Friday, October 22, 2021

Midweek mixer: Early career research professionals — Navigating career paths


Learn how to successfully navigate your career path in this upcoming mixer hosted by the AOCS Young Professional Common Interest Group.

Gain valuable insights about challenges that may arise while navigating your career path and resources to use that can help with this process. Hear personal experiences from seven well-known experts and young researchers from academia, government and industry.

When: Thursday, October 28, 2021, 11 a.m. CDT (Chicago, USA; UTC-5)

Register for free.




Philip Bates

Philip D. Bates, Washington State University, USA
Dr. Philip D. Bates’ laboratory focuses on the biochemistry and molecular biology of plant lipid metabolism leading to the biosynthesis of essential membrane lipids and oils. The long-term goal is to understand the control of lipid metabolic flux that can be used to engineer increased total oil and produce designer oil fatty acid compositions. His interest in plant biochemistry started as an undergraduate at the University of California Davis (2002), and his love of plant lipid metabolism began during graduate school in the lab of John Ohlrogge at Michigan State University (2008). He did postdoctoral research with John Browse at Washington State University. In 2013, he started a research group as an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. In 2014, he received the Paul K. Stumpf Award for Exceptional Early-Career Plant Lipid Scientist from the International Symposium on Plant Lipids, and in 2016 he received the Arthur C. Neish Young Investigator Award from the Phytochemical Society of North America. In 2018, Dr. Bates took an accelerated assistant professor position at WSU, moved his lab (including the people 2,400 miles), and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2020.


Ed Cahoon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA
Dr. Ed Cahoon is the George Holmes University Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Center for Plant Science Innovation at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He has approximately 30 years of experience in plant biotechnology. He has used biotechnological tools for improving soybean oil composition as a scientist with DuPont Crop Genetics and USDA-ARS, before joining the UNL faculty in 2008. Dr. Cahoon has combined biochemistry and functional genomics to uncover metabolic pathways for high-value fatty acids, antioxidants, and carotenoids and has transferred these pathways to soybean to enhance oil value for emerging markets such as aquaculture feedstocks. He has more than 150 publications and 35 US patents in plant biotechnology and was a 2017 recipient of an honorary doctorate in plant breeding from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Cahoon received his B.S. in biochemistry from Virginia Tech, M.S. in plant physiology from Cornell University and Ph.D. in plant biochemistry from Michigan State University.



Matthew J. Fhaner, University of Michigan-Flint, USA
Dr. Matthew J. Fhaner is the chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Michigan – Flint (UM-Flint), where he has been a faculty member for 7 years. He is an associate professor of analytical chemistry. He teaches both lecture and laboratory classes in general chemistry and analytical chemistry focusing on quantitative and instrumental analyses. Dr. Fhaner’s research program focuses on identifying applications of electrochemical methods to the study of natural antioxidants and edible oil. 



Craig Byrdwell

W. Craig Byrdwell, USDA-ARS, USA
Dr. W. Craig Byrdwell is a research chemist at the Methods and Application of Food Composition Laboratory, part of the Agricultural Research Service, the research branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Byrdwell wrote his dissertation on identification of the “Unknown Phospholipid” in the human eye lens and quantification of fluorophores in normal and cataractous lenses. Dr. Byrdwell took a position at the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (ARS) and published the first report of analysis of triacylglycerols (TAGs) using HPLC with APCI-MS. Dr. Byrdwell took a position where he first and then routinely employed dual parallel mass spectrometers, using both APCI-MS and ESI-MS. He re-joined ARS in 2005 and has been analyzing fat-soluble vitamins and TAGs, combining three or four mass spectrometers employing complementary ionization methods (APCI-MS, APPI-MS and ESI-MS) coupled to one, two or three liquid chromatographs in multi-dimensional LCx/MSy techniques. Dr. Byrdwell has published more than 65 peer-reviewed articles, 10 book chapters and been editor and/or co-editor of three AOCS Press books. Dr. Byrdwell received the 2012 American Oil Chemists’ Society Analytical Division Herbert J. Dutton Award, presented the 2013 Society of Chemical Industry Julius Lewkowitsch Award Lecture and was awarded Fellow of the American Oil Chemists’ Society in 2019.


Tom McKeon

Tom McKeon, Formerly USDA, USA
Dr. Tom McKeon joined the USDA, ARS, in 1981 as a research chemist in the Postharvest Physiology and Chemistry Research Unit. Initially, his research involved fruit development and plant senescence. Later, his research turned to fatty acid and triacylglycerol biosynthesis in the castor plant. Much of his career was spent as a project leader, occasionally serving as an acting research leader and a brief stint as an acting assistant area director. Dr. McKeon retired in 2019. When Dr. McKeon started the research project on castor oil biosynthesis, he joined AOCS and the Biotechnology (BIO) Division. He has been involved in the BIO Division and AOCS since 1997.



Sidd Purkayastha

Sidd Purkayastha, PureCircle/Ingredion, USA
Dr. Sidd Purkayastha is head of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs of PureCircle/Ingredion and manages the PureCircle Science, Safety and Regulatory programs to drive the introduction of stevia in the food and beverage markets globally. Dr. Purkayastha is a research fellow in Ingredion R&D. With more than 30 years of experience in developing sweetener and carbohydrate technology for the reduced calorie and health and wellness area of food applications, Dr. Purkayastha joined PureCircle in 2009 to start the innovation and technical development and support team. He established PureCircle technical centers in the US, Europe and China; spearheaded business development in south-southeast Asia; and gained regulatory approval of new stevia sweeteners and flavors around the world. He works closely with major food companies and regulatory authorities to address technical and regulatory issues on stevia. Dr. Purkayastha authored more than 10 peer-reviewed research articles and numerous publications in trade journals on applications, safety and metabolism of steviol glycosides. A large number of U.S. and international patents on stevia technology have been awarded to Dr. Purkayastha. He graduated with a B.Tech from the I.I.T, Kharagpur (India), M.S. and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Sarah Willett
Sarah Willett, Kerry, USA
Dr. Sarah Willett is currently an RD&A scientist on the Process Innovation Team at Kerry in Beloit, WI. Her role focuses on improving current processes and investigating novel processes for Kerry’s Taste Portfolio, with specific research focus in the areas of lipid systems and mimetics, enzyme processes and encapsulation of flavors and bioactives. Previously, she completed her Ph.D. in food science at the University of Georgia in 2019 under the direction of Dr. Casimir C. Akoh. During her Ph.D., her research focused on production of structured lipids containing menhaden fish oil, oleogels and the potential for addition of these health beneficial lipids into food products. Her undergraduate studies in food science were completed in 2016 at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Dr. Willett has been a member of AOCS since 2016 and is currently serving as the Young Professional CIG co-chair and Biotechnology Division newsletter editor.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

AOCS remembers John Heilman, AOCS Past President

We wish to express our sympathies to the AOCS community and John Heilman’s family. John’s passing was a surprise to many. Below are some of the memories we have received since his passing on September 26, 2021.

