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Mary Ann Lila

Professor, Food Bioprocessing & Nutrition Sciences and Director, Plants for Human Health Institute


600 Laureate Way, Room 1333, Kannapolis, NC 28081


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.

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


  • 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

Recent Publications

  1. Kay, Kristine L., Renee C. Strauch, Cheryl D. Granillo, Megan W. Bame, Jia Xiong, Aubrey C. Mast, Britt Burton-Freeman, Colin D. Kay and Mary Ann Lila. 2021. The Berry Health Tool Chest – an evidence map and interactive resourceNutrition Reviews:  In Press.
  2. Sato, Amy Y., Gretel G. Pellegrini, Meloney Cregor, Kevin McAndrews, Roy B. Choi, Maria Maiz, Olivia Johnson, Linda D. McCabe, George P. McCabe, Mario G. Ferruzzi, Mary A. Lila, Munro Peacock, David B. Burr, Cindy H. Nakatsu, Connie M. Weaver, Teresita Bellido. 2021. Skeletal protection and promotion of microbiome diversity by dietary boosting of the endogenous antioxidant response. Journal of Bone & Mineral Research:  In Press. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.4231
  3. McClements, David Julian, Rodolphe Barrangou, Colin Hill, Josef L. Kokini, Mary Ann Lila, Anne S. Meyer and Liangli Yu.  2021.  Building a resilient, sustainable, and healthier food supply through innovation and technology.  Annual Reviews Food Science & Technology 12:6.1-6.28.
  4. Lawrence, Marcus M., Kevin A. Zwetsloot, Susan T. Arthur, Chase A. Sherman, Joshua R. Huot, Vladimir Badmaev, Mary Grace, Mary Ann Lila, David C. Nieman, and R. Andrew Shanely. 2021. Phytoecdysteroids do not have anabolic effects in skeletal muscle in sedentary aging mice.  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18:370. 10.3390/ijerph-1048817
  5. Hughes, Nicole, Michaela K. Connors, Mary H. Grace, Mary Ann Lila, Brooke N. Willans, Andrew J. Wommack. 2021. The same anthocyanins served four different ways: Insights into anthocyanin structure-function relationships from the wintergreen orchid, Tipularia discolorPlant Science 303: 110793.
  6. Diaz, Joscelin, E. Allen Foegeding and Mary Ann Lila. 2021. Whey protein-polyphenol aggregate particles mitigate bar hardening reactions in high protein bars. LWT Food Science & Technology 138:110747
  7. Aldayel, Tahany, Ghedeur Alshammary, Ulfat Omer, Mary H. Grace, Mary Ann Lila, Mohammed A. Yahya.  2020.  Hypoglycaemic, insulin releasing, and hepatoprotective effect of the aqueous extract of Aloe perryi Baker resin (Socotran Aloe) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Journal of Taibah University for Science (TUSC) 14: 1671-1685. Taylor & Francis.   10.1080/16583655.2020.1855859
  8. Mengist, Molla F., Haley Burtch, Hawi Debelo, Marti Pottorff, Candice Nunn, Sydney Corbin, Colin D. Kay, Nahla Bassil, Kim Hummer, Mary Ann Lila, Mario G. Ferruzzi, Massimo Iorizzo. 2020. Phenotyping diversity of phenolic bioaccessibility in blueberry germplasm to develop a framework for genetic studies to improve efficiency of bioactive delivery. Scientific Reports 10:17311 |
  9. Matta, Fernanda, Jia Xiong, Mary Ann Lila, Neil I. Ward, Mónica Felipe-Sotelo, Debora Esposito. 2020. Chemical composition and bioactive properties of commercial and non-commercial purple and white açaí berries. Foods 9: 1481. doi:10.3390/foods9101481
  10. Pambianchi, Erika, Francesca Ferrara, Alessandra Pecorelli, Brittany Woodby, Mary Grace, Jean-Philippe Therrien, Mary Ann Lila, Giuseppe Valacchi. 2020. Blueberry extracts as a novel approach to prevent ozone-induced cutaneous inflammasome activation. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2020: 9571490
  11. Nieman, David C., Nicholas D. Gillitt, Guan-Yuan Chen, Qibin Zhang, Wei Sha, Colin D. Kay, Preeti Chandra, Kristin L. Kay and Mary Ann Lila.  2020.  Blueberry and/or banana consumption mitigate cytochrome P450 oxylipin generation during recovery from 75-Km cycling: A randomized trial. Frontiers In Nutrition (Sport and Exercise Nutrition Section) 7: 121. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.00121
