Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Thank you, AOCS members, who helped us grow during the second quarter of 2022!

We recognize the following AOCS members who recruited new Active (individual) Members and Students Members during April, May, and June of 2022. We appreciate your time and dedication to our community!

AOCS picnic basket

The AOCS Refer-a-Friend program rewards AOCS members with a US $20 gift card for every member they recruit. Members can also choose to donate the reward to the AOCS Foundation. Also, for each new referral, members are entered to win a deluxe AOCS picnic basket.

Recruiters of Active Members

  • William L. Boatright
  • Thomas Burns
  • Drake Cornell
  • Fabiola Dionisi
  • Ryan Drazenovic
  • Leon Pablo Espinosa
  • Keith Genco
  • Jocelyn Goodwin
  • William Blake Hendrix
  • Julia Khandurina
  • Peggy Lai
  • Ling Li
  • Chris Lirette
  • Serpil Metin
  • Jason Rivest
  • Jose Trujillo
  • Gopalan Venkatesh

Recruiters of Student Members

  • Ana Forgiarini
  • Kacie Ho
  • Bishnu Karki
  • Kangming Ma
  • Solmaz Tabtabaei
  • Julia Seilert
  • Roberta Claro Silva (2 new student members)

Friday, July 1, 2022

AOCS Corporate Member Spotlight: Kumar Metal Industries Pvt. Ltd.

Kumar Metal Industries Pvt. Ltd.

Kumar Metal Industries Pvt. Ltd, an AOCS Bronze Corporate Member, provides process engineering solutions to the oils and fats industry across the globe.

In this spotlight, Biju George Palayil, CEO, discusses the launch of their OM Innovation Centre at their Mumbai headquarters as well as the biggest challenges he sees ahead for this year.

What type of products or services does your company provide?

Kumar is an EPCC (engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning) company. We undertake turnkey projects and supply equipment and machinery to the oils and fats industry and its allied sectors. Our specialties include:

  • edible or non-edible vegetable oil extraction
  • pre-treatment with edible or inedible vegetable oils or fats
  • edible or non-edible vegetable oil or fat refining
  • modification of oils and fats
  • value-added or specialty products
  • biodiesel
  • oleo chemicals
  • value addition from by-products or waste product recovery

We supply batch, semi-continuous and continuous plants, manually operated or fully automated with PLC/DCS controlled with remote monitoring for any capacity for commercial or pilot facilities, including storage, utilities, and packaging for finished products.

Through our technology associations, we offer:

  • Crown Technologies for preparatory, solvent extraction, and refining processes
  • Arisdyne CFC (controlled flow cavitation) technology for oil refining and biodiesel processes
  • CPM Feed Mills for cattle, poultry, and aqua feed
  • Anderson International USA designed Dox Extruders and Solvex Expanders

What differentiates your company from other companies in the same space?

Every customer wants a technology partner who can solve their manufacturing challenges through realistic solutions, not theoretical wishful thinking. At our core, we are problem solvers. Customers ask us to solve their processing challenges because they can rely on us to offer the best solution for their context. Everyone — from our chairman to workers on the shop floor — strives to always solve problems for our customers.

The Kumar guarantee includes:

  • oilseed processing plants and machinery that are robustly engineered, versatile, and operationally profitable
  • custom solutions that are designed to solve customer challenges
  • consistent customer experience with in-time support responses. Our support teams are available 24/7/365.
  • Our sales, technical, and support teams use their industry knowledge to recommend the best solution from our portfolio
  • a seamless, uncomplicated purchasing, after-sales, and support process
Kumar Metal Industries Pvt. Ltd. factory
Kumar Metal Industries Pvt. Ltd. factory.

What are some recent innovations your company is most proud of?

We have made a significant investment in our future with the launch of the OM Innovation Centre at our Mumbai HQ. This technology insight, advancement, and collaboration hub catapults us into the global technology innovator space. Our team of engineers focuses on emerging technologies and tests various hypotheses, ensuring our customers achieve oil and meal quality exceeding their expectations. The Innovation Centre also includes a fully functional and highly instrumented pilot plant with preparation, extraction, and refining equipment, allowing customers to simulate plant-processing operations to scale within a controlled environment.

We've also made significant investments to help our customers transition from waste to profit by providing value-added solutions and technologies like biodiesels, oleo chemicals, and feed.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges for your company next year?

We stay ahead of the innovation curve so our customers can leverage cost efficiencies that retain maximum edible protein and simultaneously protect human health. Unpredictable issues such as COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, which cause significant disruption in the supply chain of volatile input materials, are the next challenge to be addressed in the coming years.

Why is corporate membership important to your organization?

To get access to the latest industry news and information, to gain networking opportunities with other members and industry mates, to connect with current and potential customers, and to take advantage of special discounts and offers.

Learn more about AOCS Corporate Membership.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Nominations and applications are open for 2023 AOCS Awards!

AOCS Awards celebrate the individuals that make outstanding contributions to science, technology, industry, our Society and the world.

Your nominations and applications bring a spotlight on exciting research and remarkable innovation and recognize leadership and service at all levels. With your support, the AOCS Awards Program can continue to contribute to our supportive community and celebrate the diversity and breadth of interests in the AOCS family.

How to nominate

  1. Read the full award descriptions and eligibility requirements on the AOCS Awards page.
  2. Log in to the AOCS Awards Submission Portal using your AOCS credentials to submit a nomination or application. Need help logging in? Contact Karen Kesler at karen.kesler@aocs.org or +1 217-693-4813.
  3. Email Lucas Censi at awards@aocs.org if you have any questions.

Deadlines for nominations and applications

Need help?

Download the AOCS Awards Submission Portal Guide (.pdf) for a step-by-step guide that walks you through the application process.

Watch a “Nominator Information Session” recording to see live demos and tutorials of the Awards Portal, including how to create your profile, upload materials and complete your application.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Thank you, AOCS members, who helped us grow during March 2022!

We recognize the following AOCS members who recruited new Active (individual) Members and Students Members during March 2022. We appreciate your time and dedication to our community! AOCS members can view the list of new members in the AOCS Premium Content Library.

Many of these new members will be attending the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo on May 1–4 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and online. We look forward to welcoming all of our new members in Atlanta for engaging technical sessions and fun networking events!

AOCS picnic basket

The AOCS Refer-a-Friend program rewards AOCS members with a US $20 gift card for every member they recruit. Members can also choose to donate the reward to the AOCS Foundation. Also, for each new referral, members are entered to win a deluxe AOCS picnic basket.

Congratulations to Fernanda Dias for winning the picnic basket for the first quarter! You can read a short interview with her about why she's a member and encouraged a student to join AOCS.

