Welcome to the Nugen Group at Cornell University

The NRG, led by Professor Sam Nugen, is located in Stocking Hall in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Our research focuses on the design and fabrication of biosensors for the detection of pathogenic organisms, allergens, adulterants and other analytes of interest. We are currently designing inexpensive micro total analysis systems (µTAS) which will permit rapid on-site screening for food pathogens and toxins. Such “Lab on a Chip” devices, in combination with traditional benchtop detection methods, could reduce product recalls and foodborne outbreaks while paving the way for research into novel processes and improvements in efficiency and yield. The nature of our research is highly interdisciplinary, merging technologies from the fields of nanobiotechnology, microfabrication, molecular genetics, biochemistry, and material science.



Bacterial Separation from Complex Foods
Rapid detection relies on the ability to rapidly remove analytes from the food matrix. We are investigating a variety of methods, including bacteriophages, to separate bacteria from food and enable rapid detection.

Portable Detection
The ability to bring detection technologies to the field allows advanced testing of food and environmental samples.


Portable diagnostic tools for E. coli detection

Phages conjugated to magnetic nanoparticles for bacteria separation and detection

Diagnostics for Low-Resource Settings
Some assays such as those conducted on farms need to be designed with limitations in mind.




Sam R. Nugen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

241 Stocking Hall

Department of Food Science
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

P: (607) 255-9185


Sam Nugen Bio

Sam Nugen is an Associate Professor at Cornell University, Department of Food Science. His research group investigates novel methods to separate and detect pathogens from complex matrices such as food and environmental samples. Professor Nugen received his B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Vermont and his M.S. in Food Science from Cornell University. He then joined Kraft Foods as a Research Engineer where worked on process engineering for new products. After several years, Dr. Nugen returned to Cornell for his doctorate and post doctorate work in the departments of Food Science and Biological Engineering, respectively. After an appointment as Assistant Professor with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Dr. Nugen recently joined the Department of Food Science at Cornell as Associate Professor.