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WSU leads to meet global need
Grant funds Ph.D. training in sustainable food safety
Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2012
Gustavo Barbosa-Cánovas, left, Shyam Sablani
and Juming Tang.
PULLMAN, Wash. – Food processing and packaging that ensures health and safety without wasting energy or the environment is an increasingly global dilemma. Washington State University recently received a grant to enhance training of Ph.D. students to address the challenge.
Faculty members in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering received a National Needs Fellowship award of $238,500.
Three fellows will be trained in an innovative outcomes-driven program that integrates research and professional experiences with coursework in engineering, applied sciences and professional development, said Shyam Sablani, assistant professor and co-principal investigator (PI) on the project.
The fellows will expand their perspectives through industrial internships at food product, processing and package development facilities of collaborating companies and federal laboratories. They will be trained in interdisciplinary, team-centered classroom and research environments that emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving skills without compromising individual originality.
"This program supports our vision to become a world leader in developing advanced processing and package solutions for commercial production of safe foods,” said Juming Tang, professor and co-PI.
Green technologies are the future of food production, processing and storage, said Gustavo V. Barbosa-Cánovas, professor and co-PI. The fellows project will continue to position WSU as a world leader in incorporating sound innovative approaches for sustainability, he said.
The fourth co-PI for the project is Denny Davis, professor in the WSU School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.
The global food industry faces increasing challenges in supplying an adequate quantity of safe and nutritious foods while meeting new societal, environmental and energy requirements. Advanced food processing and packaging technologies are a vital part of the solutions to those issues.
The WSU Ph.D. training program in food engineering is designed to prepare future leaders in developing integrated food processing and packaging technologies that markedly advance food safety, health, wellbeing and security in an eco-friendly environment. The fellows program will build on this Ph.D. training.
"The Graduate School is extremely proud to support this project, especially in such a highly competitive environment,” said Howard Grimes, vice president for research and dean of the WSU Graduate School.
The grant project is titled "Educating Food Engineers to Develop High-Performance Integrated Processing and Packaging Technologies that Enhances Food Safety and Quality.” Funding is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The project team’s effort are supported by the WSU Graduate School; Agricultural Research Center of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences; Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning; and Tribal Liaison Office.