Recruiters of Active Members

  • Mark Bollinger
  • Juliana Caixeta Guimaraes
  • Pete C. Cartwright
  • Gina M Clapper, MS
  • Stephen B. Del Cardayre
  • Fabiola Dionisi
  • Ian Duncan
  • Leon Pablo Espinosa (4 members)
  • Dr. Lei Fang (2 members)
  • Douglas G. Hayes
  • Blake Hendrix (4 members)
  • Andrew J. Kaziska
  • Zachary Martin
  • Mr. Jose Vicente Pinzon Robayo (2 members)
  • Steven J. Robbins
  • Kathleen Stanton
  • Gabriella Wright-Nagel
  • Xuebing Xu

Recruiters of Student Members

  • Douglas M. Bibus
  • Fernanda Dias
  • Lisa Stephanie Dizon
  • Zheng Guo
  • David F. Hildebrand
  • Charlotte M. Jacobsen
  • Randy Maglinao
  • Melissa Perez
  • Prasanth Kumar Punathil Kannan
  • Ariana Saffold
  • Abigail Sommer
  • Filip Van Bockstaele
  • Robert E. Ward
  • Haizhou Wu

Monday, April 25, 2022

Congratulations to Fernanda Dias for winning the Member Refer-a-Friend drawing!

The AOCS Refer-a-Friend rewards program rewards AOCS members with a US $20 gift card for every member they recruit. For each new referral, AOCS members are entered to win a deluxe AOCS picnic basket.

Congratulations to Fernanda Dias for winning the the picnic basket for the first quarter of 2022! In the interview below, Fernanda shared how AOCS has helped her in her career and why she decided to encourage Jasmin, a second-year graduate student, to join AOCS.

Fernanda Dias

Why did you think AOCS would be a good fit for your colleague?

AOCS is a great opportunity for Jasmin, a second-year graduate student, to connect with researchers and innovators from industry, academia, and government laboratories around the world. Since collaboration is a critical aspect of research, AOCS provides an invaluable opportunity to foster lifetime academic connections.

What have you gained from being a member of AOCS?

AOCS helps me to disseminate my research on lipids and proteins chemistry and helps me to keep up with current research on fats, lipids, proteins, and related materials. Moreover, this society helps me to interact and/or strengthen my relationship with brilliant professionals through meetings, specialized interest groups, and other networking opportunities.

How is AOCS different from other scientific societies?

AOCS is a unique society that helps its members to build a strong scientific community with the top minds and leaders from each field.

Thank you, Fernanda, for your support of AOCS. If you are an AOCS member, you can view the list of new members for March 2022 in the AOCS Premium Content Library. Don't forget to say "hi!"

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Member spotlight: Rinat Ran-Ressler

Rinat Ran-Ressler is a principal scientist on the Science and Technology Team at Nestlé Product Technology Center, Nestle Health Sciences, in Bridgewater, NJ, USA.

Dr. Ran-Ressler is a registered dietician with clinical experience and a Ph.D. in human nutrition from Cornell University. She pursued her Ph.D. at Dr. Tom Brenna’s lab, studying the role of branched chain fatty acids—rare fatty acids that were considered metabolically inert—in gut development. She  joined Nestlé Health Science as a senior scientist before moving into her current role.

Describe your research and/or explain what big challenge or problem your work is trying to solve.

I have several roles within Nestlé Health Science. With respect to lipids and oils, I am a member of an Expert Network within Nestlé. Our goal is to drive innovation and focus applications of our lipid discoveries across Nestlé’s business categories. Quality, feasibility, nutritional merit, and sustainability are high priority considerations, which guide us when we choose our oils.

How has AOCS helped you in the past in solving challenges in your work/research?

One of the advantages of AOCS is that it serves as an applicable knowledge platform across a broad spectrum of topics within the arena of lipids and oils. It is a platform that enables us to collaborate, connect, learn from each other, and share experiences. AOCS combines industry and academia to foster discoveries that empower and enhance the important and exciting role of lipids and oils in health and nutrition.

Member spotlight: Ignacio Vieitez

Ignacio Vieitez is a full research professor in the Department of Science and Food Technology, School of Chemistry, at Universdad de la República (UdelaR) in Montevideo, Uruguay. Prof. Vieitez received a Ph.D. in chemistry from UdelaR. He currently develops new green extraction processes based on the use of compressed fluids to isolate bioactive compounds from natural sources such as agricultural by-products and plants. He has been an AOCS member since 2011 and participates in several academic and social activities across different AOCS Divisions.

He is the session chair for the following sessions at the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo:

“It is a pleasure to be involved in different activities with AOCS and to interact with the members,” he says. “Therefore, I strongly recommend being able to participate in the AOCS 2022 meeting.”

Prof. Vieitez, please describe your research and/or explain what big challenge or problem your work is trying to solve.

Obtaining natural bioactive extracts from natural sources is not an easy task since the extraction and purification processes must be developed. Our group develops new environmentally clean processes, working at mild conditions to avoid degradation of the bioactive compounds to study, for instance: the inhibitory effects of Cannabis flower extracts, obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) with and without modifier, on various human tumor cells and non-tumor cells, or obtaining new antioxidant extracts using natural raw materials. One of the main challenges deals with the discovery of new natural sources. We have been working in the reutilization and optimization extraction procedures, for instance, the olive oil by-products.

In this regard, compressed fluids technologies offer great versatility and efficiency for extracting bioactive compounds, as the properties of the solvents used can be modified through changes in extraction pressure or temperature, thus modifying their selectivity towards the compounds of interest. For instance, extraction of natural products with supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) has gained increasing attention from the food industries because conventional methods involve solvents that are inflammable and/or toxic and high temperatures that could degrade products of interest and produce impurities while CO2 is considered a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) substance and the technology involved uses moderated conditions.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I like my job at UdelaR as a researcher for various reasons, mainly the opportunity to participate in different projects with the associated challenges and also the opportunity that this offers to meet new researchers from which you always learn. 

There is no typical day in the life of an academic, but something like this contains most of the activities one would do regularly: arrive at work early in the morning, answer emails from students, look for research material online, try to write my new article, or activities like papers to review, classes to teach or classes to prep for, students to meet with. However, I feel that academic freedom and a flexible schedule is part of my life. I still love the teaching itself and research with students and colleagues around the world. I think I have been able to do interesting, innovative research and develop worldwide connections.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Member spotlight: Tom McKeon

Tom McKeon

Tom McKeon is the current AOCS Biotechnology (BIO) Division Member Liaison. He has retired after 38 years of service with the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) in Albany, CA.

What was your role at the USDA ARS?

I started at the USDA after post-doctoral research with Paul Stumpf on fatty acid desaturation and a brief stint as a visiting scientist with Shang-Fa Yang on ethylene in plant development. My initial research with ARS was related to post-harvest biochemistry but I took over the lipids project when Glenn Fuller (longtime AOCS member) retired. From then, I worked with my colleagues on oil biosynthesis in castor seed and approaches to eliminate ricin as a byproduct of castor oil production.

What excited you about your work?

I enjoyed the fact that our research was relevant to some national priorities, and as my career came to an end, I was involved in a multi-agency task force dealing with issues related to the castor plant and ricin.

How long have you been an AOCS member, and what is your role for the BIO Division?

I've been a member of AOCS for 25 years and my current role is Member Liaison for the BIO Division. This is a new role developed by AOCS with a goal of keeping Division members involved. As an example, I set up Midweek Mixers to interact with Division members. I look forward to seeing BIO members at the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in May.

How has AOCS helped during your career?

Tom McKeon in the lab.
Tom preparing castor seeds for analysis, several years ahead of the current pandemic mask wearing.

The AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo provides a forum to present research and interact with colleagues. This activity has given me the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers and to speak at international conferences where I have met other researchers and developed collaborative programs. Moreover, I don't think I left an annual meeting without hearing at least a couple of presentations that had promising research approaches or applications that could be of value to our research either through collaboration or discussion with the presenter.

What do you like to do outside of work/AOCS?

Now that I am retired, a typical day is sleeping late, getting out for a long walk or working in the garden and keeping up with family and friends. I retired with a goal of traveling, though the pandemic made short work of that for a while. In the meantime, I've expanded my vegetable garden from about 30 square feet to 300 square feet and keep it going in the winter.

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

I've only touched on the value of being an AOCS and BIO member. AOCS journals for research publications, books, the Lipid Library are features of AOCS available to members. But if I could pick out one feature, it's networking with colleagues who are working in related and unrelated areas.

Member spotlight: Hualu Zhou

Hualu Zhou
Hualu Zhou is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass). She has authored and co-authored 26 research articles in peer-reviewed journals with a citation of 285. She has also received honors and awards from international food institutions, including the AOCS and Institute of Food Technologist. At UMass, she has worked as a teaching fellow in College of Natural Science. She served as the chair of UMass Life Sciences Graduate Research Council from 2019 to 2020.

How did you get involved with AOCS and PCP?

I joined AOCS in April 2018, after my lab mates introduced me to the organization. I joined the Protein and Co-Products (PCP) Division in 2020 when I started to do more work about plant-based protein and foods. From 2019 to 2021, I served on the leadership team of the AOCS Student Common Interest Group and helped host several webinars during the pandemic.

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

It helps me build connections with my peers. It gives me many chances to present and share my research.

What excites you the most about your present work?

Discovering potential protein functionality for the development of animal food analogues. I feel excited I can develop more sustainable and healthier foods.

Have you presented in the AOCS annual meeting before? Share your experience?

I gave four oral presentations in the past two years at the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. The first three of them were scholarship talks, and I also represented my advisor for the fourth talk in the PCP Division track. I strive to be well-prepared for the presentation and take the chance to communicate with the audience.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Member spotlight: Rotimi Aluko

Rotimi E. Aluko

Rotimi Aluko is a professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in bioactive peptides at the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, where he also serves as director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals.

He has over 20 years of work experience as an independent investigator with a focus on the structure-function properties of bioactive food proteins and peptides. In addition to over 257 peer-review journal article publications, he holds two patents on bioactive peptides, one of which was licensed to a Canadian nutraceutical company for the purpose of commercialization.

He is the recipient of the 2022 Protein and Co-Products (PCP) Division Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of protein and co-products through research and applications.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The first thing is to go through emails and respond to urgent messages. Then, I take care of administrative tasks in my position as director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals. This is followed by a review of data and manuscripts sent to me by my students. In between all these tasks, I will take part in various meetings that could last 30 minutes to 2 hours. Finally, before I leave the office, I take a quick look and attend to some of my tasks as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Food Biochemistry.

What excites you the most about your present work?

The potential to discover new scientific information that could be useful in advancing our knowledge and understanding of food science and nutrition.

Share a turning point or defining moment of your career as a scientist.

Definitely, my decision to take up appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. I had always wanted to explore various aspects of food chemistry and becoming an independent investigator afforded me this great opportunity.

Share an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of and Why?

In June 2021, I was awarded the prestigious Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Bioactive peptides. The award speaks to the national and international recognition of my research program.

What are your thoughts on winning the PCP Division Lifetime Achievement Award?

I feel humbled and appreciative of this great honor to be recognized as having made significant contributions to the science and knowledge of food proteins. As a scientist, there is nothing more rewarding than to be recognized as playing a major role in knowledge creation. Therefore, I thank the award committee and AOCS for conferring this important recognition on me. 

I am also grateful to have been blessed with a long list of excellent staff and students who actually performed all the nitty gritty aspects of research. In my opinion, this is a team effort, so I share this award with all research personnel who have passed through my lab over the past 25 years of my work as an independent researcher. With the excellence of the current crop of new and upcoming scientists, the future of protein research looks extremely bright, so I look forward to working with everyone to ensure that the PCP Division continues to excel in all its activities.

Why did you join AOCS? How has AOCS impacted your career?

I joined AOCS because in 1998, my research work focused on the structure and function of proteins from canola, a well-known oilseed. Therefore, I knew that AOCS was the best place to promote my research work, form the required professional network, and receive expert feedback from colleagues in such a manner that will greatly benefit my career as an independent researcher.

How do you relax after a hard day of work?

I watch sports on TV (mostly soccer, basketball, and football).

How do you involve your students in your research?

I give my students a wide latitude to design their experimental methods, and they are free to suggest innovative approaches (separate from mine) to answer research objectives.

What advice can you offer to AOCS student members?

Always be ready to learn from your failures. I always tell my students that research is different from pure analytical chemistry, so some experiments will fail. However, when you learn from such failures, you are bound to excel because you start to acquire and accumulate new research experiences that could lead to the discovery of new scientific information.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Spotlight on winners of the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Award for Best Paper in Protein and Co-Products

The Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Award for Best Paper in Protein and Co-Products recognizes outstanding papers that report original research in the categories of chemistry/nutrition and engineering/technology of protein and co-products. One paper is selected from each category. The award is presented by the Protein and Co-Products Division and sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

Congratulations to this year's award winners!

Chemistry/Nutrition Category

Keshun Liu, Susan Seegers, Wenming Cao, Janitha Wanasundara, Juxing Chen, Alessandro Esteves da Silva, Kristopher Ross, Alexandra Lozano Franco, Theo Vrijenhoek, Pankaj Bhowmik, Yonghui Li, Xin Wu and Scott Bloomer for the paper "An International Collaborative Study on Trypsin Inhibitor Assay for Legumes, Cereals, and Related Products."

Read the paper in the Journal of the American Oil Chemist's Society (JAOCS). 

The work published in this paper was part of an effort that resulted in a new AOCS Method, AOCS Official Method Ba 12a-2020. AOCS member and Fellow Keshun Liu led the effort. Here is what he has to say about winning the award:

"I felt surprised and greatly honored. The work was an international collaborative study, involving participation from over a dozen scientists around the world. It was also directed and supported by Dr. Scott Bloomer, the Director of AOCS Technical Services, and his team. At the time of initiating the study, the COVID pandemic was just starting. It was fortunate that the project was completed on time, with great support from all participants. Therefore, this award is an honor not only to me but also to all the participants of the study. Without their participation and support, this would not have been possible. Furthermore, the best paper dealt with an improved method for trypsin inhibitor activity in plant protein products, which was later approved as the AOCS Official Method Ba 12a-2020. It is one of six papers I published in JAOCS in the past 3 years on quality parameters of soybeans and related products. Hopefully, the work timely meets an industrial need for better quality control of plant proteins."

Engineering/Technology Category

Xiaoying Mao, Dandan Wang, Lingge Sun, Jian Zhang and Qingzhi Wu for the paper "Effect of Peroxyl-Radicals-Induced Oxidative Modification in the Physicochemical and Emulsifying Properties of Walnut Protein."

