Casimir Akoh, PhD
Dr. Akoh is a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia. Dr. Akoh's research is mainly on lipid biotechnology and phytochemicals. He is an internationally recognized expert on low calorie fat substitutes and structured lipids. He edited 6 books and his “Food Lipids” book, 3rd Edition (2008) is used worldwide as a text book for graduate instruction. He has over 570 publications and presentations
that includes more than 216 refereed publications, 35 book chapters, 3 patents, 230 oral presentations, and more than 128 invited presentations. He has received over $6.7 million in grant money to support his research. He is an Editorial Board member or Associate Editor of 6 journals that includes the Journal of Food Science. He was a member of the Governing Board of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) since 2001, elected Secretary in 2004 and reelected in 2006. He became Vice President of AOCS in 2007, President in 2008‑2009, and Past President in 2009‑2010. He served as Dixie IFT President, member of many IFT award committees, and the Book and Publications chair. Dr. Akoh was elected IFT Fellow in 2005, Fellow of the American Oil Chemists’ Society and Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2006. He received many awards that include the ILSI Future Leader Award, IFT Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Outstanding Ability in Research in Food Science and Technology, IFT Nicholas Appert Research Award, AOCS Supelco/Nicholas Pelick Research Award, University of Georgia Creative Research Medal Award, Gamma Sigma Delta Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award, D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research, and both the IFT and AOCS Stephen S. Chang Award.
What do you feel you can contribute to the growth and advancement of IFT?
International experience and proven leadership of a global organization such as AOCS and heavy involvement with IFT has prepared me to understand and to contribute to solving issues facing a complex organization like IFT.
Extensive travels around the world and interactions with scientists from different cultures gives me a different perspective and a deeper appreciation of what our profession needs and where it needs to be in the future (more global). This will guide me in my thoughts and contributions to the IFT board as we plan and execute IFT’s Strategic Plan.
I believe that one of the ways to advance the food science profession is through basic, applied, innovative and novel high quality impactful research relevant to the food industry, consumer, and animal/human health. I will use my expertise and experience to ensure that our profession strives to be the source of trusted and quality science.
What are the three most important strategic issues facing the profession and the industry that align with IFT’s goals and how would you address these as a member of the Board of Directors?
Membership Recruitment & Retention – Due to dwindling grant support and industry earnings, members choose which society membership will give them maximum value and which professional meetings to attend. I will work with the board to make sure we provide value to all members and institute corporate membership. I want members to be proud of their association with IFT and ensure that IFT becomes the must join and must attend Annual Meeting. That means that the quality of the annual meeting must improve to draw corporate executives, government and academicians. This aligns with the IFT global citizen and partner strategy.
IFT Foundation – The current economic climate has led to decline in many organizations’ Foundation support. IFT should be looking for more corporate and individual donors to help power the strategic goals of the society as envisioned by the board. As a member of the board, I will support the IFT Foundation as I have done in the past for IFT and AOCS and encourage 100% support commitment of board members. We will devise several categories of corporate membership with privileges attached to them. Current corporate donors will be enticed to move to higher ladder and new donors from within and outside the US will be approached to join corporate membership. We will strive to retain the current donors, highlight accomplishments with Foundation’s support and show how it benefits them and their organization as well as the IFT community. Foundation support is needed to support IFT strategic goals. Most of our products should be delivered through the web or have a web component. Part of Board’s function is to ensure the financial health of IFT and this is one way of increasing funding to provide value to IFT members.
Quality of Publications – Impact Factor (IF). Most journals and organizations worry about the IF of their journals and wonder what makes the authors choose where to publish. Even though IF may not be a true measure of the quality of a particular paper, nevertheless, it plays a major part in the promotion of professors and job search. As a member of the IFT Press Advisory Group, Associate Editor of JFS, JAOCS, other journals, and as Board member, I will stand and push for high quality publications. I believe that we must continue to recruit high quality review articles and manuscripts for our journals. This is in line with the IFT steward for the profession and community strategy.
Why do you want to serve on the Board of Directors and how has your work and volunteer experiences prepared you to be a strategic board member?
To help provide strategic direction to IFT based on international experience from academia and interactions with industry and government. To help IFT reach it potential as a global professional group and to champion the importance and role of food science in meeting the challenges of food security, food safety and healthy foods. The solution to the complex megatrends related to food requires cross science discipline and stakeholders to work collaboratively. IFT is the only professional body with the breadth, critical mass and international membership in food science to be able to make a difference.
What defines a successful board and how would you contribute?
IFT is a membership run organization by volunteers with the help of the IFT staff. I believe in service and have volunteered my services to IFT and AOCS since 1985. I chaired Dixie IFT section, served on IFT award juries, books and publications, editorial board of JFS and other journals, annual meeting committee, etc. In addition, I served as Biotechnology Division Chair at AOCS, on the governing board, as Secretary, Vice President and President of AOCS among other many elected and volunteer activities at both IFT and AOCS. I want to devote my energy and talents to serving IFT, especially now that my involvement in AOCS governance has been reduced. I would like to bring my many leadership experiences to the board and also to enhance the board’s international relations. In September 2010, I led a Fats and Oils Delegation to China. I have considerable experience working with and visiting South America, Asia (Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia), Central America, and Africa, and feel strongly that IFT should reach out to members and potential members from these countries.
