Degree pursuing: PhD in Food Science
Adviser: Baraem Ismail
Research focus: Developing carrier systems for active food constituents utilizing lower protein dairy ingredients
Our research aims to reduce waste streams and coproducts generated during whey protein isolate production by utilizing these products as a solution to the encapsulation industry’s need for cost effective, clean label systems for delivering active ingredients like polyunsaturated fatty acids. Specifically, we are hydrolyzing whey protein concentrate to increase antioxidant activities and improve emulsion properties, and then combining with whey phospholipid concentrate to develop a stable system for emulsification and encapsulation applications. Furthermore, the project’s molecular to applied approach is allowing us to study the interactions involved in the formation of stable systems with the potential to translate results to a wider range of coproducts. Thus, achieving our overall goals of improving the sustainability and value of dairy products.
How did you become interested in food science?
My interest in food science began with a love for cooking and baking. However, my discovery of food science was by chance: A colleague of my father (a food production supervisor) suggested it when they heard I was struggling to pick a college major. At the time, I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but I discovered over the course of my undergraduate studies that my true passion was for food science.
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?
I initially chose the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate because of the great scholarship package offered by the FSCN department and CFANS. I have since decided to stay at the U of MN for both my MS and now my doctorate because it has been a supportive community that has provided me innumerable research and professional opportunities. It’s safe to say I am a Gopher at heart!
How does your research tie into the research being done in your adviser's lab?
My research is helping us to develop new techniques for better understanding and predicting the impact of modification on protein functionality and food system applications. Thus, it is contributing new tools to our broader research on protein solutions and novel protein ingredients.
I am interested in the grand challenges facing the local and global food systems, and I am hoping to find roles after graduation that allows me to use both science and communication to address these challenges. Hopefully, this will initially be in a capacity that allows me to continue working with protein chemistry!