Friday, March 18, 2022

Spotlight on Waqas Baba, recipient of the 2022 Health and Nutrition Division Student Award

We are delighted to announce that Waqas Baba is the recipient of the 2022 Health and Nutrition Division Student Award. This award recognizes graduate students presenting an outstanding oral or poster presentation within the Health and Nutrition technical program at the AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo.

About Waqas Baba

Waqas Baba

After finishing his masters, Waqas worked as a lab assistant at Kashmir University, where he managed a pilot-scale processing plant. In addition to publishing research articles in reputed journals, Waqas conducted various outreach programs during which he served as the team leader and imparted hands-on training to different stakeholders, including students, industrial and employees.

Since his admission to United Arab Emirates University as a Ph.D. candidate fin 2019, he is involved in enhancing the bioactivity and techno-functionality of underutilized camel milk proteins. Waqas has published nine articles during his Ph.D. Additionally, he has received a research excellence award at an international conference organized by GRASS, India. Waqas volunteered to serve as vice president of the Graduate Students Association of his college in 2019. He was later selected as the president of the association and is still holding that position. During this tenure, Waqas organized various inter-college events.

Waqas was a part of joint project between his university and the Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations (FAO), that was related to lifestyle disorders. He has also worked in another joint project between his university and James Cook University and FAO that was related to sea food consumption.

Can you tell us about your current research?

My research aims at enhancing the techno-functional and bioactive potential of underutilized camel milk proteins by enzymatic hydrolysis and conjugation with bioactive compounds. Initial studies have revealed that hydrolysis of camel milk proteins generated various novel bioactive peptides that have high bioactivity. Moreover, conjugation of camel milk proteins with polyphenols not only improved bioactivity but had superior techno-functionality. 

I am also planning to explore the potential of conjugated camel milk protein (with polyphenols) for delivery of bioactive compounds using emulsion systems. As such, my thesis aims at improving health benefiting potential as well as industrial use of underutilized camel milk proteins with the aim of improving human health and serving the environment, thus a step towards food sustainability.

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

I was grounded with gratitude when I read the mail. I am highly thankful to AOCS for recognizing my efforts as a student of food science. This award has inspired me to explore more deeper aspects of food science in the direction of human health and food sustainability.

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