About John Heilman

John E Heilman
John graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1961 and the next year began his nearly 60 years of membership with AOCS. During this time, he volunteered his time and insights for many committees and eventually worked his way up, serving as AOCS President in 1998. John provided support and business acumen while serving from 2002–2011 on the Business Management Committee. John was recognized for his service by winning the A.R. Baldwin Distinguished Service Award and being awarded an AOCS Fellow in 2002. He will be missed by many.

Thoughts and memories from a few of John’s colleagues

"I first met John Heilman when I was a project engineer in Guntersville, Alabama. He had come down from New York City to discuss the expansion project at the plant. He was cordial and very bossy! We listened to his idea and then showed him a different way to do the project. He did hear us out and finally agreed with our input.  
"Once the project was completed, John and I had a very good working relationship until he retired. We traveled together to many countries in the world and within the US as well. Traveling with John was a lot of fun and at every meeting in the morning we would first discuss our dinner plans. And of course, the wine selection also. He claimed to be a connoisseur of both.
"He encouraged me to join AOCS when I relocated to New York City. We attended most of the meetings together and were instrumental in founding the AOCS Processing Division. John and I also presented papers at the World Conference on Oilseed and Edible Oil Processing held Oct. 3–8, 1982, in The Hague, The Netherlands.

"The last time I spoke to him was in early September of 2021 during my visit to New Jersey.  Even though he was not well he was always cheerful. I will miss him dearly. May his soul rest in eternal peace."

— Sadru Dada, International Agribusiness Consultant, former colleague at Continental Grains

"John was the most loyal employee that we could have had for over 40 years. He was always ready to support a new project and to utilize new technology. John started in the processing industry working for Armour back in the 60s. He joined Continental with the Allied Mills Division and eventually moved into Continental Grain with the consolidation in the 1970s. John was instrumental in building the Liverpool, Brazilian, Argentine, and Trinidad crushing plants and developing the Italian operations. He was involved in the South Dakota crushing plant. John functioned as the Processing Division’s Senior engineer for many years. John was always a source of information. He was still there to offer advice as recently as last month. We will miss his humor and off-hand remarks."

— Ron Anderson, former colleague at Continental Grains

"John and I worked together for 21 years at Continental Grain. First in Illinois and then in New York City. For many years, John, Sadru Dada and I handled the oversight of Conti's oilseed processing groups physical plant operations and engineering activities. It was a privilege to work with John daily.  Sadru was the perfect balancing factor to keep us in focus."

— Dan Decker, former colleague at Continental Grains

"I remember once being with John at a customer's office in Canada where he was acting as a consultant. He was always very thorough and demanding, not willing to take no for an answer. He could even come across as a little officious at times. During the discussion, we called the Desmet Ballestra office in Atlanta, USA, to try to talk to someone but were told he was in a meeting and not available.

"Not to be outdone, John sat up very straight in his chair and put on a superior air.  With a smile and a twinkle in his eye he said, “Tell him John Heilman's on the phone.” It had the desired effect and the person he wanted to speak to was soon on the line."

— Alan Paine, Consultant, UK

Maximizing your career opportunities: LinkedIn networking and more


Are you looking for ways to further your career goals?

Attend this interactive mixer with Lowell Islom, Hollander Horizon International (HHI), and Nandika Bandara, University of Manitoba, to learn about interview preparation, networking and strategic partnering.

This mixer is hosted by the AOCS Student Common Interest Group.

When: Monday, October 25, 2021, 12 p.m. CDT (Chicago, USA; UTC-5)

Register for free. 



Lowell Isom
Lowell Isom started consulting with Hollander Horizon International in 2006 and brought decades of experience in product development and management roles within the food and pharmaceutical industries. Lowell holds a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in food microbiology; he also holds a certification as a pastry chef from attending culinary school at Kendall College. Lowell began his professional career with Abbott Laboratories in the thyroid diagnostic research group and then joined Kraft Foods R&D in 1996 as a product development scientist. Within his four-year tenure, he eventually became a group leader, responsible for leading product development in the cheese division. While applied technology manager at The Solae Company, Lowell was instrumental in the development of numerous soy-based dairy analog technologies, including cheese and liquid and powdered beverages. Lowell was also director of R&D for a joint venture between DuPont and General Mills known as 8th Continent. In 2012, Lowell purchased Hollander Horizon International Inc (HHI) and has been acting as the managing partner since then.


Nandika Bandara
Nandika Bandara is an assistant professor and Canada research chair in food protein and bioproducts at the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba. He is a certified food scientist (CFS) and material scientist with interdisciplinary research experience in food protein chemistry and technology, macromolecular chemistry, nanotechnology, biomimetics, and biobased/renewable polymer applications bioproducts and biomaterials. In addition to his current role as Canada research chair, he serves as an associate editor for Food Chemistry Journal (Elsevier), associate editor of the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society (JAOCS), and as chair for the Food Chemistry Division in the Institute of Food Technologist (IFT).


Neethu Pottackal is a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Ajayan Pulickel’s research group in the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice University. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in materials science and engineering, class of 2020, as part of the Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholars Program. Neethu’s past research involved the development of food coatings and the valorization of food waste as biosorbents. Currently, at Rice, her research focuses on biomaterials for sustainable food coatings as well as 3D printing of food. She is passionate and interested to further explore the fascinating intersection between materials science and food science/technology.


Francisco Leyva Guiterrez
Francisco Leyva Gutierrez is a Ph.D. candidate in food science at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville under the guidance of Dr. Toni Wang. His research is centered on synthetic chemistry, analysis, and crystallography of simple and complex lipids, specifically plant cuticular lipids or waxes. He holds a B.Sc. in food science and chemistry from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He has a passion for botany and believes the study and mimicry of waxes, a plant's first line of defense, can assist in the development of new technologies and materials.


