Friday, November 1, 2019

Mentorship advice for young professionals

Guest post by Leann Barden, co-chair of the AOCS Young Professional Common Interest Group

Mentors are wonderful resources. I have had many mentors in my life and have found them in many different places — an aunt, my Girl Scout leader, teachers and graduate school professors, “big buddies” assigned through work, trusted managers, veteran colleagues I met in the food line at the AOCS President’s Welcome, and even a woman I met on an 8-hour Amtrak ride while moving from DC back to Massachusetts. At its core, mentorship is simply a relationship built on trust, typically between a less seasoned individual and a veteran one. Mentors are typically older than their mentees, but a mentor is really anyone who has more experience in an area you want to learn.

While everyone recognizes the value of mentorship, many of us struggle to establish strong mentor/mentee relationships. The title alone seems somewhat daunting — am I qualified to be someone’s mentor? How do I ask someone to be my mentor? Here are some tips, tricks, and questions to get you started — all based on my personal experiences — as well as some additional resources. Enjoy!

Finding a Mentor
Step 1: Talk to people. When you are at a networking event, try introducing yourself to people you have not yet met and ask them about their careers. If you are new to a company, set up “meet-and-greets” with people. You should ask your manager when you are first hired about people you should meet in order to better do your job, but you can also set up these meet-and-greets with literally anyone else you meet in the company, even if it is just someone with whom you struck up a great conversation while waiting in the cafeteria checkout line.

Step 2: Of these people you have now met, consider who you found both interesting and approachable (i.e., easy to talk to). Is it someone who recently got a promotion and might be able to give you advice on that process? Is it a more senior scientist who currently holds your dream job, and you want to know what experiences you need to one day hold that position yourself? Or is it someone who seems to be masterfully juggling work and family when you yourself are just starting a new life stage and feeling a bit frustrated? Of all the meet-and-greets you are having, you will inevitably find that a single meeting or two might suffice for answering your questions, but other people seem to offer great advice on numerous fronts, and you keep returning to them with questions. The latter are your mentors.

Step 3: Build a relationship. Mentors can help you best if they know who you are — what interests you; what scares you; what experiences you have had and still want to have; etc. They are also most likely to be invested in your development if they like you as an individual, which requires building a relationship. To respect your mentor’s time, try to meet for only 30–60 minutes at a time, generally speaking. I would say I have four close mentors right now. Two are from previous jobs, and we chat via phone or have lunch maybe 2–3 times per year, with a few short emails in between to keep the relationship going (“I got married! Here’s a picture from the wedding.” Or maybe, “I just talked to a direct report about XYZ, and it reminded me of that time you helped me with ABC.”). I currently work with the other two mentors, so we will do lunch or coffee on maybe a bimonthly cadence. I always come with a few questions for my mentor because that is the reason we are meeting, but I also take time to learn about their lives because (1) I care about their lives, and (2) you don’t want to just fire off question after question; that is bad for relationship building and makes for a tedious conversation. Recognize that this person is taking time from their busy schedule and be sure to thank him or her accordingly.

Questions to Get You Started

First couple of meetings:
1.    How did you get into your current role?
2.    Where else have you worked?
3.    Tell me about your family/hobbies/etc.

Subsequent meetings: I’m struggling with….
1.    Have you been in a similar situation?
2.    Can you recommend any resources?
3.    You work with closely with (my boss). Do you have any advice for managing up with him/her?

Learn more tips for a successful mentoring relationship, provided by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

A few additional resources:
1.    Mentoring Matters. Three Essential Elements of Success.
2.    Keys to Successful Mentoring Relationships.
3.    The National Marketing Partnership website.
4.    The Dos and Don’ts of Mentoring.
5.    A Guide to Understanding the Role of a Mentor (it’s different than coaching).

Monday, October 28, 2019

A lively EuroFed Lipid meeting in Seville, Spain

Janet Brown, Director, Membership, attended the 17th EuroFed Lipid Congress & Expo in Seville, Spain, last week. Here's her recap of the meeting!

The 17th EuroFed Lipid Congress & Expo recently concluded in Seville, Spain, and included many wonderful and enlightening conversations with AOCS members and other lipid-loving scientists. It was almost like a family reunion for me and other AOCS members in attendance.

AOCS Fellow Alejandro Marangoni received the Euro Fed Lipid Technology Award; he is only the second non-European to win this award. Notably, the first person to win this award was Eric Decker, current AOCS President. Eric won this award in 2018. Alejandro presented the award lecture, "The Nanoscale Structure of Fats and its Relationship to Functionality."

