The Texas A&M Nutrition and Food Science Department was well represented at the recent Longhorn Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Technical Sessions and Suppliers Night event. Twenty-five undergraduate students, three graduate students and two faculty members took part in the annual event that included over 300 Exhibitors and over 1,000 attendees. The students and faculty networked with ingredient suppliers, processing equipment manufacturers, food scientists from Consumer Package Goods (CPG) companies, and third party food analysis lab representatives. The group also gained new insights into sugar reduction challenges in the beverage industry and challenges to pathogen detection in different food matrices during the technical sessions. Our department also had the opportunity to promote our new Food Diversity Innovation Program to food industry professionals.
The 2018 Dietetic Internship Preparation Workshop (DIPW) was held on Saturday, October 13th. The DIPW this year was the largest it had ever been and held for the first time in the beautiful Hildebrand Equine Complex. Over 200 students from across the state came to the DIPW. Students had the opportunity to hear from six different RDs with varying specialties, ranging from clinical to research experience. The Dietetic Internship (DI) Programs Fair was the largest it had ever been, with 19 different programs represented. The fair gave students the opportunity to meet the program directors, network with them, and learn more about their internships. Students also received a spiral created by the planning committee and listened to a presentation from Mrs. Karen Beathard about the internship matching process.
Scientists at Texas A&M University participated in a day-long Grand Challenges Symposium (sponsored by the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences) on the Effects of diet on cross-talk between gut microbiota and host physiology.
Recent evidence indicates that gastrointestinal-derived microbes (microbiome) may ultimately be the missing link to the development of chronic diseases in humans and may also explain the benefits of health-promoting diets. For example, targeted dietary interventions can modulate the gut microbiome for the purpose of favorably impacting gut biology, thus preventing a broad range of chronic diseases, including colon cancer, fatty liver disease, obesity, asthma and coronary heart disease.
The Symposium organizers (Robert Chapkin and Clinton Allred, Nutrition & Food Science, TAMU) brought together an interdisciplinary group of researchers with complementary skills in nutrition, genetics, microbiology, computational biology, cancer cell biology, and chemoprevention. In total, seven invited speakers, Drs. Wanqing Liu (Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wayne State University), Yuxiang Sun (Nutrition & Food Science, TAMU), Ivan Ivanov (Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, TAMU), Jimmy Crott (Nutrition Research on Aging, Tufts University), Christian Jobin (Infectious Diseases & Pathology, University of Florida), Yi Xu (Institute of Biosciences & Technology, TAMHSC), and Johanna Lampe (Cancer Prevention, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center) discussed issues related to the far reaching impact of gut microbiota on the initiation and treatment of chronic diseases. Ultimately, these investigators hope to submit a competitive research grant to the National Institutes of Health for the purpose of establishing a Center for Advancing Research on Botanical and Other Natural Products (Carbon) at
TAMU. The primary research focus of this Center is to identify plant-derived botanicals with the potential to favorably modulate the gut microbiome and thus benefit human health.
To read more about this symposium, click here.
NFSC Students Participate in Fall Family Festival
Dr. Natividad Robert Fuentes Awarded Second Place Distinguished Postdoctoral Poster Presentation
Dr. Natividad Robert Fuentes, a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of Dr. Robert Chapkin, was awarded Second Place Distinguished Postdoctoral Poster Presentation at the Texas A&M 3rd Annual Postdoctoral Research Symposium on September 19th, 2018.
Anna Salvador Receives Travel Award
Anna Salvador, a rising third year nutrition PhD student in Dr. David Threadgill’s laboratory, received a travel award from the American Society for Nutrition at the Aegean Conference. The Aegean Conference is the first International Conference on Precision Nutrition and Metabolism in Public Health and Medicine. The conference was held in Crete, Greece on September 21-26, 2018. Anna presented a platform talk, ‘Implementing precision dietetics to predict metabolic health in a genetically heterogeneous mouse model’, where she described her work toward identifying a biomarker for metabolic sensitive to carbohydrate consumption.
