Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Welcome to AOCS members who joined in November!


AOCS would like to welcome the 28 new active members and 4 students who joined our community in November.

New active members contribute to the scientific community through a range of roles such as senior chemist, product manager, managers of research and development, and directors. They represent 7 countries — including the USA, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, China, Japan and Australia — and come from a variety of companies across industry and a university:

  • Adams Vegetable Oils Inc.
  • Baker Hughes
  • Benson Hill Holdings Inc.
  • BTSA
  • California Olive Oil Council
  • Charles Tennant & Company
  • Clean Control Corp.
  • Coamo Agroindustrial Cooperativa
  • Colgate-Palmolive China Co Ltd
  • Corbion
  • International Flavors & Fragrances
  • Kao Corp.
  • Liquiglide Inc.
  • M. Dias Branco Co.
  • MTI
  • Riverina Oils
  • SGS North America
  • Young Living Essential Oils
  • Zhejiang University of Technology

Students joined AOCS from universities both familiar and new to the society: University of Alberta, Canada; Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Australia; and University of Guelph, Canada.

If you are an AOCS member, we encourage you to view the full list of new members in the AOCS Premium Content Library and say “Hi!” on the inform|connect Open Forum or email Janet Cheney, Director of Membership, for member contact details. Registering for the Open Forum is free for non-members.

If you aren’t an AOCS member, you can join today to view the list and start connecting with new colleagues. We look forward to seeing you on the list next month!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thank you, AOCS members, who helped us grow last quarter!

The Refer-a-Friend program recognizes AOCS members who share the positive impact of AOCS and help expand our professional community. As our membership grows, every new member contributes to the diversity of backgrounds and geographical locations. The voices, experiences and expertise of new members enrich the AOCS community and add to our technical discussions.

Take the initiative to help your peers experience the many benefits and connections that you know AOCS offers. Not only will you change the course of their careers, but you will gain visibility as a leader who is growing the Society. Plus, choose to receive a $20 gift card or donate to the AOCS Foundation for every new member you recruit for 2022, up to US $100.

New for 2022 – you can win an AOCS Picnic Basket. One lucky winner will be chosen from the list of recruiters in the last quarter (October – December 2021). Next drawing is in January!

We recognize the following AOCS members who recruited new Active Members and students from July 1 – September 30, 2021. We appreciate your time and dedication to AOCS!

Recruiters of Active Members

·         Madhev Balasubramaniam

·         Phillip S. Kerr

·         Shimpei Watanabe

·         Lori E. Wicklund


Recruiters of Students

·         Bishnu Karki

·         Jiajia Rao

Thank you! 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Midweek Mixer: Ugly Sweater Party hosted by the Student CIG


Put on your ugliest sweater and join us for some holiday cheer! The AOCS Student Common Interest Group (CIG) is throwing an ugly sweater party for students to talk about how to relieve stress and play some fun games. 

Attendees will share stories of frustrations, successes and what helped them through it all. There will also be an ugly sweater competition. All participants will receive a gift with a special gift going to the winner!

Learn more about the AOCS Student CIG.

When: Thursday, December 2, 2021, 12 p.m. CST (Chicago, USA: UTC -6)

Register for free.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Welcome to AOCS members who joined in September and October!


AOCS would like to welcome the 41 new active members and 18 students who joined our community in September and October. These new members represent 11 countries, including Japan, Algeria and Spain!

Several new members joined us after attending the 2021 Plant Protein Science and Technology Forum. This online conference provided an engaging platform to gain insights from thought leaders in nutrition, edible applications, processing and manufacturing of plant-based foods. Welcome, all!

If you are an AOCS member, we encourage you to view the full list of new members in the AOCS Premium Content Library and say “Hi!” on the inform|connect Open Forum or email Janet Cheney, Director of Membership, for member contact details. Registering for the Open Forum is free for non-members.

If you aren’t an AOCS member, you can join today to view the list and start connecting with new colleagues. We look forward to seeing you on the list next month!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Midweek Mixer: Exploring new consumer demands in alternative plant proteins


As alternative protein products have grown, new products have shifted from simply vegetarian or vegan options to mimicking the experience of a meat-based diet. This has generated growth in “flexitarian” consumers. But who are these consumers and what plant-based options do they want? Join Phil Kerr, Prairie AquaTech, and Tasha Hermes, Cargill, as they explore this important question and address opportunities and challenges for product development.

The mixer will be hosted by Filip VanBockstaele, Ghent University and AOCS Edible Applications Technology Division Vice Chair, and Vermont Dia, University of Tennessee and AOCS Proteins and Co-Products Division Membership Liaison. It is free and open to everyone!

When: Thursday, December 9, 2021, 9 a.m. CST (Chicago, USA; UTC-6)

Register for free.


Tasha Hermes

Tasha Hermes is a graduate of Michigan State University where she earned her B.S and M.S. She studies food science. After completing her graduate degree, she worked in meat product development at Sara Lee/Hillshire Brands/Tyson Foods. There she did meat product development supporting retail brands. Tasha then moved to Cargill in their ingredients business where she was responsible for product and process development of plant proteins, including textured and non-textured proteins such as soy, pea and other novel botanical sources. She gained experience in plant protein processing as well as utilization of the proteins in finished product applications, including bakery, snacks, meats, meat analogs and beverages. Following plant protein development, Tasha had the opportunity to focus on utilizing plant protein ingredients to manufacture plant-based meat analogs. She now leads Cargill’s meat analog alternative protein R&D team. 