Read the paper in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society (JAOCS).

Monday, April 4, 2022

Member spotlight: Zihan Wang

Zihan Wang

Zihan Wang is a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Jianping Wu in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta, Canada. She earned her bachelor's degrees in food science and technology from Northwest A&F University (China) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA) in 2019.

Zihan won first place in session one of the Student ePitch Competition during the 2022 Canadian Lipids and Proteins Conference. Her presentation was titled "Peptides with ACE inhibitory activity is a not common feature of ACE2 activating peptides."

Can you tell us a bit of your research and what problems your work aims to solve?

I am currently working on antihypertensive peptides. Antihypertensive peptides have been widely identified and studied from various sources of proteins. Although the vast majority of antihypertensive peptides are characterized as ACE-inhibitory peptides, other mechanisms including ACE2 upregulation have recently demonstrated great potential for hypertension treatment. My project aims to expand the research of antihypertensive peptides from ACE-inhibitory peptides to ACE2-upregulatory peptides.

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

I joined AOCS this year and therefore I am a new AOCS student member. This was my first time presenting my research work at AOCS. I am sure I will participate in more AOCS events in the near future.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Typically, I check my mailbox and reply to important emails in the mornings, before heading to my office and start my paper or lab work. After lunch, I usually take a rest for a while, and continue my work in the afternoons. I usually process experimental data before leaving my office and discuss the results with my supervisor if necessary before moving to the next step.

You have won the 2022 Canadian Lipids and Proteins Conference Student ePitch Competition. Can you share with us your feelings or any words of wisdom?

I felt really excited when I knew that I won this competition. It was great practice for me! Winning this award makes me feel more confident in my research and it further encourages me to communicate my research to the peers and the public in the future.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Member spotlight: Thilini Dissanayake

Thilini Dissanayake
Thilini Dissanayake completed a B.Sc. in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and an M.Sc. in the Food Proteins and Bioproducts Research Group at the University of Manitoba. She is currently a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Nandika Bandara (who also supervised her M.Sc).

Thilini won first place in session two of the Student ePitch Competition during the 2022 Canadian Lipids and Proteins Conference. Her presentation was titled "Oleic acid-modified nanocrystalline cellulose for improving tensile properties of canola protein-based packaging films."

Can you tell us a bit of your research and what problems your work aims to solve?

As a first-year Ph.D. student, I am in the initial stage of my research that aims to develop protein and lipid-based nanodelivery systems for improving the bioavailability of bioactive compounds. This is a very interesting area; however, there is a long way to go to the final target starting with novel protein extraction techniques and lots of fabrication and optimization processes. I am looking forward to significantly contributing to this research area by improving the poor bioavailability of bioactive compounds.

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 2019. I planned to participate in the 2020 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in person but it was then held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, 2021 was the year when I started to actively engage with AOCS. Currently, I am serving as a co-vice chair of the AOCS Student Common Interest Group, and it enhanced my leadership, communication and personal skills. Thanks AOCS! 

This year I started to work in the Protein and Co-Products Division as a student volunteer. Joining AOCS was one of the best decisions in my academic life as it helped me to expand my professional network and share my research work with the scientific community in several ways. Also, I enjoy AOCS midweek mixers and webinars a lot! I believe this is a good start and I will have a long journey with AOCS.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Morning tea is a must in my daily routine and there is no “breakfast” in my day (bad habit!). In the mornings of week days, I go to the lab and start lab work; depending on the length of the experiment, my stay in the lab changes from hours to sometimes late-night. If I don’t have any lab experiments, I spend my time in the grad carrel. Regardless of the schedules, during the day and between experiments, we always have chats, birthday celebrations and some fun stuff! I may also spend some time on some extra-curricular activities in the daytime. 

Here, I want to thank my supervisor, Dr. Nandika Bandara, as he is flexible with the working hours. He always encourages us to engage in extra-curricular activities, which help us to develop our professional and personal lives.

You have won the 2022 Canadian Lipids and Proteins Conference Student ePitch Competition. Can you share with us your feelings or any words of wisdom?

First thing, I am super happy about that! I would like to take this opportunity to thank the AOCS Canadian Section and AOCS for organizing these competitions. I believe that it is not only about winning, it also develops our personality and self-confidence as students. Also, it is a good opportunity for us to share our research work with others and get feedback from judges and the audience. I think this is how we develop step by step as students for our future. 

Again, I want to thank my supervisor, Dr. Nandika Bandara, for his great supervision and especially for encouraging us to participate in these kinds of activities. His motivation always helps us to think “we also can do this” and grad studies is not only about being in the lab.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Spotlight on Bungo Shirouchi, recipient of the 2022 Phospholipid Division Best Paper Award

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Bungo Shirouchi is the recipient of the 2022 Phospholipid Division Best Paper Award. This award recognizes an outstanding published paper or monograph in the area of phospholipids. The International Lecithin & Phospholipid Society (ILPS) sponsors the award.

Dr. Shirouchi and co-authors published their award-winning paper titled "Dietary lysophospholipids reduce lymphatic cholesterol transport compared with dietary phospholipids in thoracic lymph-duct cannulated rats" published in the Lipids.

About Bungo Shirouchi

Dr. Shirouchi is currently an associate professor at the Department of Nutrition Science at University of Nagasaki. He received his Ph.D. in agriculture from Kagoshima University in 2009. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition (2009–2010) and an assistant professor at Kyushu University (2010–2020), he joined University of Nagasaki. He specializes in lipid nutrition, with a special emphasis on using the thoracic lymph duct cannulation technique to evaluate the intestinal absorption of lipid-soluble substances. Dr. Shirouchi has received the 2009 AOCS Phospholipid Division Best Paper Award and the Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science Award for Young Investigators (2019).

Can you tell us about your current research?

The aim of our research is to clarify how dietary factors (food environments) contribute to the prevention and alleviation of non-communicable diseases

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

I received this news and then shared it with my co-authors. We are very happy and honored. This award from AOCS is the best way to spread our achievement in phospholipids as one of the bioactive lipids

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

AOCS is known as a high-end international scientific and technical organization and provides the opportunity to share our research, especially bioactive lipids, and to connect with many professionals. AOCS and this award help to develop our research career. We really appreciate your support.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Spotlight on Nikolai Kocherginsky, recipient of the 2022 American Cleaning Institute (ACI) Distinguished Paper Award

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Nikolai Kocherginsky is the recipient of the 2022 American Cleaning Institute (ACI) Distinguished Paper Award. This award recognizes an outstanding paper published in the area of surfactants and detergents. The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) sponsors the award.

Dr. Kocherginsky is the lead author on "Interactions of Surfactants with Biomimetic Membranes. 1. Ionic Surfactants" published in the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents.

About Nikolai Kocherginsky

Dr. Kocherginsky graduated from Moscow State University and worked at several institutes in the former USSR, including N. N. Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics and the Soviet/Russian Academy of Sciences. He was a visiting scholar at Dartmouth Medical School, a G. A. Miller visiting scholar and visiting associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, and Lady Davis Visiting Professor at Technion, Israel. He also taught at the National University of Singapore and Naresuan University, Thailand. He has 17 patents and patent applications, including in the USA, Singapore, and Europe. He published a monograph, several chapters in other books, and over 150 journal and conference publications in different areas of physical chemistry, membrane science, and technology

Can you tell us about your current research?

