Foods for Health and
Well-Being

Good Food, Good Health

We translate our knowledge and research into the bioactive, nutritional, microbial, sensorial, and structural elements of food into a variety of ways to promote public health, including improved food products and ingredients, bioactive interventions, prevention programs and educational platforms.

We are a group of diverse scientists who:

  • 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 healthy foods and ingredients.
  • Translate scientific discoveries to food, bioprocessing, nutrition and health professionals, stakeholders, policymakers, and the public.
  • Create interdisciplinary approaches to investigate foods for healthy living.

Faculty and Research Interests

Click on the faculty member’s name to learn more about their research and expertise.

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 the lower sodium content of soups

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 status
  • 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 processors (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 sweet potatoes
  • 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