Claire Boyle

claire boyleHometown: Robbinsdale, MN

Degree pursuing: Food Science, MS

Adviser: Dr. Baraem (Pam) Ismail


Research focus: Extraction, Modification, and Chemical Characterization of Protein and Dietary Fiber from Camelina Sativa

Camelina sativa, a sustainable short-season cover crop, is an oilseed gaining interest due to the increasing global demand for sustainably sourced ingredients. Camelina provides numerous agricultural benefits—low production cost, low nitrogen requirements, drought resistance, cold weather tolerance, and short growing season—in addition to being high in protein (20%) and dietary fiber (30%), which are two of the fastest growing segments of the food ingredient market. In order to create functional, market-viable ingredients from camelina, we are investigating the following: efficient means of protein extraction, evaluation of protein functional properties, and chemical characterization of the dietary fiber constituents.

How did you become interested in food science?

As a high school student, I visited the U of M for an FSCN Preview Day for prospective students. It was at this event where I learned about a product development project that students were working on, which involved creating a snack food for kids that met various nutrition requirements. This sparked my interest, as I already had a passion for food and cooking. I was able to see how I could align my interests with meeting the needs of others, which made food science a great fit for me.

Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?

I enjoy the Twin Cities a lot, and the U of M had a great Food Science program, so I decided to stay local. There are also a lot of food science jobs in the area, which drew me to the U of M.

How does your research tie into the research being done in your adviser's lab?

Dr. Ismail’s lab is focused on characterizing and modifying protein, so camelina protein was a novel subject that was well-suited to our lab’s expertise. Dr. Ismail’s lab is also part of the Forever Green Initiative, which funds research on sustainable agriculture and its applications, and camelina is one of the Forever Green crops.

Future plans

After I graduate in July 2018, I’m hoping to work in the food industry as a product developer or in the area of technical sales/services.