I am now with the company Next-ChemX developing membrane-based oil/biodiesel washing processes.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

I was surprised and glad.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

Through AOCS I have discovered a lot of useful information and met good people.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Spotlight on Lu-Kwang Ju, recipient of the 2022 Biotechnology Division Ching Hou Biotechnology Award

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Lu-Kwang Ju is the recipient of the 2022 Biotechnology Division Ching Hou Biotechnology Award. This award recognizes a scientist, technologist or leader who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the Division’s area of interest.

Dr. Ju will co-chair the session "Biocatalysis — Enzyme Processing" in the Biotechnology technical program with Dr. Jun Ogawa at the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo.

About Lu-Kwang Ju

Lu-Kwang Ju

Dr. Ju is the Distinguished Professor of Chemical, Biomolecular, and Corrosion Engineering at The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, where he served as department chair for 9 years. Dr. Ju is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He holds a B.S. from National Taiwan University and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, all in chemical engineering. 

Dr. Ju has been an AOCS member since 2006 and has served in multiple volunteer roles, including session chair; award committee member; Biotechnology Division newsletter editor, secretary/treasurer, vice chair, and chair; and an AOCS liaison for the 2022 JOCS-AOCS Joint Meeting. 

His research interests include developing and studying biological processes and systems that use microorganisms and enzymes to make bioproducts and/or improve sustainability and environmental friendliness. His group currently works on (1) enzyme-based soy processing, (2) phagotrophic algae platform for waste treatment and conversion to algal lipid, (3) biosurfactant production and application, and (4) biobased self-healing materials.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Spotlight on Rotimi E. Aluko, recipient of the 2022 Protein and Co-Products Division Lifetime Achievement Award

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Rotimi E. Aluko is the recipient of the 2022 Protein and Co-Products Division Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of protein and co-products through research and applications. The award is presented every other year.

About Rotimi E. Aluko

Rotimi E. Aluko

Dr. Rotimi Aluko is a professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in bioactive peptides at the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, where he also serves as director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals. He obtained a Ph.D. in food science in 1996 followed by postdoctoral fellow work from 1996-1998, both at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. 

Dr. Aluko has over 20 years of work experience as an independent investigator with a  focus on the structure-function properties of bioactive food proteins and peptides. In addition to over 257 peer-review journal article publications, he holds two patents on bioactive peptides, one of which was licensed to a Canadian nutraceutical company for the purpose of commercialization. The American Chemical Society has featured novel scientific discoveries from his lab twice as global press releases. According to Clarivate Analytics, Dr. Aluko is a “Highly Cited Researcher” in the Agricultural Sciences category, which is recognition given to researchers with peer-reviewed journal citations in the top 1% in the world. 

Dr. Aluko has trained over 80 people (undergrads, postgraduates, postdocs, technicians) in various areas of food chemistry and human nutrition. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST), the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and AOCS (2018). Dr. Aluko currently serves as the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Food Biochemistry and an associate editor for Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research.

Can you tell us about your current research?

My current research activities focus on two aspects. First is the use of heat and enzyme treatments coupled with membrane ultrafiltration to isolate protein aggregates that differ in size and then determine their functional properties, which can be correlated with protein size. This type of work seeks to develop new protein ingredients for formulation of novel food products. Second involves the use of proteases to produce novel bioactive peptides that modulate various physiological functions such as the cardiovascular system, neurological system and digestive system. The digested proteins are first examined in vitro for enzyme inhibition properties followed by purification and amino acid sequencing of identified active peptides. Active protein hydrolysates and peptides are then tested for efficacy against chronic human diseases using appropriate animal disease models and human intervention trials. Based on the amino acid type and sequence, statistical modelling is then used to reveal positional arrangement that optimize inhibition of enzymes implicated in chronic diseases and/or physiological dysfunctions. The overall aim is to restore homeostasis using the protein hydrolysates and peptide sequences.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

I was pleasantly surprised and humbled but at the same time very happy. This is because the award represents a strong recognition of my professional work by my peers.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

AOCS has been instrumental in all aspects of my professional life starting from my first job as an independent junior researcher and up till now as one of the established leaders in the field of food proteins and oilseed chemistry. I started attending AOCS conferences in 2005 and up till today have not missed any except the 2006 meeting. 

In addition to the immense networking opportunities provided by AOCS as a professional organization, my research works have benefited greatly from attending several of the technical sessions across various Divisions. I have also had the opportunity to serve in leadership positions, which culminated in my role as a Division Chair. The experience has strengthened my professional recognition and influence within the global food science community. 

I have also ensured that my students participate in the AOCS annual meetings through poster and oral presentations, which have led to several awards as well as recognition that helped carry my research program as one of the strongest globally.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Spotlight on Padma Prabodh Varanasi, recipient of the 2022 Samuel Rosen Memorial Award

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Padma Prabodh Varanasi is the recipient of the 2022 Samuel Rosen Memorial Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made a significant advancement, cumulative advancements or application of surfactant chemistry principles. The award commemorates more than 40 years of Samuel Rosen’s work as an industrial chemist on the formulation of printing inks. Milton J. Rosen initiated and sponsored the award.

About Padma Prabodh Varanasi

Padma Prabodh Varanasi

After receiving a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, Dr. Varanasi began his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the State University of New York-Buffalo. It was there that he was first exposed to the field of surfactants and interfacial phenomena. Soon after graduating, he joined the corporate research labs of S.C. Johnson & Son (SCJ). 

At SCJ, he worked extensively in the areas of interfacial phenomena and transport phenomena. His research produced several innovative technologies that have since played a critical role in the development of new products across different business sectors, including home care, air care and insect control. His work was recognized by SCJ through 14 worldwide R&D technical merit awards over a span of 20 years. He left SCJ in 2008 as a research fellow — a prestigious role only held by three others in the company’s history until then. 

He joined SPX as R&D director in its power transformer business where he focused on the development of innovative insulation materials for power transformers. Dr. Varanasi joined BASF in 2011 to lead its home care and I&I technical group. In 2014, he became the head of development for both home and personal care groups. Currently, he is in charge of its industrial formulators' technical group. 

His research work over the course of his career has led to around a total of 100 patents and publications. He also mentored several researchers who later went on to excel in other industrial roles and academia.

Can you tell us about your current research?

My current research is focused on finding novel applications for BASF's surfactants and water soluble polymers in the areas of bioenergy, construction and agricultural formulations.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

When I received the email, I ignored it as I assumed that it must be spam. Only a few days later, I received a congratulatory note from our vice president, which surprised me. I was humbled to be recognized alongside so many great scientists that I admire.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

It helped me tremendously in enhancing my knowledge of surfactants and interfacial phenomena and their vast number of industrial applications. Further, AOCS annual meetings provided me with an opportunity to meet so many great scientists and to learn from them on how different important market needs are addressed technically through development of novel technologies.

