Entries being accepted for the Norman Borlaug Lecture Poster Competition

Students are invited to enter poster abstracts to the Norman Borlaug Lectureship Poster Competition and display preceding the Borlaug Lecture, which will take place October 15, 2018, in the Memorial Union. The posters submitted should describe work in the general area of world food issues. Finalists for the poster presentation at the Borlaug Poster Competition will be selected from the abstract submissions. To be considered, complete the Borlaug Student Poster Competition Submission survey by Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

For further details about this competition, please click here, or contact Whitney Sager, wjsager@iastate.edu.

The Borlaug Poster Competition is coordinated by ISU’s Nutritional Sciences Council. Prizes of $200, $150 and $75 for both undergraduate and graduate student competitions are made possible with funds provided by the Colleges of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Human Sciences and Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Wen named interim director for Center for Crops Utilization Research at Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa — Zhiyou Wen has been named the interim director of Iowa State University’s Center for Crops Utilization Research.

Wen, a professor of food science and human nutrition, has been an Iowa State faculty member since 2010. He assumed his new duties Sept. 1.

Wen succeeds Kevin Keener, who has served as the center’s director since 2015 and plans to return to the food science and human nutrition faculty to focus on research, teaching and industry training initiatives.

“For more than 30 years, the Center for Crops Utilization Research has been committed to increasing the use of corn, soybeans and other crops and exploring new opportunities to develop advanced technologies and high-value products,” Wen said.

Read the complete news release published by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Post-doc accepted into competitive fellowship

Ames has been “home” to Angelica Van Goor for the past seven years while she’s been at Iowa State University. So naturally, she said it will be an adjustment to pack up her things (and her family) and move to Washington, D.C., where she’ll spend at least the next year partaking in a prestigious fellowship.

After an intensive application process, Van Goor, a post-doctoral researcher in Assistant Professor Melha Mellata’s lab, found out recently she was accepted into an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. She will be hosted by the USDA-NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture). Her one-year fellowship will begin Sept. 4. Depending on how it goes, she may have the opportunity to extend her experience for one additional year.

“It makes me very proud when I see the training in my lab contributed to my students and post-docs getting on pathways to success,” Mellata said. “This highly competitive fellowship will open many opportunities for Angelica and will, without a doubt, provide clear-cut paths to future careers.”

The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships allow scientists and engineers a chance to delve into science policy at the federal government level while using their knowledge and analytical skills to address societal challenges, according to the AAAS website. Fellows serve in each of the three branches of the federal government – executive, judicial and legislative. Van Goor will be working within the executive branch.

One of Van Goor’s long-time mentors encouraged her to apply for this fellowship, saying it may be a good fit for her. Van Goor said what stood out about this fellowship was the professional development aspect. Not only will she be able to network with other fellows and those at USDA-NIFA, but she’ll take part in the fellowship’s year-long professional development program. The program helps fellows understand science policy, learn to communicate with non-scientific audiences and enhance their leadership skills.

Van Goor received her PhD in genetics in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State. During this time, she was a USDA-National Needs Fellow, which supported a six-month international research experience at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. She also served as a teaching assistant and participated in several graduate student organizations. During her post-doc she served as a co-principal investigator for a research grant to improve the health of cage-free poultry.

“Having good communication skills that will help in the transition from the lab to science policy,” Van Goor said is what will aid her in this fellowship. “I want to gain a different perspective on science, from an under the microscope view to the societal view.”

Van Goor said she’s looking forward to the opportunity and is excited to see what role it will play in helping her determine what career path she’d like to pursue.

“It’s a really exciting time to be involved in science policy,” Van Goor said. “It’s possible to use scientific training to do high impact things outside of the lab. What attracted me to USDA-NIFA was their emphasis on capacity building, especially recruiting more women and minorities into the STEM fields.”

Micro-creamery coming to Iowa State University

June is National Dairy Month, and soon the milk produced by the dairy cows at the ISU Dairy Farm will be used to produce ice cream and cheese right here on campus.

For the past couple of years, Professor Stephanie Clark in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has been working on plans to open a creamery at Iowa State. The first phase of her plan will come to fruition this fall with the opening of a micro-creamery in the Center for Crops Utilization Research pilot plant, located within the Food Sciences Building.

The micro-creamery will be situated in the southeast corner of the pilot plant, and will include a clarifier/separator, a pasteurizer cheese vat, an ice cream freezer and sanitation equipment. Beginning in August, Clark hopes to train as many as five to six students who will work in the micro-creamery.

“It’s meant to train students and give them valuable experience so they can take practical skills into food science careers and dairy science careers,” Clark said of the micro-creamery.

