Two Food Science Doctoral Students Continue Winning Excellence Awards for Research

Ruojie “Vanessa” Zhang
Ruojie “Vanessa” Zhang
Zipei “Zach” Zhang
Zipei “Zach” Zhang

Two doctoral students of food science professor David Julian McClements who recently received top awards from the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) at its annual meeting have gone on to win more recognition for their research excellence. 

McClements reports that Ruojie “Vanessa” Zhang won first place in June in the Product Development Student Research Paper Poster Competition for her poster, “Encapsulation of lactase (β-galactosidase) into novel hydrogel beads for the effective treatment of lactose intolerance.” This paper was presented at the annual Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) meeting in Las Vegas, Nevadea.

Earlier, Vanessa Zhang had won the 2018 Thomas H. Smouse Memorial Fellowship, which carries a $10,000 stipend, $5,000 in research and travel funds and an award lecture at AOCS annual meeting. She also won the 2017 Hans Kaunitz Award, a $1,000 honorarium and a $500 travel allowance to the society’s annual meeting, where she will present an award lecture.

McClements adds that Zipei “Zach” Zhang won the Feeding Tomorrow Graduate Scholarship from IFT, as well as second place in the American Association for Food Scientists’ Student Research Paper Poster Competition for his poster titled, “Edible hydrogel beads fabrication with self-regulating microclimate pH properties: Retention of enzyme activity after exposure to gastric conditions” at the IFT meeting in Las Vegas last month.

Earlier, Zach Zhang had won the Honored Student Award sponsored by the AOCS Foundation with its $1,000 scholarship, plus the Peter and Clare G. Kalustian Award with its $1,000 scholarship. As part of this Ph.D., Zhang has published more than 25 scientific research articles, McClements notes.

McClements says, “Both students have now won several highly competitive and prestigious awards and we are delighted they have received such recognition for their food science research. It reflects very well on our food science graduate program.”

Also in Las Vegas, McClements gave an invited talk, “Development of Nutrient Delivery Systems,” on how nanotechnology principles might be used to increase the bioavailability of macronutrients and micronutrients, for example, oil-soluble vitamins A, D, and E, nutraceuticals, fish oil and so on, for starving and malnourished people in developing companies.  This meeting, named “Improving the Nutritional Value of Foods in the USAID Food Aid Basket: Optimization of Macro and Micro Nutrients, Food Matrices, Novel Ingredients and Food Processing Technologies,” was organized by Tufts University and the U.S. Agency for International Development.