Name: Chelsey Hinnenkamp
Hometown: St. Joseph, Minn.
Degree Pursuing: Food Science M.S.
Adviser: Pam Ismail
Research Title: The Hypo-Allergenization of Soy Protein Following Targeted Enzymatic Hydrolysis and Maillard Glycation
The goal of my research is to develop a hypo-allergenic soy protein ingredient while maintaining ingredient functionality. Our method for reducing allergenicity minimally modifies the protein using two methods that widely occur in food products: Enzymatic Hydrolysis to cleave and Maillard Glycation to block soy protein epitopes (i.e. the allergenic portions). We are employing targeted modifications of soy protein subunits to maximize reductions in allergenicity while potentially increasing the types of products to which soy protein can advantageously be added.
How did you become interested in food science?
My love for food began as a little girl in my dad and grandma’s kitchens. When deciding on a college major, I was looking for a science degree to help with the pre-med requisite. A friend recommended to my parents that I should look into food science. I did, and it ended up being the perfect fit.
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?
A little over an hour from my hometown, I was actually convinced I was not going to choose the University of Minnesota. Yet, seven years later I find myself pursuing my second degree from the U. Thanks to the supportive people, great career field, educational opportunities, and vibrant city, I have always loved my choice!
How does your research tie into the research being done in your adviser's lab?
The protein/phytochemical lab, my research ties directly into the research we are doing on modifying proteins ingredients to improve functionality and bioavailability while reducing allergenicity. My research has focused on soy protein while my colleagues have looked at utilizing similar methods to modify casein and whey proteins.
What are your future plans?
I am fascinated by the big picture of the food industry. For example, how do we get cocoa beans from small African farms to a Hershey’s bar that always tastes the same and is always available to consumers? However, I am initially hoping to start in research and development and/or applications to first better understand those aspects of the food industry.