Clark and the student employees will start by making ice cream, including the much-anticipated ISU Signature Ice Cream, created by a team of food science seniors. In December 2017, the winning ice cream concept of the ISU Signature Ice Cream Contest was announced. The peanut butter ice cream with scotcheroo balls and fudge swirls, which honors Iowa State alumni George Washington Carver and Mildred Day, will be featured at various Iowa State events.

The milk needed to produce the ice cream, and later, cheese, will come from the ISU Dairy Farm.

The micro-creamery is just the first step to building and opening a large-scale creamery, to be called the ISU Dairy Products Innovation Center (DPIC). Not only will the DPIC produce ice cream and cheese, but, like the micro-creamery, it also will serve as a place for students to gain experience working in the dairy industry. Additionally, Iowa dairy farmers will come to the center to learn how to turn their milk into products in a small-scale environment, rather than selling their extra milk to other states, Clark said.

Retail space would be included at the DPIC, where cheese and ice cream products would be sold.

This summer, Clark will work with students in the CyBIZ Lab, through the Ivy College of Business. The students will go over Clark’s business plan, help her conduct feasibility studies and SWOT analyses, and further help her along the way of turning her DPIC dream into a reality.

Once the DPIC is up and running, Clark’s hope is that the micro-creamery will continue in operation in the Food Sciences Building for the sole production of the signature ice cream, to keep peanuts out of the DPIC.

Funding for the micro-creamery has come from Clark’s Virginia M. Gladney Professorship, Savencia USA, as well as from the Midwest Dairy Association. Additional funding will be sought from dairy industry stakeholders, in cooperation with the ISU Foundation.

Clark hopes the success of the micro-creamery will help push forward plans and start-up funding for the DPIC, which is estimated to cost approximately $5.7 million. Funding will be sought from private industry and alumni, in cooperation with the ISU Foundation.

Iowa State team wins worldwide 2018 Food Solutions Challenge

AMES, Iowa – For three Iowa State University graduate students, winning the worldwide 2018 Food Solutions Challenge was more than an honor – it meant they could help reduce food waste in their homeland.

The Iowa State team received $5,000 on May 20 for its proposal to improve the shelf life of cassava, which is a staple food in Africa and can rot within three days after harvest. Team members include Samuel Kiprotich, food science and human nutrition; Mike Sserunjogi, agricultural and biosystems engineering; and Emmanuel Nsamba, genetics.

“I felt this competition gave me the perfect opportunity to be part of a new generation of African youth striving to make a difference in their communities through scientific innovation,” Kiprotich said.

Read the complete story here.

Datta, Baldwin join FSHN Department

Earlier this month, two new individuals joined the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition - Mridul Datta and Kristi Baldwin. Datta is the new director of the Dietetic Internship program, while Baldwin is the new online course designer.

Datta takes lead of Dietetic Internship program

Datta holds a bachelor’s degree in community nutrition from the University of Delhi in India, as well as a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from East Tennessee State University. Her doctorate degree is from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, in the area of human/clinical nutrition.

She comes to Iowa State from Purdue University, where she was the director of the undergraduate coordinated program in dietetics. Datta said what drew her to the position at Iowa State was the ability to focus on a larger dietetics program while responding to the changing needs of dietetics education.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, all registered dietitians must have a master’s degree in order to sit for the registration exam for dietitian nutritionists. Iowa State is taking a proactive approach to that national requirement by offering the Professional Practice in Dietetics (MPP-D) program, beginning in the fall 2018 semester. Datta is looking forward to working with clinicians and faculty in the department to develop and grow the dietetic internship and new master’s degree program.

A newcomer to Iowa, Datta also is looking forward to breaking out her camera to capture various images as she explores and familiarizes herself with the state.

Baldwin looking forward to combining technology, education work

As the new online course designer, Baldwin will provide assistance to department faculty with their online courses, especially for the new Master’s of Professional Practice in Dietetics program, which will launch this fall.

Baldwin comes to Iowa State with experience in teaching online courses for a K-12 program and serving as an instructional designer for Great Falls College Montana State University. While at the community college, she worked to create a flexible learning environment classroom that served as a model for updating other classrooms on campus.

She said what drew her to the online course designer position at Iowa State was the ability to combine technology and education work.

“I love technology and I love working in education. I knew that this opportunity would be an exciting way to bring the two together in designing online courses for the department,” Baldwin said.

As she begins her new position, she is looking forward to working with faculty to come up with innovative strategies to engage students with online content.

“I think technology is providing us with so many new opportunities for communicating and demonstrating understanding that we can utilize to help our online environments feel more personal; it’s just a matter of ensuring that the tools utilized for doing this are made to be as user-friendly as possible,” she said.

Baldwin and her family have been in Ames for the past year. They moved here after her husband, John, accepted a position as an ROTC instructor for the Air Force at Iowa State. The couple has two sons, Nathan, 11, and Joshua, 9, as well as a 3-year-old chocolate lab named Duke.