Spotlight on Atsushi Takahashi, recipient of the 2022 Edwin N. Frankel Award for Best Paper in Lipid Oxidation and Quality

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Atsushi Takahashi is the recipient of the 2022 Edwin N. Frankel Award for Best Paper in Lipid Oxidation and Quality. This award recognizes an outstanding paper in the area of lipid oxidation or quality. This award is presented by the Lipid Oxidation and Quality (LOQ) Division in recognition of Edwin Frankel's 50 years of lipid oxidation research. Kalsec sponsors the award.

Dr. Takahashi is the lead author on "Quantitative Evaluation of Oxidative Stability of Biomembrane Lipids in the Presence of Vitamin E" published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. He will present his research as part of the General Session in the LOQ technical program at the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. You can register to attend the meeting on May 1–4 in person in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, or online.

About Atsushi Takahashi

Atsushi Takahashi

Dr. Takahashi received his Ph.D. in engineering from Tohoku University in 2002. He is currently an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Tohoku University, Japan. 

His research interests include lipid oxidation in food, heterogeneous catalytic chemistry and sustainable process engineering. His work focuses specifically on the control of oxidation mechanism via reactive oxidation species from on metal catalysts to in biomembrane.

By focusing on bottlenecks using macroscopireaction kinetics analysis, he is working on seamlessly elucidating the mechanisms and design reactions and processes on a trans-scale from the entire food system to microscopiradical reactions. 

He won the Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division's Best Paper Award in 1999 and 2004 and the Edwin N. Frankel Award for Best Paper Lipid Oxidation and Quality in 2016.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Spotlight on Ipek Bayram, recipient of the 2022 Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division Student Travel Grant

Ipek Bayram

We are delighted to announce that Ipek Bayram is the recipient of the 2022 Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division Student Travel Grant. This grant assists graduate students in presenting their work at the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo, as well as encourages them to become active in the Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division and the Society.

About Ipek Bayram

During Ipek's undergraduate degree in food engineering at Middle East Technical University (METU), one of Turkey's top universities, she interned with the Anadolu Efes Beer Factory and Ulker Biscuit Plant. During her internship, she analyzed production processes and conducted quality control tests. She also gained a valuable research experience at METU, working on a research article advised by Dr. Gulum Sumnu on developing pea-flour-based antioxidant films. Her passion for developing novel food products to diminish malnutrition, discovering new preservation techniques to prolong shelf life and exploring alternative processing technologies to facilitate cheaper food distribution motivated her decision to pursue a career in food science. 

After graduating with a bachelor's degree as a high-honor student, Ipek was awarded a Fulbright Doctoral Scholarship to pursue her Ph.D. in food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, under the supervision of Dr. Eric Decker. After completing her coursework with a 4.00 GPA, she began her dissertation research on lipid oxidation and antioxidants, mainly determining and analyzing synergistic antioxidant activity in food matrices to improve food quality. In addition to laboratory projects, she co-founded the UMass Fulbright Association and served as president to strengthen the networking among Fulbright scholars and assist new scholars in adjusting to campus life.

Can you tell us about your current research?

Lipid oxidation is a series of reactions affecting food quality and shelf life since it impacts flavor, color and nutrition. The food industry uses different antioxidants to retard oxidation. Interaction between antioxidants can improve the ability of the industry to protect foods if the antioxidant combination is synergistic, a concept where two antioxidants inhibit lipid oxidation more effectively than the sum of the individual contributions. My doctoral dissertation focuses on understanding and predicting synergistic antioxidant activity in different systems, particularly in bulk oil, and showing the mechanism behind the synergistic activity. 

Synergisms between antioxidants are not well understood but have been postulated to be due to combinations of free radical scavenging and metal chelation activities, regeneration of a free radical scavenger by another antioxidant and/or differences in antioxidant partitioning in complex food systems. Determining the mechanism is critical to predicting which antioxidant combinations could be synergistic and providing easy and time-efficient antioxidant selections for the food industry. Achieving synergistic interactions will increase oxidative stability, prolong the shelf life of food, improve food quality, reduce the production cost and help the food industry substitute synthetic antioxidants with healthier and natural options.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

Being an AOCS member has provided me with an excellent opportunity to broaden my professional network. I've been impressed by how easily AOCS helped make connections with professionals from industry and academia, as well as other graduate students working in the field of lipid chemistry. The AOCS Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division has been invaluable in providing me with clear guidance on how to conduct high-quality research, improve networking opportunities and build useful strategies for professional life.

AOCS has given me the opportunity to co-author an article in INFORM magazine with Dr. Eric Decker titled "Why does lipid oxidation in foods continue to be such a challenge?" in which we discussed synergistic antioxidants and the factors influencing lipid oxidation. AOCS is an excellent resource for connecting with researchers and manufacturers who share similar interests in oxidation chemistry and practical applications. Receiving the 2022 AOCS Lipid Oxidation and Quality (LOQ) Student Travel Grant to present my research at the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo is very exciting. I am honored to be recognized by AOCS for my hard work and scientific contributions.

Spotlight on Haizhou Wu, recipient of the 2022 Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division Early Career Travel Grant

Haizhou Wu

We are delighted to announce that Haizhou Wu is the recipient of the 2022 Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division Early Career Travel Grant. This grant assists early career researchers in presenting their work at the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo, as well as encourages them to become active in the Lipid Oxidation and Quality Division and the Society.

About Haizhou Wu

Dr. Wu is a researcher at the Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering-Food and Nutrition Science. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison & Nanjing Agricultural University in 2017. He conducted postdoctoral research work at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden from February 2018 to January 2021.

His work is primarily in basic and applied research related to muscle food (fish, mammalian and avian), e.g., the oxidative processes mostly in relation to lipids and functional aspects of hemoglobin and myoglobin. One focal point has been to elucidate the mechanisms by which there is a wide range of variation in auto-oxidation and heme dissociation when comparing mammalian, fish and avian hemoglobins. Additional focus involves developing new technologies for stabilizing muscle food against lipid oxidation.

Can you tell us about your current research?

My current research is mainly focused on developing new technologies for stabilization of seafood by-products against lipid oxidation, specifically by removing and/or deactivating blood/Hb or by adding smart antioxidant solutions. In the project, studies are done in various models, ranging from isolated fish erythrocytes up to whole fish by-products. The aim is to raise the value of seafood by-products so they can be recycled back into the food chain. The project will hereby contribute to a circular economy and increased potential for industrial symbiosis.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

I attended my first AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in May 2021. It’s an exciting experience! I greatly enjoyed the meeting, which included lots of top scientists and very excellent presentations in the field of lipid oxidation. It’s like I found a treasure, thus I decided to continue to stay in AOCS. It’s too bad that 2021 Annual Meeting needed to be an online meeting. 

