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