General Research InterestPhysico-chemical properties of food materials and specifically phytochemical delivery systems
Research DescriptionMy research focus is the physico-chemical changes of functional foods during formulation, processing and storage as they impact the delivery of bioactives. We utilize molecular, structural and macroscopic analysis to fully characterize food material behavior in different conditions and subsequently can modify these products to deliver bioactives to targeted organs.
Transinstitutional WorkMost of our work is significantly enhanced by the various collaborators on the projects. We have worked with soy both in a soy-tomato drink and a soy bread. Our contribution was to optimize product quality while maintaining phytochemical stability and optimal delivery. Both products required extensive collaborations with the Medical School (phase I and II clinical trials), Human Nutrition (understanding the stability of phytochemicals during the digestive process as well as cell proliferation), Crop and Soil Science (to obtain optimal phytochemical profiles in the ingredients used to make the products) and Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (to study how marketable the products are to the average consumer). A similar approach was used in the development of functional fruit confections. A key collaborator was the College of Public Health since these confections are intended for possible prevention and treatment of oral cancer. Additionally, the College of Pharmacy was critical in lending their expertise to optimize dissolution and delivery rates of the phytochemicals.