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Department of Food Science and Nutrition
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Department of Food Science and Nutrition

FScN News

FSCN Welcomes Laurianne Paravisini

June 2, 2014
Laurianne is a new Post Doctoral Associate working with Prof. Devin Peterson. Her office is in 133 FSCN. Welcome, Laurianne!

Special Seminar: Next Generation Association Studies of Human Complex Traits

July 30th, 2014 | 3:30-4:30 pm | 15 FSCN

Dr. Nicole Soranzo of the University of Cambridge will be holding a seminar that focusing on the understanding of how human sequence variation impacts phenotypic variation in healthy subjects, and how this variation impacts the understanding of cardiovascular disease etiology. More information can be found here.

FScN Mourns Loss of Dr. Koushik Seetharaman 

Dr. Koushik Seetharaman
The Department of Food Science and Nutrition lost a valued faculty member last week.
Dr. Koushik Seetharaman, who was welcomed to the Department in Fall 2013 as our General Mills Chair in Cereal Chemistry and Technology, passed away at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis on June 2, 2014. Tests at the hospital indicated that Dr. Seetharaman experienced a sudden cardiac arrest while swimming in a pool at a private residence in St. Louis Park on Memorial Day. Friends and relatives pulled him from the pool and administered CPR.  The official cause of his passing, according to the medical examiner, was “anoxic encephalopathy due to resuscitated drowning;” or a lack of oxygen to the brain. He was 48 years old.

The loss of this talented scientist, a beloved friend and colleague to so many of our faculty, has been felt deeply here at Food Science and Nutrition.
Department Head Dr. Gary Reineccius wrote in his announcement to CFANS on June 4 that “
This a great loss to all of us in terms of losing a wonderful personality and talented, committed faculty member. … In the end, it is much about how we are remembered – Koushik will be remembered with love, respect, and a smile. One cannot do better.”
Koushik is survived by two sisters, his wife, and his eight year old son. A fund has been set up by his family for his son’s education. You can contribute to his scholarship at 

FScN Department Head Named: Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez

The Department of Food Science and Nutrition will welcome its new Department Head, Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, on July 1, 2014.The following has been excerpted from the official announcement made by CFANS Dean Brian Buhr on May 20, 2014.

Dr. Diez earned his B.S. in Food Technology from Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey,  and completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Food Science a Cornell University. Since his arrival to the department in 1999 in the position of assistant professor, Dr. Diez has demonstrated a strong commitment to service by leading departmental and university committees and programs, particularly in the advising of students and mentoring of faculty. His dedication to the joint mission of research and teaching as well as outreach is evident in his ability to work across these critical areas to advance the department’s mission.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Gary Reineccius for his exceptional leadership these past six years. Gary’s accomplishments include the creation of a professional development program for students in response to employer demand for critical workforce leadership and communication skills. An advocate for international student experiences, Gary promoted the development of new study abroad courses in nutrition and food science. Also important to note, Gary emphasized departmental community through relationship building by encouraging student, faculty and staff involvement.

Please join me in welcoming Francisco to his new leadership role to advance the mission and programs of Food Science and Nutrition.

From Across the World to the Upper Midwest

Almost any way you slice the data, international enrollments are growing at universities and colleges across the country and the Ninth District, says FedGazette, the newspaper of the Ninth Federal Reserve District. A recent story explored the reasons why enrollment is growing and features this video clip with CFANS student Yizhou Ben Ma, a food science major. 

FScN Newsletter Available Now

The May edition of the Food Science and Nutrition Department Newsletter is now available! News from Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 is included. Learn all about what is happening in the Department here:

Experimental Biology, San Diego, April 26-30, 2014

Here are some photo picks from the conference. I attended this year with the opportunity to learn more about one of the biggest events our students and faculty are involved in. And I have to say, it was overwhelming, the variety of presentations and meetings, the amount of information and just the size of the conference. I did learn a lot from our own students and faculty presenting. I enjoyed every minute of the trip, the conference, getting to know some alumns and former faculty, seeing former students and not at least San Diego itself. Thank you for that opportunity!
See photos from the event here:

Celebrate with us at the Borealis Night of Excellence

Dr. Joanne Slavin will be honored on Wednesday April 23 at the Borealis Night of Excellence for the Outstanding Professor Award given by the CFANS Student Board. Come celebrate with fellow FSCN department members and students! More info here:

FScN Department Head Interviews:

As many of you know, we are enjoying interviews for our incoming Department Head. You can access presentations by our three wonderful candidates below.