Alejandro Marangoni

Larodan, an AOCS Corporate Member, sponsored their 3rd Annual Fun Run. Even though we ran in the dark (the sun in Seville does not rise until 8:30 a.m. local time), Carl and Emma led our group down well-lit streets along the river, over the bridge, through a park, and back to the hotel. It was a perfect start to the morning.

 Larodan Fun Run Participants

The exhibit hall included nearly 30 companies, many of whom also exhibit at the AOCS Annual Meeting, so it was great to meet exhibit personal from Europe. Pictured below are Bruce Patsey, Oil-Dri Corp, and Kaustuv Bhattacharya, Dupont Nutrition Biosciences APS.

Oil-Dri, Bruce Patsey

There were many conversations and connections made between AOCS journal editorial board members. Representatives from the JAOCS editorial board included Yomi Watanabe, and Suzana Ferreira-Dias and Uwe Bornscheuer (pictured).

JAOCS Associate Editors

I also enjoyed meeting our two winners of the AOCS Euro Section Travel Grant, Sandra Beyer Gregersen (pictured with Eckhard Floter) and Beatriz Quintanila Casas.

AOCS Euro Section Travel Grant winner

I also spent time talking with members of the AOCS China Section. Many of these researchers will also be attending and presenting at the upcoming AOCS China Section Meeting in Guangzhou, China.

AOCS China Section

The new General Director of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir, happens to also be the new Chair of the AOCS Asian Section. I sat down and chatted with him about Section activities and the 2020 AOCS Annual Meeting. What a wonderful resource to have as the chair of this Section.

AOCS Asian Section Chair and General Director MPOB
The next meeting of the EuroFed Lipid is planned for 2021 in Leipzig, Germany. Thank you to the organizing committee for your wonderful job of hosting this meeting.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The benchmark in extracting oil seeds — HF P+LT's 1000 tpd screw press

HF launches its new biggest screw press for edible oils. The new press proceeds 1.000 tons canola or 850 tons per day of sunflower seeds.

HF's latest innovation on screw presses delivers comparable outstanding performance in residual oil like the existing models of SP280P and SP340P (reaching contents of 17–21% as a pre-press) while remaining a small footprint. It is the best option in the market for replacement with the intention of increasing the capacity or green fields with a minimum number of lines.

Meet them at EuroFedLipid, Sevilla, October 20–23, 2019, or contact them at

Monday, October 21, 2019

AOCS and Japan Oil Chemists’ Society expand access to valuable tools for verifying food authenticity and detecting contaminants

AOCS adopts well-tested JOCS Method for determining the 2-position fatty acid in triglycerides.

URBANA, Ill., USA, October 21, 2019 — The AOCS and Japan Oil Chemists’ Society (JOCS) approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to mutually adopt selected official analytical methods and a Recommended Practice as joint JOCS/AOCS Methods. Users of official AOCS Methods will have access to two JOCS Methods: one for determining the fatty acid occupying the 2-position in triglycerides and one for detecting monochloropropanediol (MCPD) esters and glycidol esters in edible oils. In addition, AOCS will adopt a Recommended Practice for quantifying MCPD esters and glycidol esters in fish oils. AOCS and JOCS plan to conduct a collaborative trial to develop the Recommended Practice into an official joint JOCS/AOCS Method. The MOU will be officially signed during a ceremony at the headquarters of the JOCS on November 15.

The well-tested JOCS “2-position fatty acid in triglycerides” Method is an improvement of both the ISO Method and current AOCS Method in that it uses a more specific enzyme. By partnering with JOCS, AOCS was able to adopt it without a new collaborative study. In return, JOCS will be able to adopt AOCS Methods. Moreover, the two organizations have agreed to participate in collaborative methods development (collaborative studies).

“Being able to determine the fatty acid occupying the 2-position in triglycerides with this method gives us a valuable tool in verifying food authenticity. It’s also valuable in delineating contributing factors to food functionality because the melting behavior, and thus mouthfeel and flavor release, of fats in food is affected by the positional distribution of the component fatty acids,” said Scott Bloomer, Director, AOCS Technical Services.

The MOU is the result of a collaborative process that started at the 2018 AOCS Annual Meeting; however, the professional connection that led to that collaboration began several years earlier. Bloomer met fellow AOCS member Dr. Yomi Watanabe (Osaka Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology) when they both volunteered as associate editors for the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. They developed a professional rapport during their time as AOCS volunteers, often discussing their research after presentations at AOCS Annual Meetings.

