Name: Lisa Garretson
Hometown: Arden Hills, Minn.
Degree Pursuing: Food Science M.S.
Adviser: Alessandra Marti
Research Title: Pigmented heirloom beans: chemical and quality characteristics before and after cooking
My research aims to profile a selection of heirloom varieties of dry common beans in terms of their chemical composition and cooking characteristics. While commodity varieties have been studied in depth and are widely used in the food industry, we know very little about how these heirloom varieties compare to the varieties that are more widely used in industry.
How did you become interested in food science?
I've always taken an interest in what goes on "behind the scenes" in the foods we eat. Once I stumbled across the subject as a way to combine my interest in chemistry and love of food, I was hooked!
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?
I grew up just a few miles from the St. Paul campus and have always been drawn to the Twin Cities campus as a whole. I've always loved the contrast between to two campuses in terms of their size, location, and individual personalities. After graduating in 2010 from the FSCN department with my Food Science B.S., I stayed in Minneapolis and began a job with General Mills. When I decided to pursue a master's degree, the U of M was an easy choice for me.
How does your research tie in to the research being done in your adviser's lab?
Our lab focuses on the chemistry of cereal-based foods. Dry beans (and legumes in general) are somewhat of a new area for this group, but many of the things we investigated in this project fell right in line with what our lab specializes in. It was a cool way to expand our knowledge to new applications.
After graduation, I plan to continue my work as a product developer in the food industry. I like the combination of creativity and technical expertise that this job requires. After completing my research, I feel I'll be able to pursue this career with a set of fresh eyes and a new appreciation for how technical advances are constantly being made in this field.