For the 2022 AOCS Annual Meeting, I volunteered as the session chair in “Lipid Oxidation in Omega-3 Products and Stabilization Strategies.” I am also contributing three oral presentations. I hope to join the 2022 AOCS meeting in person. AOCS provides a great chance to present our studies and also broaden my scientific network.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Member spotlight: Anne-Laure Fameau

Anne-Laure Fameau

Anne-Laure received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Nantes (France) in 2011. During her doctoral program, she developed responsive foams and interfaces based on fatty acid self-assemblies and worked at the Laboratory Léon Brillouin at CEA Saclay (French Neutron Center) as well as the French National Institute of Agricultural & Environment Research (INRAE) in Nantes. She has since worked as a full-time research staff member at INRAE in Nantes (2011–2013), and completed two 6-month posts as a visiting scientist at North Carolina State University (USA) and Technische Universität Berlin (Germany). From 2015–2021, she worked at the L’Oréal Company, and at the end of 2021, she returned to INRAE as research scientist at Lille (norther France).

Anne-Laure, congratulations on winning the AOCS Young Scientist Research Award in 2021! This is a major accomplishment. What has receiving this award meant to you?

Thanks! Yes, a major accomplishment. I remembered that I was relaxing at home with my family at night when I received this amazing news by email telling me that I was awarded the 2021 AOCS Young Scientist Research Award. I was so happy and proud! It is such an honor to have my name on the list of AOCS Young Scientist Research award winners (PDF). Especially when you admire, as much as I do, all the scientists in that list since the beginning of my passion for science in lipids, surfactants, soft matter, food science, and nutrition. It is fantastic that AOCS helps young and emerging scientists, by giving such awards. This award encouraged me, after seven years in industry, to come back to academia at INRAE to continue to pursue a career advancing the applied and fundamental research in my field.

Can you tell the EAT members a bit more about your general research interests and what major challenges your current work is trying to address?

My research interests are in the field of responsive soft materials based on lipids and green surfactants, with a particular emphasis on foams, emulsions, liquid marbles and interfaces, for food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications. My research is focused on the development of these systems and their detailed structural characterization using scattering techniques such as SAXS and SANS. I also enjoy transmitting my passion for science to young students. I visited many schools and gave scientific talks to students to promote science in France, and especially to promote science for girls.

Presently, I am working at INRAE on the PIHM team (Interface Processes and Hygiene of Materials) as part of UMET (Unit dedicated to materials science of the University of Lille). PIHM includes scientists in microbiology and engineering, pooling their skills to improve the understanding of bacterial contamination in food industries and how to improve hygiene procedures. I am personally overseeing a project dealing with the use of liquid foams based on green surfactants intended to improve decontamination processes in the food industry. In parallel, I have many collaborations in France, Japan, USA, Germany, Italy and the UK.

How has being a member of AOCS influenced your career development?

I joined AOCS only recently in 2020. I wrote an article for INFORM magazine in 2019, at which point I realized how the AOCS community could help my research and my career in many different ways. In particular, AOCS is very important for both people working in academia and in industry, and I find it very useful to have access to all of the AOCS content and networking opportunities. I greatly enjoyed the 2020 and 2021 AOCS annual meetings, and I am looking forward the 2022 AOCS annual meeting.

You are obviously a very busy individual. What do you do to disconnect and recharge (i.e., hobbies, interests, activities, etc.)?

With two young children at home, I try to recharge by sleeping when they allow me. Joking aside, I relax by spending as much time as I can with my family. I keep a weekly meeting with my little boy, where we go to our favorite tea room and share a slice of cake and hot chocolate. I love sports in general (football, swimming, horse-riding, etc.), but for the moment I only have time to practice yoga at home.

Spotlight on 2022 Biotechnology Division Student Award winners

The Biotechnology Division Student Award recognizes graduate students presenting outstanding oral or poster presentations within the Biotechnology technical program at the AOCS Annual Meeting. We are delighted to recognize this year's winners! Get to know them in the spotlights below:

About Jiazi Chen

Jiazi Chen

Jiazi Chen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Food Science at Jinan University. As a graduate student at Jinan University, Jiazi began working in Professor Yong Wang’s lab and later started her doctoral studies in 2020. Jiazi also studied in Professor Dérick Rousseau’s lab at Ryerson University, Canada, for six month as an exchange student in 2017.

Can you tell us about your current research?

I am researching the delivery of bioactives encapsulated by medium-long chain diacylglycerol (MLCD) oil-in-water (O/W) Pickering emulsions. My future research plan also focuses on delivery systems composed with diacylglycerol. I am interested in establishing a new efficient system to deliver bioactives not only for cosmetic application but also for the development of functional foods.This system can deliver bioactives stably and efficiently, and at the same time is a healthy natural functional food. I have authored and co-authored six research articles and one Chinese patent.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

I was so excited and could not wait to share it with my major advisor and lab mates. I shared this good news with my family and my lovely daughter.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

The AOCS Annual Meeting has played a big role in my research life. I clearly remember the first time I took part in the 2017 AOCS Annual Meeting (Orlando, USA) and shared a oral presentation.This experience gave me lots of opportunity to learn from experts in the field of lipid science and greatly improved my presentation skills. The Annual Meeting gave me many new ideas for my future research and allowed me to build great connections and friendships with other researchers.

About Xin Guo

Xin Guo

Xin received his M.S. degree in food science and technology from Jiangnan University in 2020. He is a second year Ph.D. candidate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research interests include lipid chemistry, analysis methods and flavor chemistry. He has developed a broad range of experimental and scientific experiences during his research. He has three SCI academic publications as the first author, which include publications in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry and Food & Function. He is also a reviewer for the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry and Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. Additionally, he has participated in several scientific research projects, including projects with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Can you tell us about your current research?

My current research focuses on the analysis of microplastics in oils and fats. My project is designed to (1) develop analytical methods for determining microplastic content in oils and fats and (2) investigate human ingestion of microplastics through oils and fats.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

I was very excited. I thank the AOCS Awards committee for their recognition of my hard work and achievement.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

As an international professional organization, AOCS provides me current and emerging information and research results in the fields of fats and oils through its meetings, publications, and websites. I first learned about AOCS when I started my master career in Jiangnan University. AOCS is also the bridge facilitating interactions between the academic world and students. It gives us the opportunity to meet more professionals through conferences and events, and also gives us the opportunity to collaborate with other societies and organizations to promote the advancement of scientific research in this amazing field.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Member spotlight: Marc Pignitter

Marc Pignitter

Marc Pignitter received his doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Graz, Austria. He completed postdoctoral stays at the University of Vienna, Austria, and in industry. He was a research associate at the National Biomedical EPR Center and the Free Radical Research Center at the Department of Biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, USA. Another research stay took him to Australia, where he joined the group in Adelaide at Metabolomics Australia and participated in the Australian Endeavour Leadership Program. 

In 2017, he took up a tenure track position at the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at the University of Vienna and was able to establish his own research group by raising over €1 million in external funding. In 2021, he was promoted to the rank of associate professor at the same institution.

Marc received several international awards from the German Society for Fat Science (DGF), the Australian Government and AOCS, among others.

His research interests focus on the application of innovative approaches and technologies to control and better understand lipid oxidation in food and its health effects.

Can you tell us about your research?

My laboratory focuses on (1) identifying pathways and markers of lipid oxidation in foods, (2) changing food processing methods to improve oxidative stability of foods, and (3) evaluating the biological effects of dietary oxidized lipids. Modern tools of analytical food chemistry (LC-MS, GC-MS, NMR and ESR), foodomics, oxidomics and cell culture techniques are applied to unravel oxidative rancidity in foods and its metabolic effects.