Francisco Diez-Gonzalez

Due to technical difficulties, video for this presentation is not available. Listen to the high-quality audio presentation here: 

Daniel Gallaher

Due to technical difficulties, video for this presentation is not available. Listen to the high-quality audio presentation here: 

Mindy S. Kurzer

View the entire presentation here: :

Ted Labuza Awarded the Bor S. Luh International Award

March 16th, 2014

The Bor S. Luh International Award has been awarded every year since 1956. Before 2005, this award was named the International Award. It is given to an individual or institution that had outstanding efforts in one of the following areas in food technology: 1) International exchange of ideas, 2) better international understanding, and/or 3) practical successful technology transfer to an economically depressed area in a developed or developing area.
The award was renamed for Bor S. Luh (1916-2001), who was born and educated in China before completing his education in the United States. Luh was the first president of the Chinese American Food Society in 1974-5 and received its Professional Achievement Award in 1984.
Award winners receive a plaque from the Bor S. Luh Endowment Fund of the Institute of Food TechnologistsFoundation and a USD 3000 honorarium.

Congratualtions, Ted!


Congratulations to the UMN RCA Team!

March 14th, 2014
Our team of Jill Tomczak, Henriette Zahn, 
Molly Erickson and Allison Heiderscheidt just took third place in the RCA Culinology competition. Thanks to everyone who helped them prepare and fundraise. 

FScN Welcomes Morrine Omolo

January 21st, 2014
She is a Food Science Master's student and research assistant, and will be working in Dr. Baumler's Lab.

FScN Welcomes Dr. David Baumler

January 8th, 2014
David is our new faculty member in the department. His research program is focused on experimental and computational Systems Biology methods to study pathogenic and commensal microorganisms during interactions with hosts and in environments such as foods. He is also a chili pepper consultant for farmers and the food/beverage industry in the Midwest. His lab is in 246 FScN.

Special Seminar - Obesity: Is Diet the Issue?

Join us on Wednesday, January 22nd at 4:00pm in ABLMS 125.

Dr. Steven Blair of the University of South Carolina will discuss the causes of the obesity epidemic along with his findings. More information can be found here.

Alice Maserati, Ph. D. student in Food Science received a MN Drive Fellowship

As part of the University of Minnesota MN DRIVE’s Initiative on Global Food Supply, Alice Maserati was selected as one of the first Graduate Student Fellowships recipients. Alice is advised by Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez and Dr. Ryan Fink and her research is focused on the investigation of the physiological and molecular pathways involved in the heat cross-resistance acquisition. The Fellowships cover 1-year of stipend and some funds for research. Please congratulate Alice.

FScN Welcomes Alessandra Marti

November 18, 2013

Alessandra is a new Post-Doctoral Associate working with Dr. Seetharaman in FScN 5. Welcome, Alessandra!

FScN's 41st Anniversary is this month. Look back on last year's celebration by enjoying our Remembrance Video, created by Prof. Mary Schmidl. 

New FScN Short Course: Flavor Applications in Food

FScN Welcomes Carmen Barba Gonzalez-Albo

September 2, 2013

Carmen is a new Post-Doctoral Associate, working with Dr. Devin Peterson in 133 FScN. Welcome, Carmen!

Spring/Summer 2013 FScN Newsletter Now Available

View the newsletter for news, events, awards and more from Spring semester and early Summer 2013.

Students Win 1st Place in Disney Product Development Contest, 3rd in Developing Solutions for Developing Countries at IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago

Disney Product Development Team

Two student teams won great honors at the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo this July 14-16 in Chicago, Il. The Disney Product Development Team, with Lauren Gillman (Captain), Ann Pataky, Brian Folger, Jordan Walter and Kirsten Ruud, took 1st place in the Disney Product Development Contest!

The Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Team, with Liz Ha, Felize Dangcil, Mufan Guo, Tuo Chen and Holly Reiland, took 3rd place in that category.

The teams went to the IFT Annual Meeting with Dr. Tonya Schoenfuss and Dr. Baraem Ismail. Congratulations!

FScN Student Joins Cargill Global Scholars Program

July 11, 2013

We are proud to announce that Bria Abeles-Allison, a Food Science undergraduate student, has been chosen as a recipient of the Cargill Global Scholars Program. This highly competitive and prestigious program includes just two students from the University of Minnesota.

As a Cargill Global Scholar, Bria will join a global network of high performing undergraduate students. Cargill Global Scholars are given the opportunity to develop leadership competencies through training modules, mentoring and coaching by Cargill employees, as well as learning and networking opportunities with Cargill businesses. 

Congratulations, Bria!

FScN Welcomes Dr. Varatharajan Vamadevan

July 7, 2013

Dr. Vamadevan is a new Post Doctoral Associate working with Professor Koushik Seetharaman, and will be working in 5 FScN. Welcome, Varatharajan!

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Spring 2014 Departmental Seminar Schedule