What defines a successful board?
A successful board must be a “strategic board” that identifies mega issues, develop and prioritize strategies, and ensure the implementation of the strategies to meet member needs. The board should evaluate the strategic objectives every year and ensure that the IFT programs are aligned with the budget. They should provide clear vision and use the society’s resources to achieve the defined achievable strategic goals and mission of the society. The board should not micro manage the IFT headquarter staff nor the Executive Vice President of the organization. As a board member, I will contribute to the strategic plan discussions by making sure that we articulate/identify mega issues, are focused, have core purpose and core values, and help set and prioritize goals with measurable/deliverable outcomes.
PhD, 1988, Food Chemistry & Biochemistry, Washington State University
MS, 1985, Biochemistry, Washington State University
BSc Hons, 1981, Biochemistry, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
University of Georgia Distinguished Research Professor 2004-Present
University of Georgia Professor 2000-2004
University of Georgia Associate Professor 1995-2000
University of Georgia Assistant Professor 1992-1995
Alabama A&M University Assistant Professor 1990-1992
Texas A&M University Postdoctoral Research Associate 1989-1990
- IFT Samuel Cate Prescott Award Jury Chair 2010; Jury Member 2007-2010
- Fats and Oils Delegation to China Delegation Leader 2010-2010
- AOCS President 2008-2009
- IFT Journal of Food Science Associate Editor - Food Chemistry 2008-Present
- European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology Editorial Advisory Board Member 2008-Present
- AOCS Vice President 2007-2008
- IFT Press Advisory Group Chair 2007-2008
- Biotechnology Letters Editorial Board Member 2005-2006
- IFT Journal of Food Science Editorial Board Member 2004-Present
- AOCS Secretary 2004-2008
- Dixie IFT Phi Tau Sigma Judge Graduate Research paper Competition 2002
- Dixie IFT Councilor 2001-2002
- AOCS Annual Meeting Vice-chair, Technical Program 2001-2001
- AOCS Biotechnology Division Chair 2001-2004
- AOCS Governing Board Member 2001-2003
- IFT William Cruess Award Jury Member 2000-2003
- Food Chemistry Editorial Board Member 1999-2004
- AOCS Inform Associate Editor 1998-2003
- AOCS Biotechnology Division Vice Chair 1998-2001
- IFT Annual Meeting Co-chair, Public Relation 1998-1998
- IFT Annual Meeting Co-chair, Technical Oral Session – Food Chemistry 1998-1998
- AOCS Vice Chair, Publications Activities Coordinating Committee 1998-2000
- IFT Nicholas Appert Jury Member 1996-2000
- Dixie IFT Chair-elect 1996-1997
- AOCS Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society Associate Editor 1996-Present
- Journal of Food Lipids Editorial Board Member 1996-2009
- AOCS Biotechnology Division Member-at-Large 1995-1998
- AOCS Chair, Supelco Canvassing Committee 1995-1999
- IFT Annual meeting Program Committee 1995-1998
- IFT Graduate Research Paper Judge 1994
- Journal of Food Quality Editorial Board Member 1994-1996
- IFT Program Committee Member 1992-1994
- IFT Press Manuscript Review 1992
Professional and Community Recognition
- Nigerian Breweries Ltd. Prize for the best student in Biochemistry, June 1981, UNN
- Francis Premo Endowment Scholarship Award for Academic Excellence in Food Science, 1986-1987, Washington State University
- President's Honor Roll for Membership Recruitment, American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), 1992-Present
- Gamma Sigma Delta Junior Faculty Research Award, Honor Society of Agriculture, University of Georgia, April 1994
- Future Leader Awards of the International Life Sciences Institute of North America (ILSI N.A.), 1996 1997.
- IFT 1998 Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Outstanding Ability in Research in Food Science and Technology
- University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. 1999 Creative Research Medal Award
- Gamma Sigma Delta 2000 Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award, University of Georgia
- Prestigious 2003 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research, University of Georgia
- University of Georgia Distinguished Research Professor Award, 2004
- American Oil Chemists’ Society Stephen S. Chang Award for lipid research, 2004
- Elected Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, 2005
- ACS Publications Most Assessed Articles July September, 2005
- Elected Fellow of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 2006
- Elected Fellow of the American Chemical Society (Agricultural & Food Chemistry), 2006
- G. Malcolm Trout 18th Annual Lecturer, Dept. of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, 2006
- ACS Publications Hot Papers November, 2007
- ACS Publications Most Accessed Articles October-December, 2007
- IFT Stephen S. Chang Award, 2008, for Lipid or Flavor Science
- IFT Research and Development Award, 2008, for a recent significant research and development contribution to the understanding of food science, food technology, or nutrition
- Appointed member of the Board of Scientific and Policy Advisors of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), 2008 present
- AOCS, Biotechnology Division Lifetime Achievement Award winner, 2009
- Listed in the ISI Database of Highly Cited Researchers in Agricultural Science, 2009 present
- Listed by Springer Publisher as the Top 5 Most Cited Articles 2008/2009 from J Am Oil Chem Soc
- AOCS, Supelco/Nicholas Pelick AOCS Research Award (top society research award), 2012, for outstanding original research in fats, oils, lipid chemistry, or biochemistry.
- IFT, Nicholas Appert Award 2012, for preeminence in and contributions to the field of food technology