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Introducing top fiber protection against dirt with superior sustainability

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The increasing environmental awareness and concerns of consumers are expected to generate higher demand for sustainable products. In the past five years, almost 5.5 thousand laundry liquid detergents with ECO claims were launched globally, representing more than 70% of all new launches.

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TexCare® SRN 170 Terra has been developed specifically to address the two key challenges of the laundry detergents category: to create more natural and sustainable products, and with these to deliver real fiber protection. This includes increasing a product’s renewable carbon index (RCI), especially of performance ingredients such as polymers, and ensuring no performance drawback, that is, good stain removal, extended life of clothing, and fabric preservation.

Renewable Carbon Index: 75%

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Clariant’s entire TexCare® range uses multifunctional polymers with a molecular structure that is very similar to that of polyester materials. The molecules are deposited on the fabric, forming multiple layers that offer steadily growing protection to the fibers. Due to its relatively short chain length, TexCare® SRN 170 Terra is the most flexible in the line, being easy to formulate in most surfactant systems.

Providing more with less

This new solution shields against stains by forming a protective film on fabric, preventing soil from penetrating into the material. During subsequent washes, soil removal is facilitated and is then carried away by detergent micelles.

It also offers anti-redeposition, providing repulsion between fabric and soil as well as interacting with soil, capturing it and keeping it suspended away from the material.

Finally,  TexCare® is a soil lifter, improving cleaning by boosting detergency. It leads the surfactants closer to the soil which then starts separating from the fiber surface. By helping to remove stains in the first wash, producing a soil release effect in the next wash, maintaining the whiteness of clothes even after multiple washes, and being easy to incorporate into most surfactant systems, TexCare® SRN 170 Terra allows you noticeable differentiation by adding substantiated claims to your product.

Order your sample now!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Member Spotlight: Timothy Abraham

Timothy Abraham

Dr. Timothy Abraham has been an AOCS member since 2005. He served as the secretary-treasurer of the AOCS Industrial Oil Products (IOP) Division from 2016–2019 and as the chair from 2019–2021.

Dr. Abraham is from Sri Lanka, where he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota, receiving his Ph.D. in organic/bioorganic chemistry in 1991. 

Following post-doctoral studies in medicinal chemistry at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Abraham joined Ambion Inc., the RNA company, in Austin, Texas. He moved back to Minnesota to join Cargill Inc. in 2000 as a senior scientist. Since joining Cargill, he has worked on various projects spanning food, feed and industrial applications. He was promoted to principal scientist in 2004, and subsequently became the new product development manager for Cargill’s biobased polyurethanes business. He moved back into corporate research, joining the engineering R&D function, where he was promoted to senior principal scientist in 2015. He was appointed a Cargill Corporate Fellow in 2019. He has 35 granted US patents and several more pending applications.

Dr. Abraham was a member of the team that won the EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2007 for “Biobased Polyols” and subsequently served on the judging panel for these awards. He has also won several awards at Cargill, including the Chairman’s Award and the prestigious "Bassy Award". The "Bassy Award" recognizes and honors individuals who consistently exemplify the attributes of the Cargill Leadership Model and have over their career provided significant contributions to the company.

Dr. Abraham has been serving on the External Advisory Board for the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota since 2016. Mentoring and volunteering are two of his passions, which include mentoring students in middle school, high school, and college, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Loaves & Fishes, and Kids Against Hunger.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Member Spotlight: Mike Martinez

Mike Martinez
Mike Martinez is the newly elected chairperson of the AOCS Processing (PRO) Division.

Shortly after completing his B.S. in chemistry at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, Mike joined the staff at Natural Plant Products. In 2010, he assumed the position of CEO for both Natural Plant Products and its parent company, OMG, a cooperative of Oregon farms. In this capacity, he is responsible for all operations from crop production to finished product distribution in the personal care industry. In addition to his studies in chemistry, Mike completed an MBA at Willamette University with a focus on strategy and sustainability. A native of Seal Beach, CA, Mike is now proud to call himself an Oregonian and has adopted the requisite habits of running, the pursuit of pinot noir and the habitual avoidance of umbrellas.

For those not familiar with Natural Plant Products, the company markets meadowfoam oil and other specialty oils to the global personal care and cosmetics industries. Meadowfoam oil is derived from the seeds of Limnanthes alba, a winter annual that was commercialized in Oregon’s Willamette Valley during the 1980s. Though native to California, the crop filled a critical rotational role in Oregon’s grass seed industry. Both Oregon State University and the USDA-ARS were instrumental in the development of meadowfoam as a specialty crop. This unique oil is known for its high oxidative stability relative to other seed oils. The stability stems from the unique C20 and C22 fatty acids that compose the oil. An internet search can provide more detail or visit

What do you wish you would had known when you first started?

The financial models that exist for specialty oils are different than those for familiar commodities like soy, palm and cotton. For example, meadowfoam’s value is concentrated almost entirely in the oil (99%+), as usages for meal and cake are restricted by pesticide and feed regulations. As I have gained understanding of the markets for oils such as cotton, almond and canola, I have been able to apply those fundamentals to our current operations and integrate them into our strategic planning.

What is the most challenging issue that you have personally faced in oilseeds?

Consolidation within the oilseed industry has reduced the number of plants available for toll processing. The advances in technology allowing for ever larger plants has further reduced the number of plants that are of reasonable size for specialty seeds that trade exclusively in the cosmetics space. Our cooperative farms in a region with high land values and a climate not suited to most oilseeds. The identification of oilseeds that would interest cosmetics brands and identifying a secure path to manufacturing has been the largest challenge I have faced in the past decade. 

What is the biggest challenge you see in oilseeds today?

From my perspective in the cosmetics industry, logistics and costs are causing massive disruptions to normal operations. Ocean freight shipments are often delayed by weeks, and it is increasingly difficult to secure bookings for both imports and exports. Domestic freight costs for our materials have tripled on some freight lanes, while steel, energy and labor costs are increasing rapidly. We’ve always planned for and assumed costs will increase over time. The problem is the pace of change. I don’t think these challenges are unique to the specialty oilseed world.

Any final thoughts you would like to share?

