News and Events

Pragathi Kamarasu Wins Fellowship to Foster Food Safety

Pragathi Kamarasu Wins Fellowship to Foster Food Safety

Kamarasu is collaborating with Food Science Extension Associate Professor Amanda Kinchla on a research project that’s funded by a Food Safety Fellowship she received in September from the Capital Area Food Protection Association (CAFPA), with sponsorship from the Kikkoman Biochemifa Corporation.

Her research will involve conducting surveys and leading workshops designed to encourage produce-handling professionals to stay abreast of and follow CDC-recommended cleaning and sanitation practices. It will also include investigating the role ATP testing can play in ensuring better sanitation of processing equipment. 

PhD candidate receives predoctoral fellowship

Cassandra Suther, PhD student

Food science Ph.D. candidate Cassandra Suther has received a prestigious predoctoral fellowship of $180,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) to study the effect of norovirus on the development and severity of food allergies. 

Suther was doing an experiment, focusing on a well plate containing multiple small cavities, when she received the news about her fellowship over email. “I was so excited I dropped my 96-well plate in the sink,” she recalls. “Luckily, it was fine. It is such an honor to receive the award and I look forward to conducting the research.”

Suther is set to complete her doctorate next year and plans to continue allergy research at UMass Amherst. “After that, I want to work in a government laboratory and pursue academic editing,” she says.

Partnership to develop sustainable food products

student displays plant burgers

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is among nine institutions chosen to collaborate with Big Idea Ventures to help develop and commercialize new, sustainable food products and agricultural innovation that will fuel economic development in rural communities, the New York City-based venture capital firm announced Tuesday.

In January, Big Idea Ventures launched the Generation Food Rural Partners (GFRP) fund, a $125 million target fund that aims to accelerate the commercialization of groundbreaking, university-developed intellectual property involving “the new food space.” North Carolina State was the initial collaborator.

“Big Idea Ventures is a good match for us,” says David Sela, associate professor of food science and director of the Fergus M. Clydesdale Center for Foods for Health and Wellness. “We’re into sustainability; we’re into innovation; we’re into real-world solutions; and that’s where our interests align.”

UMass Amherst nutrition scientist David Sela receives NIH grant to advance understanding of beneficial microbiomes in babies

David Sela, a nutrition scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has received a five-year, $1.69 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate how nitrogen in human milk is used by beneficial microbes in the infant gut to potentially play an important role in pediatric nutrition and development.

CNS News September 2,  2021.