Monday, November 23, 2020

Opportunities to Expand Nutrition at Scale in the School Feeding Market: a spotlight on Soybean 360 moderator Fabiola Dionisi, Ph.D.

Meet Dr. Dionisi 

Soybean 360 is an international symposium organized by the Soybean Innovation Lab in partnership with AOCS. The symposium's vision is to share better practices and innovations with processors in Sub Saharan Africa and elsewhere, for efficient processing of food in the soybean value chain that meet DINES criteria: Delicious, Inexpensive, Nutritious, Environmentally and culturally sustainable, and Safe. Processors for both human and animal foods can benefit from the research and industry innovations, and networking opportunities available in this symposium. The symposium will occur November 30–December 11 from 8-11 a.m. CST (UTC-06/Chicago, USA). Registration is free for all, including nonmembers.

Leading up to the symposium, AOCS is spotlighting AOCS members participating in the event. This week we are featuring Dr. Fabiola Dionisi, an AOCS member since 2014. Dr. Dionisi has been very involved with the Health and Nutrition Division as a Chair; she is also part of the AOCS Governing Board.

Read on to learn more about the session Dr. Dionisi is involved with, how she got involved with the symposium, and what most excites her about her work.

The Soybean 360 session Dr. Dionisi will moderate

Opportunities to Expand Nutrition at Scale in the School Feeding Market will occur on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Current academic research, field opportunities and characteristics of successful school feeding programs enhanced with soybeans in Sub-Saharan Africa will be shared in this session. Presenters from research and development institutions will review economic case studies from school systems, in addition to a review of processor lessons learned. Additionally, researchers will review key nutrition information and thoughts on improving school protein availability in schools at scale, and in smaller communities. Read more about this session.

Meet Dr. Dionisi

Fabiola Dionisi holds an MSc in Food Science and Technology, an MSc in Nutritional Medicine and a Ph.D. in Food Biotechnologies. After two years spent in the research and development (R&D) sector of the cosmetics industry, she joined Nestlé in 1994 where she has occupied different positions, such as Group Leader, Department Head and Network Leader. As a Lipid Senior Expert, Fabiola has contributed to the scientific content and the business impact of numerous R&D projects in the area of Quality, Nutrition and Food Material Science. She is part of the AOCS Governing Board and the Chair of the Health & Nutrition Division.

1) How did you get involved with Soybean 360?

Through AOCS, I have met a few people involved in Soybean 360. On few different occasions, we had very interesting scientific discussions and that was how I got introduced to Soybean 360.

2) How does your work intersect with Soybean 360 as a whole or how does it intersect with the specific session with which you are involved?

At Nestlé Research, I am leading the Lipid Network, a virtual team of lipid experts from all over Nestlé R&D. Part of our work consists of keeping abreast on development and innovation in the field of fats and oils for food applications. Soybean oil is an important raw material as a source of both proteins and lipids. Soybean 360 is an excellent platform to understand more about this topic and relevant recent innovations as well as a fantastic opportunity to discuss key features and challenges for affordable, nutritious and sustainable products for Sub-Saharan Africa.

3) How did you get involved with AOCS? 

AOCS has been part of my professional experience since the beginning of my career. Already as young student I looked at AOCS as the reference in my area of expertise, fats and oils. Since 1997, I have regularly participated in AOCS annual meetings as a speaker, session chair and judge for several AOCS Awards. I am the Chair of the Health & Nutrition Division and a member of the AOCS Governing Board. Within AOCS I have developed interesting professional relationships and friendships – it feels like home.

4) How has AOCS contributed to the advancement of your research?

AOCS represents a fantastic platform of networking and exchanges where representatives from academia, government and industry can meet and discuss. The technical programs of different AOCS meetings have been extremely relevant for my scientific development and the participants are key for the development of my network. 

5) What excites you most about your work?

From a young age, I was interested in science and aspired to be a scientist. Then I started to be interested in food and that is when I discovered an incredible universe that deeply touches our lives. Through my work I feel I can do the right thing for consumers, providing products that are safe, tasty, nutritious and good for the planet. 

The large variety of topics covered in my work excites me the most, as well as the possibility to look at food in a holistic way, from quality, safety, technology, nutrition and sustainability.

6) What do you like to do when you are not participating in meetings?

I like all aspects of food from cooking to reading about food to exploring new tastes and textures. I also enjoy photography and generally discussing food products. Of course, I enjoy sharing all that with my family and friends. I also like to take long walks in nature with my husband and I am looking forward to getting back to travelling once the Covid 19 pandemic is over.

Registration for the symposium is free.

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