Our company has noted an increased customer interest in supply chain transparency and sustainability. I think this provides options and challenges for both specialty and commodity oils producers. For smaller entities, securing the resources necessary to quantity environmental, social and financial impacts across a supply chain will be challenging. For larger producers or food companies, I imagine the challenge of creating identity-preserved supply chains for raw materials sourced on a global basis is top of mind. Our industry will need to drive collaboration and education, so we are prepared to answer our customers’ questions regarding impacts from seed through packaging.

Member Spotlight: Brian P. Grady

Brian P. Grady
Dr. Brian P. Grady is the Douglas and Hilda Bourne Chair in Chemical Engineering and Director, School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, at the University of Oklahoma (OU). He is also the Director of the Institute for Applied Surfactant Research at OU.

He is a member of the AOCS Surfactants and Detergents (S&D) Division.

How did you first get involved with AOCS?

As with most of you I suspect, my first interaction with AOCS was attending the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. My Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1994) research area was polymer science. Although while working as a process engineer at Procter and Gamble from 1987–-1989 I did learn a bit about surfactants, even though I was making a food product. 

My first significant involvement with surfactants occurred when I started as a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma. I became interested in admicellar polymerization, which was the subject of my first successful NSF proposal! I eventually became interested more generally in surfactant adsorption at the solid-liquid interface, which naturally led me to AOCS. I attended my first AOCS Annual Meeting in Seattle in 2008 and have attended every meeting since, with only one exception. 

What do you value most about the AOCS Surfactants and Detergents Division?

In my experience, academics seem to attend meetings only with other academics, and industry people only with other industry people. The characteristic I value most about the S&D Division of AOCS is that the meeting is at the interface (pun intended 😊) of the two groups. I fully admit that I pay more attention to more talks during the S&D technical program at the AOCS Annual Meeting vs. more academic meetings because I am more likely to get research ideas from the former. 

The only international meeting I organized was on surfactants (SIS 2018, special issue in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents!) and historically was mostly a meeting with academics. I took great pains to try to get a good mix of industrial and academic talks, modelling what AOCS does (with a little bit more academic talks; what did you expect?).

Besides the AOCS Annual Meeting, how have you been involved in AOCS?

My other significant experience has been in society governance. Once an academic achieves tenure, he/she should sit back and figure out long-term professional goals (before that, the only goal is to be awarded tenure!). 

I was very interested in professional society governance. I still have a significant interest in polymer science, so I became involved in that area first, but eventually became involved with S&D as well. First, I was Secretary-Treasurer for the S&D Division. I mostly remember how gracious our industrial representatives were to sponsor the Division. Both in this role and in my role as Chair I always tried to figure out how best to provide value for their generous donation. I never was Vice-Chair; organizing the technical sessions for the Annual Meeting is too much work for me! In my opinion, the Chair gets far more credit than he/she deserves for the smooth running of S&D, while the Vice-Chair doesn’t get enough. In my two years as Chair, I interacted with all the members of the Division, which was quite fulfilling. 

Currently, my significant involvement is organizing and chairing sessions (which I very much enjoy!) and being on the editorial board of the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents (which isn’t a ton of work but sounds impressive!).

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Why is the AOCS LPP and Approved Chemist status important to Stratas Foods?

Derek Gum (Stratas Foods RDI Center Analytical Scientist), Eddie L. Baldwin (Stratas Foods RDI Center Analytical Laboratories and Facility Service Manager), and Helen Cianciolo (Stratas Foods RDI Center Analytical Scientist)

The Stratas Foods’ R&D Innovation Center and  Packaging Plants’ Quality Teams have been active participants in the AOCS Laboratory Proficiency Program since 2008. I, Eddie Baldwin, Manager of the Stratas Foods RDI Center’s Analytical Laboratories, have been an active member of the AOCS and participant in the LPP program for over 25 years. So when asked why is the AOCS LPP and Approved Chemist status important to me and the Stratas Quality Teams, I would sum it up as follows:

Participation in the AOCS Laboratory Proficiency Program provides the Stratas Foods’ RDI Center and Quality Teams throughout the USA opportunities to compare our results to the statistical data-set of a larger group of participating laboratories. This in addition to our internal collaboratives and quality programs ensures that our laboratories are performing at or above the industry standards for quality and accuracy.

By adhering to a higher level of quality testing and reporting as required by the AOCS LPP program,  I am proud to say that the Stratas RDI Center and Quality Teams have maintained Approved Chemist Status for several years and won a few awards along the way.

In short, participation in the AOCS LPP and Approved Chemist program helps to ensure that our RDI Center and Quality Teams are providing quality results that our customers can trust. By staying focused on achieving what is possible via. accurate and quality driven product deliverables to our customers we help them to thrive.

Eddie Baldwin | Analytical Laboratories and Facilities Services Manager – RDIC | Stratas Foods LLC

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Member Spotlight: Saoussane Khalifa

Saoussane Khalifa
Saoussane Khalifa is a Ph.D. student at the Laboratory of Food and Biodynamic Chemistry, Graduate School of Agricultural Science at Tohoku University, Japan. In her current research, she studies in-depth lipid oxidation mechanisms and their products both in vivo and in vitro. She mainly focuses on the structural elucidation of novel lipid primary and secondary oxidation products using LC-MS/MS, NMR, derivatization reactions (and sometimes chemical calculations), the exact mechanism of their formation, and their presence and effect on healthy organisms as well as their relation to altered health conditions. 

She participated in the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting and was awarded first place in the LOQ Student ePoster Pitch Competition on her finding of novel squalene cyclic peroxides on the human skin and their effect on skin cells. She is a member of the AOCS Lipid Oxidation and Quality (LOQ) Division.

Can you tell us about your research?

Currently, I am working on skin lipid oxidation and its relation to skin disease. The identification of novel oxidation products through classic and new methods is a crucial part of my study. In addition, the determination of the oxidation mechanism involved in their formation is essential, as it is the key to finding suitable methods to stop and reverse the health adverse effects that these products might cause. 

Previously, I demonstrated the formation and existence of novel squalene cyclic peroxides on the human skin and their harmful effect on skin cells. Currently, I’m continuing on the elucidation of other novel oxidation products on the human skin and their analysis and relation to patients with skin abnormalities. I am also working on lipid oxidation in edible oils and supplements with a focus on identifying primary and secondary oxidation products and the mechanism leading to the formation of each class of oxidation products.

