination strategies to control foodborne pathogens outbreaks in food processing and hospital environment. I have gained expertise in the molecular detection of human norovirus genogroup I and II (real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rt-RT-PCR) and reverse transcriptase loop mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)) from clinical samples and chemical inactivation of human norovirus surrogates (MNV-1 and FCV-F9) using both suspension and coupon tests. I have been fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to present this work at several meetings (International Association of Food Protection, Providence, RI, 2012; Comparative & Experimental Medicine and Public Health Research Symposium, Knoxville, TN, 2012) and have been selected as finalist in IAFP 2012 Developing Scientist Competition. Two manuscripts are in preparation and will be submitted to leading journals. At the same time, I am working on foodborne bacteria inactivation, testing the effect of Switchgrass extracts on decontaminating Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis. These projects have allowed me to acquire technical and analytical skills in the field of microbiology and food safety. Working with various samples and novel technologies enabled me to understand the nutrition and quality aspects needed while maintaining a safe product for consumer acceptance. Since my background allows me to switch my career into yours because of basic similarities in our researches, I thought joining in your group will be a perfect opportunity for me, and I assure you I will do my best when I have opportunity to be there. The enclosed resume will give you additional information on my educational background and experience. I would like the opportunity to join your group. I anxiously look forward to hearing from you with a positive response. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Cong Cao