Postdoc Spotlight: Ece Bulut

Ece Bulut sits in front of a computer displaying spreadsheets

September 19, 2022

Ece Bulut is a postdoc in the department of population medicine and diagnostic sciences from Ankara, Turkey. She holds a Ph.D. in food science and technology with a minor in statistics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her research at Cornell focuses on the interconnected health of people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. She is a recipient of a Postdoc Achievement Award for Excellence in Mentoring as part of Cornell’s celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week 2022.

What is your area of research, scholarship, or work and why is it important?

My research is in one health – the interconnected health of people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. Currently, I work on a ‘food safety risk assessment’, which is a structured approach to estimating the risk of food poisoning from the consumption of foods contaminated with harmful microbes. I use mathematical expressions to represent the introduction, survival, and transfer of microbes along the food chain, then predict the potential public health risk from food consumption. This not only estimates the probability of illness due to contaminated foods but also allows us to identify the best ways to reduce the risk.

What are the broader implications of this research, scholarship, or work?

Contamination of food products with harmful microbes can cause a number of health and economic losses at both the individual and societal levels. Foodborne illnesses have potentially detrimental effects on consumers’ health and incur high costs of medical care. Outbreaks of foodborne diseases disrupt the food supply chain which not only harms consumers but also risks the livelihood of food producers. Recalls of food products due to contamination with harmful microbes cause additional economic burdens to the food industry. Food safety risk assessments are essential for protecting public health and reducing economic losses.

What does receiving a Postdoc Achievement Award mean to you?

I am very happy and honored to receive the Postdoc Achievement Award for Excellence in Mentoring! I am grateful to Cornell for recognizing my work and to my advisor, Renata Ivanek, for giving me the opportunity to mentor students. Mentoring has been rewarding for me since I get to work with hardworking, intelligent, polite, and friendly people; we share our experiences and learn from each other. Seeing my mentees successfully achieve their goals has been an inspiring and motivational experience.

What hobbies or activities do you enjoy in your spare time?

I love everything about music. I also enjoy traveling, seeing new places, and meeting new people. I try to spend time with my friends and family whenever I can – their love and support are unmatched!

 Why did you choose Cornell?

Cornell’s researchers are among the best in the world, and I wanted to be a part of it. It was also very important for me to live and work with a sense of belonging and community. I knew that Cornell and my lab group were everything I was looking for from the first day I stepped foot on campus and met my lab group. The beauty of Ithaca was a bonus!

What is next for you?

I will start working as a research associate starting from September 2022 in Renata Ivanek’s epidemiology lab in the College of Veterinary Medicine. I want to learn more about lots of things, contribute to the community that I am a part of, and make a positive impact with my work.

 Do you have any advice for current graduate students?

Learn a lot and meet lots of people! Also, don’t forget to take care of your health, go outside, and spend time with your loved ones.