How did you react to winning first place at the LOQ Student ePoster Pitch Competition?

As I have been working on the project that I presented for nearly three years, the news felt like a reward not only for a world-renowned conference, but also for very long and hard work that closed the first chapter of my project. I was deeply honored and grateful. It also gave me the push and encouragement that I needed to follow up and start on the second chapter of my project. The award made me realize that hard work will always achieve good results and will be at the end recognized by a well-qualified scientific community.

What are you hoping to get from LOQ in the future?

Although I enjoyed all of the content presented in the LOQ sessions at the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting, I hope to see more reports on novel oxidation products. I also hope to see more involvement of physical chemistry in the field as it will allow us to better understand the underlying mechanisms involved in the appearance of specific lipid oxidation products.

What are your hobbies and how did Covid-19 change your (work)life?

I enjoy reading books in general and science fiction/mystery books in particular, philosophy books once in a while. One of my passions is learning new languages. Aside from learning Japanese, I recently started learning Korean. It helped a lot during the lockdown!

I enjoy outdoor activities, working out, meeting new people, listening to music, watching movies and cooking.

Covid-19 has taken a toll on everyone, but I think that the research/educational sector was one of the most affected areas. Thanks to virtual communication, researchers (including me!) still had a chance to communicate, for example at AOCS events. But it definitely put on hold and regressed a lot of my work, especially during the lockdown, which made me appreciate even more the chance I have now to do research .

Friday, September 24, 2021

Member Spotlight: Matthew J. Fhaner

Matt Fhaner
Dr. Matthew J. Fhaner is the chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Michigan – Flint (UM-Flint). He is an Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry and involved in teaching both lecture and laboratory classes in general chemistry and analytical chemistry focusing on quantitative and instrumental analyses. Dr. Fhaner’s research program focuses on identifying applications of electrochemical methods to the study of natural antioxidants and edible oil.

Dr. Fhaner has been a faculty member at UM-Flint for 7 years. His teaching responsibilities include general and analytical chemistry lectures and labs, including quantitative and instrumental analysis. 

He is a member of the AOCS Professional Educator Common Interest Group (PC CIG).

Why did you join AOCS and how long have you been a member?

I joined AOCS after being awarded the Edwin N. Frankel Award for Best Paper in Lipid Oxidation and Quality and being invited to the 2018 AOCS Annual Meeting. I have been a member of AOCS ever since and have continued to find ways to become involved.

How has your involvement with the AOCS influenced your career?

Being a member of AOCS has greatly expanded my professional network. I have had the privilege of meeting colleagues from industry, government labs, and academia and engaging in open conversations about diverse topics from research, to teaching, to work-life balance. By investing my time in AOCS, I have unintentionally found that I am also investing in myself.

Why did you decide to join the PE CIG?

Coming from a more traditional R1 graduate school experience in analytical chemistry there was little intersection with edible oil research and the work being done within my circle of peers. As I entered the world of academia, it was difficult for me to find peers that could act as a mentorship network for my scholarship and teaching. I was thrilled when I learned AOCS had a common interest group dedicated towards professional educators like myself and immediately decided to join and learn more.

What led you to where you are now? Talk about previous jobs, school, other life journey that led you to where you are.

My journey to where I am now feels like it just fell into place when looking back. Initially, my undergraduate studies were centered on criminal justice in order to go into forensic science. After speaking with the head of the forensic science master’s program I realized I needed to enter a natural science. With no previous experience in the subject, I picked chemistry somewhat on a whim. In my final year of undergraduate studies, I was fortunate enough to work in the research lab of Dr. Borhan. Dr. Borhan suggested I apply to the chemistry graduate program. Up until that time, I was only considering forensic science programs. I applied to the chemistry program and was accepted. In graduate school, I studied electrochemical analysis of neurotransmission. As I approached graduation, I applied for a post-doctoral research position at the United States Department of Agriculture. 

It was in my post-doctoral work where I was introduced to functional food research, specifically the analysis of omega-3 fatty acids. After leaving my post-doctoral position for my new faculty position, I needed a research area that was feasible at a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI) where laboratory work happened more sporadically than the previous institutions I worked in. I combined my electrochemical background from graduate school with the antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acids studies I performed in my post-doctoral work to create a research program focused on identifying applications of electrochemical methods to the study of natural antioxidants and edible oils.

What do you love most about your position?

The best part about being a faculty member at a (PUI) is working with students to help them reach their professional goals. Each year I get the bittersweet experience of sending one of my students off to begin the next phase of their career while welcoming in new ones. The ability to be part of their life’s journey is the most rewarding part of my job.

How do you define success?

Everyone will have a different definition of success. I believe that success is the ability to demonstrate flexibility, persistence and self-reflection in the pursuit of a goal.

Who inspires you? Or Who has been the most influential person in your career?

It would be impossible and unfair of my to pick a single person. When I was in my undergraduate studies, Dr. Borhan was the single reason that I pursued a Ph.D. in chemistry. Without him I would have never gone into a chemistry graduate program. The other two individuals are AOCS members, Hong-Sik Hwang and Jill Winkler-Moser. Hong-Sik and Jill have been invaluable mentors, collaborators and friends as I transitioned into my academic career. I firmly believe I would not have been successful without their support.

What’s one thing — either academy/industry-related or not — you learned in the last month?

In the last month (July 1, 2021), I transitioned into the role of department chair for the newly formed Department of Natural Sciences, which contains physics, biology and chemistry. The most impactful thing I have learned is how little I know!

If you could give advice to young AOCS members, what would it be?

Everyone is still learning. The fastest way to impact your own knowledge base is to get involved with your professional society and learn from those around you.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?

I played goalie on an in-line roller hockey team in high school, and I was pretty good!

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I have four children and a wonderful wife. My favorite thing to do outside of work is spending unstructured time with them where everyone can have a voice in what the family does.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

How and why to become a journal reviewer

Have you always wanted to be a peer-reviewer, but are not sure you have what it takes or you don’t know where to start? Are you a recent graduate or post-doctoral student eager to learn about peer-reviewing? Attend this midweek mixer hosted by Dr. Silvana Martini, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society (JAOCS), to learn more.

