University of Massachusetts Amherst

Food Science

FoodSci Logo cranberry image 4 crab

Faculty & Research




Research Centers

The Department of Food Science is dedicated to the education of undergraduate, graduate and nontraditional students in the field of Food Science and the study and application of science and technology to further basic knowledge, add value, foster economic development and provide a safe, healthful and high quality food supply.  We have a unique combination of teaching and research laboratories and a large pilot plant. The Department is the major academic center for food science in New England and the only research- oriented department of its kind in Massachusetts. Our research emphases are in the four broad areas of Physical-Chemical Properties for Food Quality & Function, Food Safety, Foods for Health and Wellness and Food Science Policy

Physical-Chemical Properties for Food Quality & Function

This group employs the basic principles and instrumental techniques of the physical and chemical sciences to improve our understanding of complex food systems, thus enabling the production of longer lasting, higher quality, and safer foods. The faculty members within this group carry out research in the areas of: molecular/structural basis of food properties; mechanical testing of foods; and development of technologies and identification of food ingredients to improve the texture, appearance, stability and taste of foods. The Physical-Chemical Properties for Food Quality & Function group has developed strong expertise in nanotechnology to help solve these problems. Biotechnology is also used by this group to utilize plant clonal lines to produce natural bioactive ingredients that improve the quality of food products.

Core Faculty: Drs. Decker, Goddard, Mahoney, and McClements

Contributing Faculty: Drs. Shetty, Nugen, Peleg, Xiao and Park

The Safety of Food

The area of food safety encompasses microbiological and toxicological problems related to the processing, handling, and consumption of food. The Food Safety Group in the Food Science Department has the expertise to address and solve numerous problems within the Food Industry associated with food pathogens. The faculty members in this group have expertise in the biochemical processes involved in the growth and detection of food borne pathogens and their toxins. Other areas of emphasis include the development of sensitive and rapid detection methods, mathematical models to assess and predict microbiological hazards, potential toxicological effects associated with consumption of food-grade nanoparticles and use of natural products as bacteriostats or bactericides.

Core Faculty: Drs. Labbe, Levin, McLandsborough, Nugen and Peleg

Contributing Faculty:Drs. Goddard, McClements and Shetty

Foods for Health and Wellness

The research focus of our Health and Wellness program focuses on areas such as: a) Identification of bioactive components in foods and food waste streams; b) Utilization of biological models to assess the molecular mechanisms and physiological effects of bioactive food components; c) Development of technologies to increase the stability, bioavailability and activity of novel health promoting compounds added to foods such that the resulting functional foods maintain desirable quality and safety over an extended shelf-life.

Core Faculty: Drs. Decker, McClements, Park, Shetty and Xiao

Contributing Faculty: Drs. Goddard, McLandsborough and Nugen

Food Science Policy Alliance

The Food Science Policy Alliance provides a scholarly venue for the objective evaluation of science-based food policies and regulatory issues for students, consumers, government and industry. It is built on a scholarly foundation offering a Master of Public Policy and Administration degree with a concentration in Food Science Policy. The degree is administered by the Center for Public Policy and Administration and Scholarships are available from the alliance for qualified students with a degree in food science or a related field. The program offers a course taught by internationally recognized guest lecturers from government, industry and consumer groups that is required for students pursuing the advanced degree providing for the education of well-trained graduates capable of developing and evaluating recommendations concerning national and international food policy.

Core Faculty: Drs. Clydesdale, and Decker

For more information about the food policy program and the alliance, pls. click here to download the PDF info sheet and click here for Food Science Policy Alliance student news.