In her spare time, Baldwin enjoys reading and shopping.

Announcing the 2018 FSHN Alumni Impact Award winners

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 FSHN Alumni Impact Award.

The winners are as follows:

  • Milagros Hojilla-Evangelista ('90, PhD food technology)
  • Julie Miller Jones ('68, BS home economics - food science)
  • Barb Struempler ('81, MS food and nutrition; '84, PhD food and nutrition)

The award winners will be recognized during the annual FSHN Department awards ceremony Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, at the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center in Ames. Additional details about the ceremony will be announced on the FSHN website once the event gets closer.

This is the eighth year the awards have been given to alumni to recognize them for the impacts they have made in their profession. Past winners include:


  • Celeste Clark ('77, MS nutrition)
  • Tunyawat Kasemsuwan ('91, MS food science and technology; '95, PhD food science and technology)
  • Susan Roberts ('73, BS dietetics)


  • Andrew McPherson ('92, BS food science & technology - agriculture; '99, PhD food science and technology)
  • Linda Snetselaar ('72, BS dietetics)
  • Mary Wagner ('78, BS bacteriology; '80, MS food technology)


  • Charlotte Hayes ('80, BS dietetics)
  • Justin Kanthak ('07, BS food science)
  • Julie Simonson ('87, BS food science - food and nutrition)


  • Barbara Harland ('46, BS dietetics)
  • Rodrigo Tarte ('87, BS food technology and science; '90, MS food technology; '96, PhD food science and human nutrition) 
  • Jill Zullo ('96, PhD food science and human nutrition)


  • Jill Moline ('98, BS food science)
  • Mary Shell ('06, BS food science)
  • Kris Spence ('94, MS food science and human nutrition; '98, PhD food science and technology)


  • Linda Fullmer ('00, BS food science)
  • Lori Roth-Yousey ('83, BS dietetics - food and nutrition)


  • Nancy Degner ('72, BS food science)
  • Simin Meydani ('81, PhD food science)
  • Justin Moore ('93, BS dietetics - family and consumer sciences)

Brain activity, reactivity help explain diabetics’ negative feelings and risk for depression

AMES, Iowa – For millions of Americans who are obese and living with diabetes or prediabetes, feelings of sadness, anger and anxiety are often part of daily life.

A new Iowa State University study suggests those negative feelings may stem from problems regulating blood sugar levels that influence emotional response in the brain. The study found people with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes were more likely to focus on and have a strong emotional response to threats and negative things, which affects quality of life and increases risk for depression. The research is published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Auriel Willette, an ISU assistant professor of food science and human nutrition; Tovah Wolf, lead author and a graduate student working with Willette on this project; and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzed data on startle response, brain activity, cortisol levels and cognitive assessment. Data for the study came from Midlife in the U.S. (MIDUS), a national study of health and well-being.

Read about the study results in the story published by ISU News Service


Research key component of food science students’ time at Iowa State

For many aspiring food scientists, research is a major component of their collegiate studies. Opportunities to conduct research in laboratories while pursuing degrees have made lasting impacts on two soon-to-be graduates.

Thadeus “Tad” Beekman, senior in food science, and Brett Brothers, graduate student in food science, quickly became involved in research at Iowa State, gaining valuable experience that will help them following graduation.

After making the switch to food science from animal science his freshman year, Beekman joined University Professor Lester Wilson’s lab, where he has spent the last three years as an undergraduate research assistant. He’s conducted research related to aronia berries, the possibility of making cheese on lunar and Mars missions, and the influence of wavelength on the aroma of herbs.

Brothers’ decision to come to Iowa State to pursue his master’s degree was an easy one – he grew up in Ames and was aware of the level of research for which Iowa State is known.

“I learned a lot during my undergraduate studies and wanted to apply what I learned to a graduate degree,” Brothers said.

He’s been working in Professor Tong “Toni” Wang’s lab, conducting corn fermentation research, specifically looking at where free fatty acid is formed during the process of converting ground corn to ethanol.

Perhaps one of the most valuable life lessons Brothers has learned during his graduate studies has been learning how to fail when experiments don’t go as planned.

“I learned a lot through failed experiments,” Brothers said. “They’ve all been learning opportunities.”

Wang has been impressed with the work Brothers has done in her lab. She said his research findings are “one of a kind” with his paper being the first report showing how free fatty acid content in corn distillers oil can be different depending on the assay methods used, and the high degree of oxidation of this type of oil.

“Brett is a perfect example for how unexpected research results can be a gift for making one gritty, critical in thinking, and masterful in problem solving,” Wang said.