This panel-style event will consist of a short presentation explaining the review process and the important role of reviewers. Senior associate editors of JAOCS will provide advice and suggestions on how to be an outstanding reviewer. This will be an interactive event where the editor-in-chief and the senior associate editors will be available to answer any questions that you might have. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the editorial board of JAOCS and get involved in the review process.

When: Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, USA; UTC-5)

Register for free. 


Host (JAOCS Editor-in-Chief)

Silvana Martini is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences at Utah State University. Dr. Martini’s research interests are related to the physicochemical and sensorial characterization of food materials, lipids in particular. She studies how the quality of food materials is affected by their nano-, micro- and macroscopic characteristics. Dr. Martini has published more than 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals, participated in more than 180 conferences, and 11 book chapters. Dr. Martini won the Timothy L. Mounts Award (2019) and Fellow Award (2021) from AOCS. She is a member of the AOCS Governing Board. Dr. Silvana Martini obtained her B.Sc. in biochemistry (1997) and Ph.D. in chemistry (2003) from the University of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Panelists (JAOCS Senior Associate Editors)

Rick Ashby has 32 years of research experience in the areas of microbial biopolymer and biosurfactant synthesis. As a research microbiologist in the Sustainable Biofuels and Coproducts Research Unit (SBCP) at the USDA, ARS, Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC), Dr Ashby has demonstrated expertise in the fermentative biosynthesis of microbial products and in their chemical and physical characterization. He has been primarily involved in the microbial production and post-synthetic modification of polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolymers and glycolipid biosurfactants derived from inexpensive carbon feedstocks. He has spearheaded research on reducing the economics of fermentative synthesis of these products by utilizing inexpensive coproduct materials such as crude glycerol, soy molasses, lignocellulosic biomass, levulinic acid etc. In 2019, Dr. Ashby was elected an AOCS Fellow. He earned a Ph.D. (1994) in microbiology from Louisiana State University.


Tim Durrett is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Kansas State University. Dr. Durrett's current research interests revolve around manipulating lipid metabolism in seeds to improve the quantity and quality of the oil that is produced. Some of this work involves trying to better understand the role of different enzymes in controlling the flux of different types of fatty acids, as well as how carbon is allocated between oil and other seed components (e.g., protein and carbohydrates). Other projects employ synthetic biology strategies to maximize the production of unusual lipids with enhanced properties in oil seed crops. He received his Ph.D. (2006) from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Supratim Ghosh is an associate professor in the Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences of University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. His research interest is in emulsion and colloid science, including food physical chemistry, structure-function relationship, food nanotechnology and complex colloidal chemistry. His team has been working on utilizing plant proteins to create structured food emulsions, oleogels and deliver bioactives via nanoemulsions for improved health benefits and sustainability in food production. Dr. Ghosh is a regular peer reviewer of many food science journals and national and international research grants. He received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University, USA, and did postdoctoral research at the Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.


Amy Logan is a principle research scientist within Australia’s National Science Agency, CSIRO, and the Group Leader for Food Quality and Stability. Dr. Logan has many years’ experience understanding the effect of composition, processing and microstructure on the physicochemical properties of lipid and protein based food systems. She received her Ph.D. (2006) from The University of Melbourne in Australia.

Jill Moser is a research chemist and lead scientist at the USDA, ARS, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois. Dr. Moser’s research focuses on development of natural antioxidants for oxidation prevention and shelf-life improvement. Dr. Moser also conducts research on the development of technologies to replace saturated and trans fatty acids in shortenings, margarines and processed foods with healthier oils. Dr. Moser has over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and is the alternate delegate to the U.S. Codex Committee on Fats and Oils. Dr. Moser served as past chair, vice-chair, and secretary/treasurer for the LOQ Division. She received a Ph.D. (2002 ) in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

2021-2022 NOPA/AOCS Certified Laboratories

The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) advocates for an efficient global supply chain system, by providing leadership through education, information and market-based solutions to policymakers, trade negotiators and others.

The NOPA/AOCS Certified Laboratory Program, provided by AOCS Technical Services, certifies laboratories for the referee analysis of soybean meal according to NOPA trading rules. We are delighted to announce that the following laboratories have achieved this status for the 2021-2022 year:

ATC Scientific, North Little Rock, Arkansas USA
AOCS Approved Chemist: Scott Schuldt

Barrow Agee Laboratories, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee, USA
AOCS Approved Chemists: Michael Hawkins, Amanda Self

Carolina Analytical Services LLC, Bear Creek, North Carolina, USA
AOCS Approved Chemists: Jennie Stewart, Brad Beavers

Cotecna Inspection, Inc., Kenner, Louisiana, USA
AOCS Approved Chemist: Nikki Lassere

Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center, Des Moines, Iowa, USA
AOCS Approved Chemists: Ardin Backous, Kent Karsjens. Anders Thomsen, Keith Persons

Hahn Laboratories, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina, USA
AOCS Approved Chemist: Frank M. Hahn

Thionville Laboratories, LLC, Harahan, Louisiana, USA
AOCS Approved Chemists: Paul Thionville, Andre Thionville, Kristopher Williams

Whitbeck Laboratories, Inc., Springdale, Arkansas, USA
AOCS Approved Chemist: Gordon Whitbeck

Congratulations to the analysts who have achieved this status. 

Learn more about the NOPA/AOCS Certified Labs program on our website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Member Spotlight: Hongbing Fan

Hongbing Fan

Hongbing Fan earned a master’s degree in food science at China Agricultural University in 2015, working mainly on aquatic product processing and preservation. Afterward, Hongbing pursued a Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Jianping Wu in the Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science, at the University of Alberta, Canada. His current research interests include protein chemistry, functional foods and bioactive peptides.

He won the 2021 Thomas H. Smouse Memorial Fellowship.

How long have you been an AOCS member and what types of activities have you participated in?

I have been an AOCS student member since 2018. Since then, I have participated in various academic and social activities in AOCS across the Divisions, such as webinars, midweek mixers, Division meetings, etc. I have also volunteered as the chair of Student Common Interest Group (2019–2021) and as co-chairs of Protein and Co-Product (PCP)/Health & Nutrition Division (H&N) technical or poster sessions during the 2020 and 2021 AOCS Annual Meetings. I have also been involved in the AOCS Canadian Section leadership team since 2019.

What big problem is your research trying to solve?

