Want to learn more about our research?
Animal and human clinical studies, as well as epidemiological studies, have demonstrated the association of proteins and phytochemicals with prevention of several diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, bone health problems, and postmenopausal symptoms. Therefore, the main focus of our research is improving the functionality and bioactivity of proteins and phytochemicals. Additionally, we aim to understand the fate of the bioactive components when subjected to various processing conditions. We are currently researching ways to reduce allergenicity and improve functionality, stability, and bioactivity of food proteins, following enzymatic hydrolysis and other natural mechanisms. Our lab group is also studying the stability and bioavailability of soy isoflavones, as affected by their chemical structure, following novel analytical techniques.
Until recently, our lab has solely targeted proteins and phytochemicals from common protein sources, including soy, whey, and casein. In the last couple of years, our lab has added sustainable crops to its repertoire. Most notably, we have been researching intermediate wheatgrass and millet (novel perennial grains), hazelnuts, and most recently camelina, an oilseed. These crops have excellent environmental benefits, among them reduced soil and water erosion, increased carbon sequestration, and reduced nitrogen leaching. Through a collaborative effort with geneticists, breeders, and agronomists, we ultimately hope to see them commercialized. Our food science team focuses on characterizing the crops, conducting storage studies, and understanding and improving their functionality. If you'd like to hear more about what our lab is doing with these perennial crops, please check out the KMSQ "Farm Connections" segment and the Big Ten Network commercial our researchers were featured in in Fall 2016:
KMSQ "Farm Connections" segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLeaJvDnTCwRqMY_G7xRP9Fl9liFMiCqzX&v=9K97pM2_XJ0
Big Ten commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sZQ6u8G3wo