Natasha Quailes Awarded People's Choice Award for Best Poster
Natasha Quailes is a Lecturer for Food Systems Industry Management. Ms. Quailes has been conducting research on xanthophylls (lutein and zeaxanthin) and their effect on an inflammation pathway that leads to apoptosis, a part of a disease known as diabetic retinopathy. She submitted her preliminary findings to present at a research symposium for UTRGV’s School of Medicine event and was notified that her poster won an award for people’s choice. Out of the over 150 posters that were in the symposium her poster received the most votes from the community in attendance for best poster.
Zahra Mohammad Receives Awards and Presents Research
Zahra Mohammad, a PhD student under Dr. Alejandro Castillo, received multiple awards and scholarships this year from three professional organizations. She received the 2018 International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Travel Scholarship, which covered all travel expenses to the conference. Zahra was also awarded the 2018 ASM Research Capstone Fellowship and outstanding graduate and postdoctoral scholarship from American Society for Microbiology. In addition, she was awarded a Feeding Tomorrow Scholarship from the Institute for Food Technologists. These awards allowed her to present three researches at three professional organizations.
Dietetic Students Participate in Operation Lone Star
Operation Lone Star is an annual emergency preparedness exercise that helps South Texas communities get ready for disasters and provides free medical services.
The Texas A&M University Dietetic Program in Dietetics (DPD) collaborated with the Heath Science Center to provide health services to South Texans.
To learn more about Operation Lone Star, click here.
2018 Study Abroad Texas
During the month of a July, a group of seven Food Science undergraduate and five Food Science graduate students embarked on a high-impact study away course in San Antonio. Better known as Study Abroad Texas-Food Science, this course allows students to connect and apply their knowledge of food chemistry, food processing, food safety, nutrition, and product development to real world applications in production of safe, nutritious and quality foods. The study away course also allows students to network with food industry professionals so that students can discuss future job opportunities and gain insight into professional growth as a food scientist.
Thanks to the generous support of a donor and the partnership of employees at host companies, the students were immersed in food processing facility tours and hands-on demonstrations and modules at C.H. Guenther and Son, Inc., FGF Brands Texas (formerly Hill Country Bakery), H-E-B, Central Market, and the Spoetzl Brewery.
Hosted by Larry Nolan of FGF Brands Texas, students experienced firsthand how quality ingredients, ideation, food processing and food packaging ensure delicious and safe baked goods at restaurants, cafes and grocery outlets throughout Texas and the U.S.
Pictured from left to right on back row: Mehdi Hashemi (Doctoral student), Rebecca Creasy (faculty), Kendall Hough (undergraduate), Larry Nolan (FGF Brands Texas); middle row: Fariha Irshad (Doctoral student), Swanie Kang (undergraduate), Amanda Herrera (undergraduate), Kimoi Romero (undergraduate), Isis Ortega (undergraduate), Kimberly Votaw (undergraduate), Emily Donaldson (undergraduate), Helen Sarbazi (Doctoral student); front row: Karen Corleto (Doctoral student), Valeria Rizzi (Masters student).
Students toured the Spoetzl Brewery and learned how the application of food microbiology, food engineering, food chemistry, quality assurance, and packaging intersect to ensure a consistent, refreshing Shiner beer product for all consumers.
Pictured from left to right: Kendall Hough (undergraduate), Fariha Irshad (Doctoral student), Valeria Rizzi (Masters student), Amy Thurmond (Spoetzl Brewery), Kiomi Romero (undergraduate), Isis Ortega (undergraduate), Mehdi Hashemi (Doctoral student), Emily Donaldson (undergraduate), Amanda Herrera (undergraduate), Kimberly Votaw (undergraduate), Karen Corleto (Doctoral student), Swanie Kang (undergraduate), Helen Sarbazi (Doctoral student).