My Ph.D. thesis project is to develop antihypertensive peptides from spent hen muscle proteins. Spent hens are the birds reaching the end of their egg-laying cycle and are the major byproduct in the egg industry. Every year, more than 400 million spent hens are produced in North America. Processing them for food/feed uses is of little economic value; they are instead mostly disposed by burial, composting, and incineration, which cause environmental and animal welfare issues. 

Food protein-derived antihypertensive peptides are an emerging treatment for hypertension, a global public health concern. Previous research demonstrated the possible presence of antihypertensive peptides in spent hen muscle proteins, including peptides targeting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and ACE2, two key enzymes regulating high blood pressure. This project aims to identify and characterize these two types of antihypertensive peptides from spent hen muscle proteins, followed by evaluating their efficacy in various cell and animal models of hypertension. 

Characterization of peptides targeting ACE2 will broaden the research of antihypertensive peptides beyond that of ACE, the conventional target of antihypertension. The valorized use of spent hens adds new values to the egg industry and may produce inexpensive functional food ingredients as alternatives to synthetic drugs for the treatment of hypertension.

Can you tell us about your new role with the AOCS H&N Division?

It has been such a pleasure to serve as the membership liaison for the H&N Division and get more interactions with Division members. As the membership liaison, I help engage members of the Division, through reviewing lapsed membership, reaching out to new members with a welcome and organizing gatherings like midweek mixers within H&N or across AOCS Divisions.

Do you have any words of wisdom or suggestions for other AOCS H&N members or students who are aspiring towards their future careers?

Work hard and play harder; work independently while collaborating with others. As I recently graduated from my Ph.D. studies, I highly encourage student members to present their research work at AOCS Annual Meetings and apply for AOCS Awards. I also encourage student members to participate and volunteer more in academic and social activities organized by our Division and AOCS. Volunteering enhances your communication skills, builds your network and provides leadership training.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Processing Division Mixer: Measurement in Science and Industry

How did a nuclear reprocessing plant lose 30 kg of plutonium and how can you use careful measurement to get the most out of an edible oil refinery? Alan Paine, Consultant, UK, will provide answers to these questions as well as insight into achieving precise measurement in science and industry. 

This presentation will be followed by a discussion about the Processing Division's needs for the upcoming 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo, May 1–4, 2022.

When: Thursday, October 7, 2021, 12 p.m. CDT (Chicago, USA; UTC-5)

Register for free.


Alan Paine
Alan Paine retired in 2020 after a long career with Desmet Ballestra and is now working as a part time consultant. His work has mainly been in the field of edible oil refining. He has been involved with sales, process engineering, project management, commissioning, trouble shooting and plant audits.  

He is an active member of AOCS, regularly posting on the Inform|Connect Open Forum, and is vice chair for the Processing Division. He is helping to organize the processing program for the 2022 Annual Meeting & Expo in Atlanta.

Away from work he enjoys, amateur theater and writing among other diversions. He has had several short stories published. In 2020, he completed the NaNoWriMo challenge by writing a short novel of 51,000 words entirely within the month of November.

He lives in Horncastle UK with his wife Jane. They have have three children and three grandchildren.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Member Spotlight: Samaneh Fard

Samaneh Fard
Dr. Samaneh Fard is a registered nutritionist advocating nutrition and actively promoting a healthy lifestyle. A R&D technologist for Nu-Mega Ingredients, her research interest involves the improvement of nutritional status in women, infants and the elderly with the aim of introducing essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA).

A typical day for me includes… 

A great many things: engaging in clinical investigation, research and development, project management, writing and proofreading reports, carrying out literature searches, data analysis, organizing seminars and workshops, developing evidence-based technical materials and content to support marketing team members, attending meetings, talking to my line colleagues daily about our work …the list goes on.

My favorite part of my job is…

I rather enjoy the research aspect and enjoy the idea of science being central to discovering new concepts/products. Nu-Mega Ingredients is an exciting organization to be involved with as the mission of the company is in line with my area of interest and that is optimizing nutritional status in adults, elderly and infants with the aim of introducing essential nutrients for overall health.

Away from work, I like to… 

Spend time with family and my friends. Every weekend I try to organize one day activity with them from a picnic to hiking to shopping. I am Iranian born and bred and really enjoying cooking and having parties.

If I could meet anyone, it would be… 

Professor JĂžrn Dyerberg, one of the pioneers behind the discovery of the health effects of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids in our foods.

When listening to the radio I listen to…

Podcasts. Every day I like to get outside and go for a walk and listen to Persian Podcasts. I love Masty & Rasty, Navcast, and Paragraph … I feel like I learn something new with each episode.

Thanks for sharing your valuable research and your life outside of work with us, Samaneh!  

Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division Mixer: LOQ and your Career

Want some helpful career insights from leaders in the lipids world, as well as a chance to win a free 2022 membership in the Lipid Oxidation and Quality (LOQ) Division? Join us for the LOQ Fall Midweek Mixer on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at 11 a.m. CDT (Chicago, USA; UTC-5).

Register for free.

Prof. Eric Decker (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Dr. Jill Moser (USDA-ARS) and Dr. Roger Nahas (Kalsec) will share the twists and turns of their careers in academe, government, and industry. What decisions made the greatest differences in their careers? How did they take advantage of external events? Would they have done anything differently, in hindsight? How did membership in LOQ influence their careers? 

Learn from these members on how they utilized Division involvement to grow their careers.


Eric Decker
Eric Decker is a professor and head of the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Dr. Decker is actively conducting research to characterize mechanisms of lipid oxidation, antioxidant protection of foods and the health implications of bioactive lipids. Dr. Decker has over 400 publications and he is listed as one of the most highly cited scientists in agriculture. Dr. Decker has served on numerous committees for institutions such as the FDA, National Academy of Science, Institute of Food Technologist, USDA and the American Heart Association. He has received numerous recognition for his research from the American Oil Chemists' Society, Agriculture and Food Chemistry Division of ACS, International Life Science Institute, and Institute of Food Technologists.

Jill Moser is a research chemist and lead scientist at the USDA, ARS, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois. She received a Ph.D. in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Moser’s research focuses on development of natural antioxidants for oxidation prevention and shelf-life improvement. Dr. Moser also conducts research on the development of technologies to replace saturated and trans fatty acids in shortenings, margarines and processed foods with healthier oils. Dr. Moser has over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and is the alternate delegate to the U.S. Codex Committee on Fats and Oils. Dr. Moser served as past chair, vice-chair, and secretary/treasurer for the LOQ Division.