Phil KerrPhil Kerr is Chief Technology Officer of Prairie AquaTech. Prairie AquaTech discovers, develops and commercializes value-added solutions for global aquaculture. Before joining Prairie AquaTech in July 2019, Phil was Sr. Director of Grain and Food Science Research and Development of Indigo Agriculture. Phil has also served in multiple leadership roles with DuPont Agricultural Products, Solae LLC and DuPont Nutrition and Health. His experience ranges from creating new ingredients with enhanced, holistic quality attributes to the formation and management of strategic private/public relationships that enabled them and brought them to global commercial status. Phil serves as the Vice President of the Protein Highway Initiative, a network for facilitating cross-border collaboration for plant protein-based innovation and commercialization from the U.S. Midwest/Great Plains and the Canadian Prairies. He is an active member of the IFT and the AOCS, where he also serves as the Vice President of its Governing Board's Executive Committee.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Member Moments - thank you for renewing your AOCS membership!

Renewal season means news and updates from members on job transitions, graduations and retirements. 

Below are just a few highlights that members have shared with staff, but there are so many more. If you would like your new job, promotion, or any other professional highlight to be featured on the AOCS blog and inform|connect, please complete this form. We will share the news quarterly with the AOCS family!

Reed Nicholson

Reed graduated from the University of Guelph, Canada, in July and started a job at Motif FoodWorks, Massachusetts, USA, soon after. While his job title is Analytical Lab Scientist, he is in fact the resident Lipids Expert. His job will mainly consist of evaluating potential lipid technologies in plant-based foods. Nice work, Reed! 

Maria Scharfe

Maria defended her PhD in food science and technology from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, in October 2021. In November, she began a new position at Formo, Berlin, Germany, as a food scientist. Congratulations to Maria. 

Andrew Gravelle

Andrew completed his PhD in food science in May 2021 from the University Guelph. He then joined in the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis as assistant professor in July 2021. Although living in California, Andrew continues to be active with the Canadian Section of AOCS (check out the Section’s upcoming online meeting).

Hefei Zhao

Hefei completed his PhD in food science and technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in May 2021. He is now a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis. Hefei recently published a paper from his PhD work at UNL about machine learning and oil chemistry in Food Chemistry. Nice work, Hefei!

Marnie Newell

Marnie defended her PhD in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Alberta, Canada, in March 2021. She recently accepted a job with Johnson & Johnson as a medical science liaison. She will be working with their oncology team in genitourinary cancers. Congratulations, Marnie!

I apologize in advance for missing your recent news, but it is not too late! 

Submit your news here.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Midweek Mixer: Using enzyme-based soy processing to maximize recovery of high value components


Enzyme-based soy processing enables oil, protein and sugar to be recovered in a single step in separate streams. Join Prof. Lu-Kwang Ju, The University of Akron, USA, as he provides details on this new processing method and answers your questions. His presentation will be followed by a discussion about the Biotechnology (BIO) Division's activities at the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo, May 1–4, 2022. Hosted by Tom McKeon, Retired, USDA. Bring your questions and curiosity!

This mixer is sponsored by the AOCS Biotechnology Division.

When: Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 9 a.m. CST (Chicago, USA; UTC-6)

Register for free.


Description of the talk

Soybeans contain three major components: protein (ca. 40%), carbohydrate (25-30%) and oil (18-20%). To maximize value and minimize waste in soy processing, all these components should be collected and utilized. Current processing was originally designed to maximize oil extraction. It tends to make separation of protein and carbohydrate from remaining meal more difficult and reduce their value. We have been developing an enzyme-based processing method which, in a single step, enables oil, protein and sugar to be recovered in separate streams. Furthermore, oil and protein present in soybeans as individually “packaged” oil bodies (oleosomes) and protein bodies. This solvent-free, enzyme-based processing allows collection of intact oleosomes and protein bodies without alteration by heat, solvent or mechanical pressing. This new processing method can maximize the recovery of nutritional, industrial and economic value of all major soybean components.


Lu-Kwang Ju
Lu-Kwang Ju is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical, Biomolecular, and Corrosion Engineering, The University of Akron (UA), Akron, Ohio. His research involves biological processes and systems using living microorganisms and enzymes. His group currently works on (1) bioproducts from renewable resources, (2) phagotrophic algae processes for bioproducts and waste treatment and (3) biobased self-healing materials. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Dr. Ju has served as chairperson (2018-2020), vice chairperson (2016-2018), secretary/treasurer (2015-2016), and newsletter editor (2012-2015) of the AOCS BIO Division. He also served as department chair at UA in 2005-2013 and 2020-2021 (interim). He earned a Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Buffalo (SUNY) and a B.S. from National Taiwan University, all in chemical engineering.


Tom McKeon
Tom McKeon joined the USDA Agricultural Research Service in 1981 as a research chemist in the Postharvest Physiology and Chemistry Research Unit. Initially, his research involved fruit development and plant senescence. 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. He retired in 2019. When McKeon started the research project on castor oil biosynthesis, he joined AOCS and the BIO Division. He has been involved in the BIO Division and AOCS activities since 1997.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

AOCS remembers Frank D. Gunstone

Frank D. Gunstone

We are sorry to announce the passing of Frank D. Gunstone. He was a prominent AOCS member, author, scientist and mentor.  

The Lipid Handbook, which Professor Gunstone authored with fellow AOCS members John Harwood and Albert Dijkstra, set the industry standard for those working in lipid science and technology.

To learn more about the impact Professor Gunstone had on those around him and the field of lipid science, read this open-access dedication written by Marcel S. F. Lie Ken Jie in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.

INFORM magazine will remember Professor Gunstone in a future issue. If you have a memory or photo of Professor Gunstone you would like to share, please email Kathy Heine, Managing Editor, at kheine@aocs.org.

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

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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.

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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.

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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 www.meadowfoam.com.

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.