  12. Diaz, Joscelin T., E. Allen Foegeding and Mary Ann Lila. 2020.Formulation of protein-polyphenol particles for applications in food systems. Food & Function 11: 5091-5104.  DOI: 10.1039/D0FO00186D
  13. Xiong, Jia, Fernanda Matta, Mary H. Grace, Mary Ann Lila, Neil Ward, Monica Felipe-Sotela and Debora Esposito. 2020. Phenolic content, anti-inflammatory properties, and dermal wound repair properties of industrially processed and non-processed acai from the Brazilian Amazon. Food & Function 11: 4903-4914.
  14. Xiong, Jia, Yu Hsuan Chan, Thirumurugan Rathinasabapathy, Mary H. Grace, Slavko Komarnytsky and Mary Ann Lila. 2020. Enhanced stability of berry pomace polyphenols delivered in protein-polyphenol aggregate particles to an in vitro gastrointestinal digestion model. Food Chemistry 331: 127279. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.127279
  15. Aldayel, Tahany., Mary H. Grace, Mary Ann Lila, Mohammed A. Yahya, Ulfat Omer, Ghedeur Alshammary. 2020. LC-MS characterization of bioactive metabolites from two Yemeni Aloe spp. with antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties. Arabian Journal of Chemistry 13:  5040-5049
  16. Ferrara, Francesca, Erika Pambianchi, Alessandra Pecorelli, Brittany Woodby, Nicolo Messano, Jean-Philippe Therrien, Mary Ann Lila and Giuseppe Valacchi. 2020. Redox regulation of cutaneous inflammasome by ozone exposure. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 52:561-570.
  17. Luckring, E.J., P.D. Parker, H. Hani, M.H. Grace, M.A. Lila, J. Pierce and C.A. Adin. 2020. In vitro evaluation of a novel synthetic bilirubin analog as an antioxidant and cytoprotective agent for pancreatic islet transplantation. Cell Transplantation 29: 963689720906417. DOI: 10.1177/0963689720906417
  18. Mengist, Molla F., Mary H. Grace, Jia Xiong, Colin D. Kay, Nahla Bassil, Kim Hummer, Mario Ferruzzi, Mary Ann Lila and Massimo Iorizzo. 2020. Diversity in metabolites and fruit quality traits in blueberry enables ploidy and species differentiation and establishes a strategy for bioactive genetic studies. Frontiers in Plant Science – Plant Breeding 11:370.
  19. Hayes, Micaela, Marti Pottorff, Colin Kay, Allen Van Deynze, Juliana Osorio-Marin, Mary Ann Lila, Massimo Iorrizo and Mario G. Ferruzzi. 2020. In vitro bioaccessibility of carotenoids and chlorophylls in a diverse collection of spinach accessions and commercial cultivars. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 68:3495-3505. DOI:10.1021/acs.jafc.0c00158
  20. De Mejia, Elvira, Qiaozhi Zhang, Kayla Penta, Abdulkerim Eroglu, and Mary Ann Lila. 2020. The colors of health:  Chemistry, bioactivity and market demand for colorful foods and natural food sources of colorants. Annual Reviews Food Science & Technology 11: 10.1-10.38. 10.1146/annurev-food-032519-051729
  21. Woodby, Brittany, Kayla Penta, Alessandra Pecorelli, Mary Ann Lila and Giuseppe Valacchi. 2020. Skin health from the inside out. Annual Reviews Food Science & Technology 11: 5.1-5.20.
  22. Plundrich, Nathalie J., Andrew R. Smith, Luke Borst, Douglas B. Snider, Tobias Käser, Evan S. Dellon, Anthony Blikslager, Jack Odle, Mary Ann Lila and Scott M. Laster. 2020. Oesophageal eosinophilia accompanies food allergy to hen egg white protein in young pigs. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 50:95-104  DOI:10.1111/cea.13527
  23. Hughes, Nicole, Giana M. Gigantino, Mary H. Grace, Kevin M. Hoffman, Mary Ann Lila, Brooke N. Willans and Andrew Wommack. 2019. Photosynthetic profiles of green purple and spotted-leaf morphotypes of Tipularia discolor (Orchidaceae).  Southeastern Naturalist 18(4): 641-658.


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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)