Q&A with Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award Winner: Hualu Zhou
1) What was your reaction when you learned you won Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award?
I was so excited and could not wait to share it with my dear advisor and lab mates the first time I heard. Then I shared this good news with my family and my two kids.
2) How did you get started in the area of focus that you are studying?
1. My love for food science is in my genes - being the daughter of a chef, I have a natural curiosity in food and cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. Because of this, I majored in Food Science and Engineering during my undergraduate study, where I believe that I not only acquired fundamental knowledge and skills related to food science but also received the professional research training in the State key laboratory of Food Science and Technology.
2. Creating and developing much healthier and more nutritious foods always makes me feel confident and valuable in our society. Thus, I put my focus on a deeper understanding of human nutrition and health, so I chose Chemical Biology in my master’s program, using molecular biology to investigate the mechanism behind food’s impact on health and some advanced nanotechnologies. I am conducting a lot of research to explore the physicochemical properties of nanoparticles (dispersity, size, morphology, and surface modification) and their biological effects (toxicity, cell uptake, endocytosis, autophagy, etc.). Therefore, these experiences play an important and fundamental role in pursuing my Ph.D. program, which obviously inspires humans more generally to develop much healthier and more nutritious foods.
3) What challenges have you overcome during your course of study?
First, is the language problem. As a student coming from China, I need to keep improving my English skills. Other challenges I have worked to overcome lie in working to balance my studies with my personal life – I love to contribute to my community and company with my two kids while still pursuing my degree and my research.
4) Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS student members?
Believe yourself, do experiments and apply for scholarships!
5) How has winning the AOCS Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award helped you develop as a young scientist?
Yes, AOCS is a century-old international scientific and professional organization. Winning the AOCS Lipid and Chemistry Nutrition Award helps me get recognized and become more confident in studying lipid and nutrition areas.
6) Can you tell us about your current research?
I am investigating the gastrointestinal fate of organic and inorganic nanoparticles in foods, like titanium dioxide, nanocellulose and nanochitin, and exploring their impacts on lipid digestion and nutraceutical bioavailability.