Roger Nahas
Roger Nahas is the senior vice president of Global R&D at Kalsec® and has been with the company since 2007. Kalsec is the leading global producer of natural herb and spice extracts, colors, antioxidants and hop products. Before his current position, Dr. Nahas held various roles, including director of R&D and acting product management director for natural antioxidants. Dr. Nahas obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Missouri in 2007, his M.Sc. in chemistry of natural products from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute in Crete (Greece) in 2003 and B.S. in chemistry from the Lebanese University in Beirut (Lebanon) in 2001. In his current role, Dr. Nahas leads a technical team of about 80 members across the world. This diverse team has specialized degrees in multiple scientific disciplines (>25 Ph.D.s on staff) and are tasked with developing innovative solutions for the food and beverage industry.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Re-envisioning the future for the Professional Educator Common Interest Group — from surviving to thriving

What do you need to advance your career as an educator or mentor? We are seeking to improve our service to current members of the Professional Educator Common Interest Group (PE CIG) while expanding our impact to a broader section of the AOCS members. The feedback we collect from participants will be used to tailor future webinars, events, and articles or other resources hosted by the PE CIG.

Join us on Monday, October 4, 2021, at 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, USA; UTC-5) for an open discussion on what events and resources the PE CIG can create to help you in your career. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Register for free.

The mixer will be hosted by the PE CIG Leadership Team:

Nuria Acevedo
Griffith Foods, USA 

Co-Chair and Newsletter Editor
Vermont P. Dia
University of Tennessee, USA   

Toni Wang
University of Tennessee, USA

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Member Spotlight: Natalie Oswell

Natalie Oswell
Natalie Oswell is a senior scientist in the Discovery and Open Innovation group at Kalsec in Kalamazoo, MI. She recently completed a Ph.D. in food science at the University of Georgia, where she also received a bachelor’s in food science. Her Ph.D. dissertation investigated how phosphate replacers are evaluated in meat products, but she actually gained the experience she needed for her current role outside of her dissertation work. She was working in an analytical chemistry lab performing a variety of analyses measuring food composition, quantifying specific analytes, and measuring antioxidant activity of foods and various ingredients. 

Her research experience combined with exposure and mastery of various techniques as a teaching assistant in a food analysis course enabled her to build a diverse skillset that she uses regularly in her day-to-day work. 

She is fairly new to AOCS. She got involved when she started her role at Kalsec in 2020. She has since served as a session co-chair for a joint Lipid Oxidation and Quality/Analytical session at the 2021 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo and participated in a Young Professional Common Interest Group (YP CIG) mixer. She is excited to continue pursuing involvement with both AOCS and the YP CIG!

What excites you about your work?

As a member of our Discovery team at Kalsec, I have the opportunity to explore current research and novel compounds, technologies, and applications so I’m always learning and absorbing new things. One of the reasons I wanted to work at Kalsec is because of the people.We have a lot of experts that span across many disciplines and not only do I enjoy working with a lot of people I have a great amount of respect for, I also find it really inspiring to be surrounded by people who have the characteristics and skillsets I’m striving to develop in myself.

How do you hope or how has AOCS helped in solving challenges you encounter in your work and/or career?

AOCS does a really nice job with curating and disseminating educational materials. I’ve gotten a lot out of webinars and short courses they offer year-round. When I encounter issues at work where I have questions I can’t answer (especially if it has to do with fats or oils), AOCS is a go-to resource. I’m also looking forward to more networking with other young professionals and industry members at future AOCS meetings and events.  

Which year were you the national champion for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) college bowl? Could you share that experience?

I got involved with IFT College Bowl as a Sophomore in college at UGA in 2013/2014. I found participating in the team to be super intimidating. I was “practicing” (answer technical food science questions) with graduate students in front of a professor. I felt like I was taking an oral exam once a week in a group setting. I was also the youngest/least educated member of the team. 

Over the years we really found a groove together, and I transitioned from undergrad to grad school. I was on the team in some capacity, starting out as a participant, slowly taking on more responsibility, and eventually running the team over a 6-year period. In 2018, our team (of which Sarah Willett, another YP CIG and AOCS member, was also a member!) was very successful, winning the national championship at the IFT annual meeting. Hands down, College Bowl was the best extracurricular I participated in during undergrad and grad school and helped me learn a ton about food science.

Natalie Oswell (center) and team at the IFT College Bowl. Sarah Willet, fellow AOCS and YP CIG member, is third from right.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other AOCS YP CIG members?

Know your worth and ask for what you want. I think confidence comes easier to some than others, but I think ultimately speaking up, sharing our opinions and letting people know what we want is only going to benefit everyone in the long run.   

Friday, September 10, 2021

Did you know that AOCS Laboratory Proficiency Program (LPP) has a Nutritional Labeling and a Cholesterol series?

Does your laboratory offer Nutritional labeling testing services? Demonstrating your proficiency through the AOCS Laboratory Proficiency Program (LPP) provides assurance to your stakeholders, customers and regulators – and gains you the international recognition that you deserve.

Both the Nutritional Labeling and the Cholesterol series offer two samples per quarter for the entire LPP program year. Analysts in the Nutritional Labeling series test for fatty acid composition, total fat and total protein with optional tests for minerals and for Vitamins A, D and E by AOCS, AOAC or user-specified methods on sample products such as infant formula, chocolate pudding, egg powder and salad dressing. Participants in the Cholesterol series use the AOAC 994.10 Method to test for cholesterol on sample products such as egg yolk powder and powdered chicken, turkey and beef.

Deadline to enroll in the 3rd and 4th quarter for the 2021-2022 LPP year is November 20, 2021.

Analysts who participate in all 4 quarters of the series can apply to be an Approved Chemist. Approval is earned by superior performance during the previous LPP year. Labs with Approved Chemists for the 2020-2021 Nutritional Labeling and Cholesterol series include: Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center, Trouw Nutrition Canada Laboratory, and AESCL Office of the Missouri State Chemist at the University of Missouri. To learn more about the Approved Chemist Program, visit our website.

Labs with Approved Chemists are featured in the AOCS Recommended Lab Directory.

If you have questions about this program, please contact Dawn Shepard, Laboratory Proficiency Program Manager at