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Mary Ann Lila

David H. Murdock Distinguished Professor, Food Bioprocessing & Nutrition Sciences and Director, Plants for Human Health Institute

600 Laureate Way, Room 1333, Kannapolis, NC 28081

View CV 


Teaching Activities

Guest lecture in areas of functional food, developing world nutritional interventions and bio exploration.

Service Activities

  • Director, Plants for Human Health Institute
  • Vice-President, Global Institute for Bioexploration (GIBEX)
  • Affiliate Faculty, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, College of Natural Science & Mathematics


  • Senior Outstanding Global Engagement Award, Office of Global Engagement, NC State University, 2023
  • Copernico Bronze Medal, awarded by Provost Giorgio Zauli, University of Ferrara, for Outstanding Research in the Field of Food Technology and Nutrition, 2021
  • David H. Murdock Distinguished Professor, 2010-present
  • Babcock-Hart Award, 2020
  • Spitze Land-Grant Professorial Career Excellence Award, 2007
  • Fellow, Society for In Vitro Biology, 2003
  • Paul A. Funk Scholarship Recognition Award, 2001
  • Amoco Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Instruction, 1997
  • University Scholar, 1996
  • Lilly Endowment Teaching Fellow, 1987

Professional Memberships

  • Editorial Board, Annual Reviews Food Science & Technology
  • Amway Scientific Advisory Board
  • IWA Scientific Advisory
  • Executive Committee, NSF AccelNet (AI2EAR), 2020-present
  • American Society for Nutrition
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar and Lifetime Member
  • Society for In Vitro Biology


Ph.D. Plant Biology University of Wisconsin, Madison 1984

M.S. Plant Pathology University of Illinois 1980

B.S. Horticultural Sciences University of Illinois 1978

Area(s) of Expertise

Bioactive phytochemical components and their capacity to mitigate immunosuppression and inflammation. Rigorous structural characterization of phytoactive metabolites, elucidation of potentiating phytochemical interactions, bioavailability/bioaccessibility and functional ingredient characterization.

Research on edible protein-phytoactive colloidal aggregate (particle) formulation as a functional food ingredient, and for attenuation of food allergies. Investing in how the combination of flavonoid-rich diet and routine aerobic exercise may potentiate cognitive benefits and reduce cognitive decline in an aging population, via mechanisms mediated by the gut microbiome.