What is the biggest challenge you are trying to conquer in your research?

To obtain a holistic view of compounds and reactions taking place in foods and biological systems exposed to oxidized lipids. There are far more biochemicals with an impact on lipid oxidation in food than we are currently tracking.

How do you hope or how has AOCS helped in solving challenges you encounter in your research?

AOCS has helped me solving challenges in my research in many ways. Access to the latest research highlights presented at the AOCS Annual Meetings, webinars and in AOCS journals lays the ground for my research endeavors. Most importantly, the scientific exchange within the research community leads to new ideas and projects to address urgent research questions. And last but not least, receiving an award for my research activities gave me a large portion of motivation. Thank you, AOCS community.

What made you start a mentorship program for LOQ?

As AOCS has helped me in so many ways, I was thinking what I could return for the benefit of the community. Soon it was clear that organizing a mentoring program might be how LOQ members could benefit from each other, independent of their career stage. I am very excited how it develops and hope that many members make use of this chance and sign up for the first LOQ Mentoring Program.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Member spotlight: Dhruvesh B. Patel

Dhruvesh B. Patel

Dhruvesh B. Patel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He is the winner of the 2021 AOCS Health and Nutrition Division Student Excellence Award.

Could you tell us about your current research?

My research focuses on identifying the importance of functionally active omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and omega-6, arachidonic acid (ARA) in the development of immune system in infants. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential nutrients, but we don't know their importance for a normal immune system development, particularly in infants with genetic predisposition to atopic diseases. Using animal models, we study these fatty acids by supplementing them in animal diet during different periods of infancy. Part of my research has been published in Journal of Nutrition. Next, we plan to study oral tolerance of egg protein in allergic mouse models.

What are your career goals and how has AOCS helped develop your career?

AOCS is a multidisciplinary group of experts with a keen interest in research and development. With this comes a plethora of knowledge and tools that new trainees like me can access. AOCS, through their webinars and meetings, has provided me the opportunity to interact with researchers and obtain guidance to propel me in the next step of my academic pursuits.

How do you spend your leisure time?

Currently, I am in the fourth year of my Ph.D. and plan to pursue research in nutrition and immunology. Living in Edmonton, I like winter and winter activities. Outside of work, I want to learn about nature photography. Recently, I went to Jasper (Alberta) and spent a night watching stars and northern lights. I love outdoor biking and hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Member spotlight: Ximena Yepez

Ximena Yepez

Dr. Ximena Yepez is an associate professor at the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral where she is currently serving as the director of the Plasma Lab. She teaches food analysis, carbohydrate and lipid analysis and supervises eight students on their respective research projects. Dr. Yepez enjoys collaboration on research, outreach and community service. She is very appreciative of AOCS and the great things the group has done for her as a professor.

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

I joined AOCS in 2017 as a graduate student, during an annual meeting in Orlando, where I had the opportunity to present my Ph.D. work. I decided to join AOCS because I had a great experience finding relevant and updated resources to my research work: from methods of analysis all the way to highly specific topics about fats and oils, both through publications and a thriving networking research community. Ever since I joined, I have found great support and encouragement from my colleagues at AOCS.

How has your involvement with the AOCS influenced your career?

AOCS provides excellent support in the field of oils and fats, which was an important topic during my Ph.D. student career, and still is. Publications and events, such as the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo, INFORM magazine, and the Professional Educator Common Interest Group are great resources that keep me updated on recent developments and state-of-the-art research in my fields of interest. 

I also receive the Open Forum digest in the mail regularly, which I find particularly interesting, as it provides real problem-solution approaches, taken by experts in the field. I have even implemented some of these as case studies in my class, with great success and interest from the students.

Why did you decide to join the PE CIG?

I started teaching in my university three years ago, and I needed some support in the teaching aspect of my career. Also, due to COVID-19 restrictions, I have held meetings to share experiences and discuss the challenges of online teaching, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic when virtual and remote teaching were all new topics, and every educator was in need for guidance and support.

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

I worked in the food industry for 10 years before becoming a graduate student. Then in 2012, I had the opportunity to apply to a scholarship program that became available in Ecuador, providing funding for doctorate studies. Both my husband and I decided to apply, thinking that the worst-case scenario would be a rejection, which was just to continue our lives as they were. Eventually, we both got fellowships and admission to Purdue University. This was a life changing and defining moment. We turned from industry engineers into researchers in a top-notch institution; we became familiar with the research world, and now we are both professors at Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) in Ecuador. 

Our main goal now is to provide our students and research community with experiences of learning and research as interesting and excellent as the ones we had. Currently, I am the director of the Plasma Lab at ESPOL, where I supervise eight students in projects related with my fields of interest. I also participate actively in several international research groups, networks and collaborations.

What do you love most about your position?

I am passionate about materializing my ideas. Starting from writing proposals, continuing with training students and working towards a research question, and finally finding interesting results. I also enjoy greatly collaborating with colleagues in projects in areas as varied as research, outreach and community service. 

I have been able to learn beyond my field and get the best from all my experiences so far. Although teaching was something new, I have grown to like it and enjoy it a lot. However, it has been challenging the past two years because of the pandemic. I’m really looking forward to returning to in-person classes, and to continue my involvement in other community service projects as well.

How do you define success?

That’s a good question. I believe success is a personal trait. There are no general rules to describe it. For me, success has a strong link to having a happy marriage and family, to do the job you enjoy and to work in something you are passionate about. Believe it or not, the latter are not that simple to achieve, particularly in my country, where work is very difficult to find as there are few opportunities. So, I am beyond happy with my definition of success.

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

My husband has been the most influential person in my career. He had the dream of going to graduate school, and we embarked in this line of work thanks to him. During this journey, he has been there to help me become the best version of myself by pushing me to dream big. As a woman, sometimes it is more challenging to succeed in a career, and it has been an amazing support to have someone near me to make the path easier.

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

Find the time to become involved in a community of your field of work, such as AOCS, because it can give you the support that you need to succeed in a project, especially when you are stuck with lack of information. You may not only find what you need in an institution like AOCS, but you may also find a colleague working in a similar topic that can give you a hand. In my experience, I have come to understand the paramount importance that networking has in a research or industry sectors. 

I also recommend participating in annual meetings and technical events, because it helps to expand your area of expertise and open your mind to new ideas or just different points of view, that may help you think outside of the box.

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

Wow! There is a lot of trivial stuff I can share.

Despite being a food scientist that must put attention to detail in my lab, I don’t like to use detailed recipes when cooking at home. Most of recipes (even fancy or difficult ones) are basically made by eyeballing ingredients.

Another fun fact about me is that despite working a lot with fish and seafood in my lab, I am not particularly fond of these foods. So, I manipulate fish on a regular basis for my research, but I don’t like them in my kitchen. And yes, I also love to cook.

Ximena Yepez

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

Travel. I love to travel in my country. I try to get away as much as time permits. Since my country has a very steady weather all year long, in any particular holiday or weekend, we take the car and drive either to the beach, the highlands, the Amazon rainforest, or at least to a small family farm. I am a very outdoorsy person.