College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources Dean's Office

Dean Barbara Rasco

Barbara Rasco

Dr. Barbara Rasco is a scientist, engineer and attorney internationally recognized for her expertise in food law, agricultural processing and food quality.  Dr. Rasco most recently served as the Director of the joint Washington State University & University of Idaho School of Food Science. She has taught in both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in agriculture, food science and natural resources at Washington State University and the University of Washington, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. She also served as a member of the Graduate Faculty in Nutritional Sciences, School of Public Health while at the University of Washington. Dr. Rasco has substantial experience in the private sector and with economic development programs across the rural West.

Her research expertise is in food microbiology, food quality (safety and nutritional properties), and process design. She has developed analytical methods to predict the safety and quality of food using spectroscopic, nanomaterial, and microfluidic systems and has 280+ publications with collaborators from all across the world including her 20 doctoral and 70+ MS graduates.  She received her BSE in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, PhD in Food Science from the University of Massachusetts and a JD from Seattle University and is licensed to practice law.

Dr. Rasco has worked extensively in agricultural and food sectors important to the Northwest, primarily specialty crops in both small and large scale operations, and with seafood and dairy. She continues to work closely with regional Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and has provided technical assistance to companies for over 30 years. Dr. Rasco has served on the advisory boards for Washington IMPACT, the World Foods Logistic Organization/Global Cold Chain Alliance and the Western Regional Aquaculture Consortium. She has provided technical and legal assistance to small and medium enterprises in 37 countries improving food security and public health. Her work has led to a reduction in non-tariff trade barriers, job creation, and improvements to food safety. She has facilitated harmonization by drafting statutes, regulations, and export certification programs for developing countries in resource utilization, agricultural production, and product safety.

Dr. Rasco is a Fellow with the Institute of Food Technologists and a recipient of their Elizabeth Fleming Stier Award for humanitarian service. She has been recognized by the Washington State Bar Association for the past 25 years for pro bono service.


Facts and Highlights

Growing people, knowledge, and communities

  • College scholarships totaling $708,775
  • Nine departments with as many as 13 exciting undergraduate degree programs to choose from
  • Received over $19 million in competitive research grants
  • 1:10 faculty to student ratio


  • Claudia Richbourg, Monticello, FL, Program in Ecology (Botany) won the John P. Ellbogen Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching Award
  • Melanie Torres, Westerly, RI, Program in Ecology (Ecosystem Science & Management) won the John P. Ellbogen Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching Award as well.
  • Samantha Nobes, Wall, NJ, Department of Plant Sciences, “Specialty cut flower production and pollinator visitation in protected environments” won the Outstanding Master


Total Enrollment
(Fall 2022)
Graduate students
Student Body Statistics
Wyoming residents
Out-of-state residents
International students
Full-time faculty members
Average class size

Contact Us

College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources
University of Wyoming
Department #3354
1000 E. University
Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-4133
Fax: (307) 766-4030


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