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Byron Brehm-Stecher

Disciplines: Life sciences
Employment: Associate Professor at Iowa State University
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Byron Brehm-Stecher received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002, where he studied rapid methods for the detection of foodborne pathogens. He continued his work in Madison as a postdoctoral research scholar in the laboratory of Professor Eric A. Johnson before taking a job in the biotechnology industry. He came to Iowa State University in September 2004 from a position as a senior scientist and molecular biologist with Applied Biosystems, Inc., Bedford, MA. He now heads the Brehm-Stecher Rapid Microbial Detection and Control Laboratory in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University (

Dr. Brehm-Stecher’s research is focused on two major areas: the development of improved methods for the rapid detection and characterization of bacterial pathogens, and novel antimicrobial approaches for the control of food pathogens or spoilage organisms. Technology platforms for detection work include flow cytometry and other single cell analytical methods. A recurring theme in our detection work is pre-analytical sample preparation – the often-neglected processing steps needed to get from a raw sample to the final answer. Key tools used in our antimicrobial work include natural antimicrobial compounds, including plant essential oils, and synthetic biomimetic antimicrobial polymers or small molecules. An underlying theme of our antimicrobial work is enhancement – approaches for boosting antimicrobial potency through additive or synergistic interactions among system components.


Iowa State University (2011-07-01 to present)

Associate Professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition

Ames, IA

Iowa State University (2004-09-15 to 2011-07-01)

Assistant Professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition

Ames, IA