Research news

Ruth Litchfield obtains funding for research on eating patterns of low-income families
Ruth Litchfield, professor in food science and human nutrition, received $8,690 from Drake University for research that will contribute to the development of potential incentive programs for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. This research will explore food retail strategy for healthy foods, and create relationships with food retailers. The incentive program will help to improve the eating patterns of low-income families.

Sarah Francis receives funding for work with Fresh Conversations program
Sarah Francis, associate professor in food science and human nutrition, was awarded $39,719 from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to continue working collaboratively with the Fresh Conversations program. Fresh Conversations is an Iowan program created by the IDPH to bolster healthy aging and independence through discussion of current nutrition. Francis’s work will help ensure that Fresh Conversations is adhering to the Health Belief Model. She is in the process of conducting a statewide program evaluation.

Donna Winham receives funding for study on glycemic response to black bean pasta combinations in adults
Donna Winham, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, received $64,096 award from the USDA Pulse Crop Health Initiative for her research project. Winham studied the glycemic effects of 100 percent black bean pasta milled by different processes and whole black beans. The study was conducted with adults who have normal glucose levels. Data analysis for glucose, insulin, satiety, and gastrointestinal effects of these foods is in process.

Melha Mellata awarded funding for foodborne Listeria research
Melha Mellata, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, received $77,550 for a one-year project funded by the Dairy Management Inc. (DMI). The DMI portion of the funding is subcontracted through the University of Minnesota. The funding will be received in three amounts, Dr. Mellata has already received the first $24,675. The project focuses on evaluating cold plasma technology to eliminate Listeria bacteria in cheese, without affecting the food quality. The Listeria bacteria is the cause of the disease listeriosis which can severely affect those with weakened immune systems, such as newborns or older adults. Mellata’s research will contribute to lowering the rate of listeriosis infections in the general population.

Matthew Rowling and Joseph Webb receive award to examine how eating whole eggs across the lifespan impacts the brain
Matthew Rowling, associate professor in food science and human nutrition, and his graduate student Joseph Webb, received $22,000 from the Egg Nutrition Center to support research examining how egg consumption contributes to health across the lifespan and prevention of chronic disease. This research is focused on examining if egg consumption modifies inflammation in the brain, as well as determining if eating eggs affects memory function. Their overall goal will be to understand how eating eggs affects memory and gene expression in the prefrontal cortex of the brain in young, middle-aged, and aged populations.
Changes in the immune system explain why belly fat is bad for thinkingIowa State researchers have found for the first time that less muscle and more body fat may affect how flexible our thinking gets as we become older, and changes in parts of the immune system could be responsible. These findings could lead to new treatments that help maintain mental flexibility in...

Buddhi Lamsal awarded funding for insect protein research: Buddhi Lamsal, a professor in food science and human nutrition, received $60,000 for a one-year project funded by the All Things Bugs LLC for the company’s effort of commercializing the production of insect protein production. The project focuses on extraction pure protein from edible insects, which are considered a more sustainable source of animal protein because they need less water and space compared to the conventional meat industry.
Getting the most protein out of legumes and oilseedsPick up a protein bar or a protein shake, and chances are, the main source of protein in it comes from soybeans and other legumes. Researchers at Iowa State are finding ways to improve the protein extraction process from legumes and make the most of them in food applications.

Food science and...

Nuria Acevedo receives award for research on soybean-oil based bigels as an alternative to animal fat in ground meat products
Nuria Acevedo, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, received $97,389 from the United Soybean Board for a two-year project. The project entails the development of an innovative edible bigel system with properties similar to animal fat. Edible bigels can be altered to mimic the properties of animal fat in smoked sausage while delivering the original health benefits of the product.

Buddhi Lamsal awarded funding to improve non-engineers' comprehension in food engineering courses
Food science and human nutrition associate professor Buddhi Lamsal received $49,980 from the USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service to improve food engineering and processing courses to accommodate non-engineering students. The project, “Enhancing Learning Outcomes in Food Engineering and Processing Courses for Non-Engineers Using Student-Centered Approaches,” will use a multiple-method approach to revise courses to bolster comprehension through a student focus. The project will contribute to existing knowledge on student comprehension.