For Beekman, a highlight of his time at Iowa State has been his research on aronia berries. Continuing the work started by Wilson’s previous research assistant, Beekman has worked to determine the best time to harvest the berries, as well as looked at their sugar and acid content, and how the berries can be used for natural coloring.

The results of his research have been submitted as a manuscript - it’s just waiting to be published. Beekman has been able to present his research related to aronia berries at research symposiums.

“It’s exciting to be able to talk about it,” Beekman said.

Putting extra time and effort into their work in the lab has proven beneficial to the students as they’ve seen success along the way.

“For me, just being willing to put the work in and seeing it pay off later,” Beekman said. “Faculty members want to see you succeed and they push you to do your best.”

When it comes to individuals who have been influential to the students’ time on campus, Brothers said Wang has been a great help along his journey to obtaining a master’s degree.

“Dr. Wang has been very helpful and she’s passionate about what she does,” Brothers said. “She pushes you to be the best you can be.”

Working alongside other graduate students in the lab and bouncing ideas off each other also has aided Brothers in his progress.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I’ve learned a lot about research and life,” he said.

Following graduation, Beekman will head to the University of Arkansas, where he has accepted a full-ride, four year Distinguished Doctoral Fellowship in the area of sensory science. He said he likes sensory analysis because it allows him to work with food and interact with consumers regarding food at the same time.

“You have to understand food science in order to work with sensory analysis – it helps you understand why foods have the qualities they do and how consumers perceive those specific qualities,” Beekman said.

Though he’s still looking for a job, Brothers hopes to obtain a position in research and development for a food company.

Internship experiences prepare graduating senior for entrance into professional world

While only one internship is required for culinary food science majors, one graduating student decided to complete three.

Jared Diehl came to Iowa State University to pursue a degree in culinary food science.

“I always knew I wanted to do something with food, but I knew I didn’t want to work in a restaurant,” Diehl said.

To help build his resume and give him an idea of the type of career he’d like to have upon graduation, Diehl began attending Iowa State’s career fairs and looking for internships his first year at Iowa State. He landed his first internship the summer after his freshman year, obtaining a position at Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen, Colo. While the experience there was great, he said it opened his eyes to what working full-time in a restaurant would be like.

“That really helped solidify that I don’t want to work in a restaurant,” Diehl said.

His next internship was with Emmi Roth USA, a leading provider of specialty cheeses in Madison, Wis. He was employed as a culinary development intern, taking food trucks all over the U.S. He also had the opportunity to develop dip and sandwich recipes, and even make a recipe booklet.

His final internship was a research and development position with Johnsonville Sausage in Sheboygan, Wis., working on flavor development and meat texture analysis. He even had the chance to develop a flavoring for sausage. Even though the pH was too low, making the sausage appear to be gray, it was a learning experience.

“I felt like I was actually contributing,” he said.

Diehl appreciated the fact that he was treated like a regular employee, not just an intern, while at Johnsonville. He remembers introducing himself as an intern to the company president, who corrected him by stating Diehl was not an intern, but rather a part of the company.

With three internships under his belt, Diehl is grateful for the experience and independency he’s gained at each one. He feels his first two internships played a role in his ability to obtain his internship at Johnsonville, working in a position he’d like to one day hold as a professional.

“This past year, being able to do something I want to do for a career was amazing,” Diehl said.

In addition to his internships, Diehl has become prepared for entrance into the professional world through the culinary science classes he’s taken at Iowa State, especially the one where students have the opportunity to work in The Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom.

“You get to see the restaurant side and the back of the house,” Diehl said. “When you’re at a restaurant and you’re wondering what’s taking your food so long or why certain things are happening, you can understand what’s going on.”

Finding time to get involved in clubs and organizations is another aspect of his college career that has had a significant impact on his time at Iowa State. Diehl is a member of the Culinary Science Club, taking part in cooking competitions and club trips. In addition, he served as a member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Student Council during his sophomore and junior years. He liked how the council gave him insight into the happenings within the university, including discussions on differential tuition.

Helping him find success in all his college endeavors have been Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition senior lecturer Erica Beirman and academic adviser Mickie Deaton. They have impacted his time as a culinary food science student and introduced him to key people along the way.

“Erica and Mickie do a good job of getting you connected with people,” Diehl said.

Beirman said Diehl has made the most of his time at Iowa State, getting involved in a variety of clubs and activities to enhance not only his knowledge in culinary food science, but his overall experience at the university.

“Jared is a student who has taken every opportunity presented to him and used those experiences to positively impact his undergraduate journey here at Iowa State,” Beirman said.

As far as advice for current or future culinary food science students, Diehl said it’s never too early to start attending career fairs. Not only will it help you find an internship, but it’s a great way to start networking and connecting with individuals in the industry.

“Start early and even though the career fair might seem intimidating, just go,” Diehl said.