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  1. Science & Research (NCTR)

Rajesh Nayak Ph.D.

Associate Director, Regulatory Compliance & Risk Management — Office of the Center Director

Raj Nayak

Rajesh Nayak, Ph.D.
(870) 543-7121

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About  |  Publications


Dr. Rajesh Nayak is the Associate Director of Regulatory Compliance & Risk Management (RCRM) at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR). He received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, a Bachelor of Science (Technology) degree in chemical engineering and technology, and a Master of Science (Technology) degree in food and fermentation technology from the University of Mumbai. He earned a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in animal and veterinary sciences from West Virginia University. He joined NCTR’s Division of Microbiology as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education postdoctoral fellow in 2001. Dr. Nayak's overall goal during this time was to conduct scientific research that supplemented FDA's regulatory decisions to ensure the safety of foods and antibiotics in the “farm-to-the-fork” continuum. As a principal investigator, Dr. Nayak’s research focused on four broad categories:

  • Epidemiology, surveillance, and microbial source tracking of food-animal infectious pathogens through the food production environment using genotyping methods
  • Threat assessment of emerging pathogens and their genetic characteristics using microarray, sequencing and bioinformatics platforms
  • Investigating the mechanisms of drug resistance and pathogenesis in bacterial pathogens isolated from food, feed, environment, humans and veterinary sources
  • Molecular tools for detecting of bacterial pathogens and their genetic traits

Dr. Nayak has authored or co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters and has given over 145 presentations at national and international conferences. In 2015, Dr. Nayak joined RCRM as a Senior Health Scientist where he led NCTR and FDA biosafety programs and provided guidance to research scientists and support staff on the regulatory compliance of hazardous biological agent and toxins.

In 2018, Dr. Nayak was named Associate Director of RCRM. The mission of RCRM is to ensure the safety and security of employees at the Jefferson Laboratories campus in Arkansas and to ensure research conducted at NCTR is compliant with state and federal regulations. RCRM is responsible for the following programs: chemical safety, biological safety, radiological safety, controlled substances, quality assurance, occupational health and medical surveillance, laboratory safety, hazardous waste management, industrial hygiene, physical security, records management, and archives. Dr. Nayak serves as a senior advisor and subject matter expert to NCTR and FDA leadership on food safety, antimicrobial resistance, laboratory safety, environmental safety, and occupational safety and health. He serves as an NCTR representative on several FDA committees and working groups.

Selected Publications

Microbial Genetics and Clonal Dissemination of Salmonella enterica Serotype Javiana Isolated from Human Populations in Arkansas, USA.
Sanad Y., Aljahdali N.H., Khajanchi B., Nayak R., Han J., Khan A., and Foley S.L.
Pathogens. 2022, 11:1192.

Pragmatic Strategy for Fecal Specimen Storage and the Corresponding Test Methods for Clostridioides difficile Diagnosis.
Nho S., Kim M., Kim S., Foley S.L., Nayak R., Kweon O., and Cerniglia C.E.
Pathogens (Special Issue Molecular Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases). 2021, 10:1049.

Genotypic and Phenotypic Characterization of Incompatibility Group FIB Positive Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Isolates from Food Animal Sources.
Aljahdali N.H., Khajanchi B.K., Weston K., Deck J., Cox J., Singh R., Gilbert J., Sanad Y.M., Han J., Nayak, R., and Foley S.L.
Genes. 2020, 11:1307.

Whole Genome Sequences of 66 Incompatibility Group FIB Plasmid-Carrying Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Isolates from Food Animal Sources.
Aljahdali N.H., Foley S.L., Han J., Sanad Y.M., Nayak R., and Khajanchi B.K.
Microbiology Resource Announcements. 2020, 9(5):e01435.

Immunomagnetic Capture of Big Six Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Strains in Apple Juice with Detection by Multiplex Real-Time PCR Eliminates Interference from the Food Matrix.
Triplett O.A., Xuan J., Foley S.L., Nayak R., and Tolleson W.
Journal of Food Protection. 2019, 82:1512-1523.

Impact of Co-carriage of IncA/C Plasmids with Additional Plasmids on the Transfer of Antimicrobial Resistance in Salmonella enterica Isolates.
Han J., Pendelton S.J., Deck J., Singh R., Gilbert J., Johnson T.J., Sanad Y.M., Nayak R., and Foley S.L.
International Journal Food Microbiology. 2018, 271:77-84.

Contact Information
Rajesh Nayak
(870) 543-7121
Technology & Discipline
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