After one of her presentations at the 2018 AOCS Annual Meeting, Watanabe mentioned she had an official JOCS Method for determining the fatty acid occupying the 2-position. Bloomer shared what he learned about Watanabe’s method with Mark Collison, editor of the 7th edition of the official AOCS Methods, who agreed her method was well developed and encouraged Bloomer to work with JOCS.

Bloomer started conversations with Watanabe and Professors Yasushi Endo (Chair, Committee of the Standard Methods of JOCS) and Kouichi Asakura (President of JOCS) about the two societies mutually adopting analytical methods. At the 2018 joint JOCS/AOCS meeting in Kobe, Japan, this group, as well as Drs. Kinuko Miyazaki and Koyama Kazuo from House Foods Group Inc., met to discuss the steps for a JOCS Method to become an official AOCS Method. During the following months, Bloomer worked with them to codify the JOCS Methods according to AOCS requirements.

“This story illustrates the value of AOCS meetings and the value of connections, and even friendships that are built, through working as a volunteer in AOCS,” Bloomer said.

If you are interested in participating in the collaborative study related to quantifying MCPD esters and glycidol esters in fish oils, contact Scott Bloomer at, +1 217-693-4830.

Media Contact: Dan Klen, Communication Specialist, +1 217-693-4829,

Friday, October 18, 2019

AOCS Euro Section supports presenters at the 2019 EuroFed Lipid Congress in Spain

The AOCS Euro Section, chaired by Ignace Debruyne, is supporting two travel grantees to the EuroFed Lipid Congress and Exhibit in Sevilla, Spain, 20–23 October 2019. The winners of the travel grant include Sandra Beyer Gregersen, Aarhus University, and Beatriz Quitanilla Casas, University of Barcelona.

In addition, the Euro Section is also supporting a keynote speaker. Longtime member and AOCS Fellow, Alejandro Marangoni, University of Guelph, is presenting a keynote Wednesday.

Many AOCS members have been very involved with the planning of this conference. Congratulations to AOCS members Hans Christian Holm, Euro Fed Lipid President, and Diego L. Garcia-Gonzalez, Congress Chairperson, for your leadership in putting together this congress.

Find additional AOCS members on the Scientific Committee when you visit to view the entire program.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Job openings at Kalsec

Kalsec Inc. is hiring! See below for brief descriptions of each position and follow the links to learn more, including how to apply.

Kalsec is an international leader in the development of natural spice and herb flavor extracts, natural colors, natural antioxidants, and advanced hop products for the manufactured food and beverage markets. 

  • Use expertise in chemistry to leverage identification, isolation and purification of new natural antioxidant products.
  • Development of new antioxidant products by working with customers, product director, and process development teams.
  • Application of extraction techniques for downstream processing to provide new value-added products and product forms.
  • Testing of lipid oxidation solutions for various food and beverage applications.
  • Continue to learn process chemistry and food science skills and participate on scale ups of new products and processes.

  • Identification and formulation of new systems for the antioxidant product line.
  • Development and testing of lipid oxidation solutions for various food and beverage applications.
  • Troubleshooting of lipid oxidation problems for both internal and external customers.
  • Validation of new raw materials and vendors.
  • Application of extraction techniques for downstream processing to provide new value-added products and product forms.
  • Application of extensive theoretical knowledge to identification of synergistic antioxidants, possible with flavor, and/or color systems. Gather, assess and report competitive and regulatory information.
  • Contribute to the Core product strategy at the direction of the Director of Applications & Sensory.
  • Stay current with internal and external technical and market developments.

ISF Kauffman Award Recipient Announced

The ISF Committee is pleased to announce that the recipient of the Kauffman Award for 2020 is Dr. Richard Cantrill.

A well-deserved recipient, Dr. Cantrill was previously the Chief Science Officer and Technical Director for the AOCS, a position he held from 1996 to 2017. In addition to his current role as an independent consultant in food quality, he is a member of the USP Food Ingredient Expert Committee, a member of the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), President of MoniQA Association, and international representative on numerous standards organisations, including Codex Alimentarius and ISO Fats & Oils Committees. He has made valuable contributions to research with more than 100 referred publications and as an advisor on many lipid-related food quality projects.

The 2020 ISF Lectureship Series will be held in conjunction with the World Congress on Oils & Fats, 9-12 February 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The Kaufmann Memorial Lecture is given to honour the memory of the founder of the ISF, Hans P. Kaufmann, and to recognize his contributions to the science of fats and oils and to the development of international cooperation in the fats and oils community.

Dr. Cantrill will receive his award at the World Congress on Fats and Oils in Sydney in February 2020.

Find out more on the Kauffman Award, Richard Cantrill (pdf), and register to see Dr. Cantrill receive his award.