Foods for Health & Well-Being


Our vision for the Department is to be the preeminent program in identifying bioactive, nutritional,
microbial, sensorial, and structural elements of food related to health and
by establishing mechanisms of action and translating that knowledge
into food products and ingredients, bioactive interventions, prevention programs, and educational
platforms for promoting public health.


  • Develop innovative research programs to establish mechanisms of known and new bioactive compounds
    and microbes and elucidate how food structure contributes to bioactivity.
  • Develop science-based technologies for producing and distributing appealing, healthy foods and
  • Translate scientific discoveries to food, bioprocessing, nutrition and health professionals,
    stakeholders, policy makers, and the public.
  • Create interdisciplinary approaches to investigate foods for healthy living.

Jon Allen

  • Fortifying vitamins A and D in low-fat foods
  • Identification and stability of sweet potato components that lower blood glucose
  • Whey permeate, delactosed permeate, and delactosed whey as ingredients to lower sodium content of

Rodolphe Barrangou

  • Biology and genetics of CRISPR-Cas immune systems in bacteria
  • Building phage resistance in probiotic strains and starter cultures used in foods

Lisa Dean

  • Determination of phytochemicals in peanut plant parts
  • Characterization of peanut seed for nutritional components
  • Flavor aspects of peanut seed as affected by cultural practices

MaryAnne Drake

  • Identification of chemical components responsible for flavors in WPC80 and WPI
  • Flavor and flavor chemistry of cheese with reduced fat contents across ripening
  • Identifying new market opportunities for dairy beverages in the Hispanic market

April Fogleman

  • Improving maternal and infant health care by providing evidence based research to inform health care
    protocols and policies

Suzie Goodell

  • Exploration of the relationships between preschoolers and their caregivers (parents and teachers)
    and the impact of those relationships on eating behaviors, food consumption, and weight
  • Qualitative and quantitative examinations of the nutrition education and mealtime environments in
    preschool settings
  • Development and evaluation of nutrition education programs focusing on obesity prevention for
    low-income, low-resource parents and their preschool-aged children

Keith Harris

  • Solving technical problems for local fruit and vegetable growers and processers (muscadine,
    chocolate, and elderberry producers)
  • Assisting growers/processers to bring products to market
  • Analyzing plant-based foods for phenolic and antioxidant content

Suzanne Johanningsmeier,
USDA-ARS Research Food Technologist

  • Develop reduced salt fermentation procedures for cucumbers
  • Preserve the textural, sensory, and visual qualities of fermented and acidified vegetables and
  • Develop fundamental knowledge of the biochemistry of bacterial responses to acid environments

Slavko Komarnytsky

  • Role of diet and nutrition in preventing chronic metabolic diseases and inflammation
  • Pathological mechanisms of insulin resistance and muscle loss
  • Botanicals and healthy aging

Mary Ann Lila

  • Discovery and pre-clinical characterization of bioactive plant compounds with benefits for human
    health, including hypoglycemic and adaptogenic properties
  • Extraction/fractionation of bioactive phytochemicals from in vivo fruit or vegetative
    tissues, and in vitro cell and root cultures
  • High protein and polyphenol bar formulation