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Joseph M. Awika

Awika, Joseph M.
Joseph M. Awika
Associate Professor
429C Heep Center
Undergraduate Education
Graduate Education
Courses Taught
FSTC 305. Fundamental Baking. (2-3). Credit 3. II Fundamentals of baking; chemical and physical properties of ingredients, methods of baking all products, fundamental reactions of dough, fermentation and oven baking. Prerequisite: CHEM 222 or 227 or approval of instructor.
FSTC 401. Food Product Development (2-3). Credit 3. II Design and develop food products using principles of food chemistry, food processing, nutrition, sensory analysis and statistics; team collaborate to improve food product characteristics to meet the needs of changing society. Prerequisites: FSTC 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 326 or registration therein.
FSTC 631. Food Carbohydrates. (3-0). Credit 3. Chemistry, structure, functionality and nutritional properties of food carbohydrates; fiber chemistry, functionality and nutritional properties, artificial sweeteners, starch structure and functionality and hydrocolloid functionality. Prerequisite: BICH 410. (Offered in alternate years.)
FSTC 681. Seminar in Food Science . (1-0). Credit 1. Oral reports and discussions of current research and developments in food technology designed to broaden understanding of problems and to stimulate research.

Research Statement

Dr. Awika’s broad research area is grain chemistry: Identifying mechanisms by which secondary plant metabolites and minor grain constituents can be optimized to improve food quality and human health. Current research interest focuses on how grain polyphenols interact with food macromolecules during processing, and the consequences of such interactions on product texture and attributes relevant to glucose metabolism and chronic inflammation. Our ongoing research investigates synergistic interactions of specific grain polyphenols in food matrix, and effect of such interactions on starch and protein functionality and enzyme degradation kinetics.

Dr. Awika is also engaged in international research collaborations with scientists in Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, China, and Mexico. His international research activities are aimed at improving nutritional and food-processing quality of indigenous cereals and legumes in Africa with the goal of reducing poverty and preventing disease among vulnerable groups.


Specialty: Food Science & Technology



Grain chemistry and biochemistry: Structural and functional properties of minor cereal components, (e.g., flavonoids and structural phenolics); new ways to enhance interactions of these compounds with starch and proteins to improve food quality and human health.

Cereal processing and quality: Investigating how grain composition and processing conditions can be optimized to benefit consumers in terms of health and product quality. Cereal grains are the primary source of nutrition (and calories) to humans globally, thus they play a critical role in ending hunger, but are also a major contributor to overnutrition and obesity. We work to identify and develop new technologies to make grains a primary food that helps solve health-related problems of both under- and over-nourished populations. Our work spans both domestic and global challenges, and our global collaborations have included Ethiopia, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Mexico and China, among others.

Research Area

Cereal Chemistry: Structural and functional properties of minor cereal components (e.g., flavonoids, structural phenolics), their interactions with starch and proteins, and impact on food quality and human health.


  1. Qi, T, Chen, Y, Li, H, Pei, Y, Woo, SL, Guo, X et al.. A role for PFKFB3/iPFK2 in metformin suppression of adipocyte inflammatory responses. J. Mol. Endocrinol. 2017;59 (1):49-59. doi: 10.1530/JME-17-0066. PubMed PMID:28559290 PubMed Central PMC5512603.
  2. Agah, S, Kim, H, Mertens-Talcott, SU, Awika, JM. Complementary cereals and legumes for health: Synergistic interaction of sorghum flavones and cowpea flavonols against LPS-induced inflammation in colonic myofibroblasts. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017;61 (7):. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600625. PubMed PMID:28155259 .
  3. Girard, AL, Castell-Perez, ME, Bean, SR, Adrianos, SL, Awika, JM. Effect of Condensed Tannin Profile on Wheat Flour Dough Rheology. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2016;64 (39):7348-7356. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b02601. PubMed PMID:27616442 .
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