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.

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