Student MnDrive Fellows

July 20, 2021

Conducting exciting and revolutionary research is one of the core motivations of our department, and graduate students are at the center of that work. This year, three of our students were awarded prestigious MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures fellowships! Learn about these students and their work below:

Jake Vitt, 1st Year Food Science MS Student: 

My research project is focused on seeking interventions that will prevent the contamination and growth of foodborne pathogens in food. The objective of my research is to understand the genetic basis in which Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium grows on alfalfa sprouts (Medicago sativa) and to develop a biocontrol strategy to mitigate the contamination to allow consumers to once-again consume fresh sprouts.”

Wes Mosher, 1st Year Nutrition PhD Student:

“For my project, I will be using our lab’s metabolomic approach to study two low-cost agricultural byproducts – freeze-dried bile and treated corn pericarp --as alternative growth promoters of pigs. Bile acids carry diverse biological functions and corn pericarp is rich in phenolic compounds. These products are both potentially beneficial to the growth and health of animals.”

Sonali Raghunath, 2nd Year Food Science PhD Candidate:

“Working on Optimizing pulsed electric field processing - PEF (nonthermal treatment) as a pre or post-treatment to induce protein modifications in dairy proteins for enhanced applications in the food systems. She is currently studying the effect of processing parameters, and exploring functional & structural characteristics of milk protein concentrates and micellar casein concentrates. This project will provide a deeper understanding of food systems and ways to enhance the production of dairy proteins for various product applications in the near future.”

The purpose of the MnDrive Global Food Ventures Fellowship program is to support graduate student researchers who will seek solutions to the increasingly evident challenges posed by food insecurity and population growth. MnDRIVE is a partnership between the University of Minnesota and the state of Minnesota that aligns areas of research strength with the state’s key and emerging industries to address grand challenges.