Alabama A&M University Graduate Programs in Food Science and Technology

Department Chairperson: Dr. Martha Verghese, 256-372-4176

Address: Department of Food Science & Animal Industries, Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL 35762

Phone: (205)851-5445, Fax: (205)851-5432

Degrees offered: M.S., and Ph.D.


Program Description

Entrance Requirements: M.S. program - Student must have a Bachelor of Science degree in either in Food science, life sciences, chemistry or engineering or mathematics. Other than food science graduates are required to take prerequisite courses in food science. Minimum GPA - 2.75/4.00.

Ph.D. program - A M.S. degree in either Food Science or related sciences area (Microbiology, Nutrition, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry etc.). Minimum GPA at M.S. of 3.25/4.00. GRE score of 1200, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement on career objectives.

Tuition and Fees: Tuition - in state - $103/credit hour. Tuition - out of state - $206/credit hour. Students receiving assistantship pay instate tuition.

Degree Requirements: M.S. - Thesis Option - Minimum of 30 semester hours including 24 credit hours of course work and 6 credit hours of thesis research. Students with a B.S. degree from non-food science major require at least 12 semester hours of core courses in food science in addition to the above mentioned course credit hours.

Non-thesis Option - Minimum of 36 semester hours including 32 credit hours of course work and 4 credit hours of master's report which is in the form of a thesis project on a topic determined by the advisory committee. Passing a comprehensive examination is required to complete the degree requirements.

Ph.D. - A minimum of 28 credit hours beyond M.S. level; at least 2 semester hours of seminar; passing one foreign language or a scientific programming language. At least 12 semester hours of dissertation research.

Faculty Research Interests

JOHN C. ANDERSON: Associate Professor, Food Science/Food Engineering

Research Interests: Utilization of food legume seeds, particularly the development of peanuts in product forms adaptable to lesser-developed regions of the world; and characterization of peanut pastes and peanut butters in terms of stabilization through post-processing steps and the rheology of the products realized. Other under-utilized food legume seeds have been investigated through processes to decorticate seeds for flour preparations for incorporation into traditional and novel foods. Adaptations of extrusion technology, including a novel approach that combines an expelling function with extrusion texturizing to make both an oil component and a partially de- oiled meat substitute of oilseed resources, will be aided by computer modeling analyses to characterize the products and process behaviors with engineering technology.

ARUN K. BHUNIA: Assistant Professor, Food Microbiology/Immunochemistry/Food Safety

Research Interests: Enhance the safety and quality of foods by using the knowledge and experience of microbiology, immunology, tissue culture and protein chemistry. 1) Detection of food-borne pathogens by monoclonal antibody technology, 2) pathogenic mechanisms, and 3) molecular characterization and application of bacteriocin as a food preservative.

C.B. CHAWAN: Associate Professor, Nutrition/Physiology

Research Interests: Evaluation of protein digestibility; functional development of the gastrointestinal tract in laboratory animals; manipulation of gastrointestinal tract microflora in livestock and poultry; food microstructure studies with wet-SEM; and effects of gamma radiation on poultry meat and further processed poultry meat products.

JULIO E. CORREA: Assistant Professor, Animal Nutrition and Metabolism

Research Interests: Rumen metabolism of nitrogenous compounds and in intestinal amino acid utilization response to different energy and protein sources, site and extent of nutrient digestion as affected by different feedstuffs and feed additives in cattle; performance and body composition (protein and fat) in cattle as affected by products obtained through biotechnical methods.

HORTENSE W. DODO: Assistant Professor, Food Biotechnology/Plant Molecular Biology

Research Interests: Recombinant DNA technology, cloning, sequencing and molecular characterization of genes involved in the lipid biosynthesis pathway. Genetic manipulation of genes encoding fatty acids of commercial and nutritional importance to improve their functionality and nutritional quality. Molecular approaches to insects and disease resistance in plants. Detection of proteinase inhibitors in food, and their impact on human and animal nutrition.

ARTHUR FELIX: Professor, Animal Nutrition

Research Interests: Evaluation of physically and chemically treated crop residues plus ensiling as feed for ruminants; use of in vitro and in vivo techniques in evaluating the feeding value of high-sucrose sweet sorghum in ruminant rations; evaluation of triticale cultivars in rations for feeder pigs (farming systems research); production of sheep and goats under rotational (strip) grazing systems; and international research involving sheep and goat production and feed using crop residues. Performance of grass-legume mixtures under mixed animal species grazing.

JACQUELINE UMSTEAD JOHNSON: Assistant Professor, Animal Physiology/Resident Veterinarian

Research Interests: Reproductive physiology and endocrinology with emphasis on: 1) pathogenic mechanisms of bacteria in the female reproductive tract, and immunologic responses related to female uterine defense mechanisms, 2) gamete physiology and the effect of pharmaceuticals and other substances (in medical management of disease) on spermatogenesis, 3) biotechnology applications to embryo micromanipulation and cryopreservation as it impacts animal production and species preservation, and 4) nutrition and its effect on reproductive efficiency.

VICTOR NWOSU: Research Assistant Professor, Lipid Biochemistry

Research Interests: Lipid and nutritional biochemistry, as well as evaluation and determination of antioxidant activity of compounds present in plants and other natural sources.

ONUMA OKEZIE: Professor, Food Science/Nutrition

Research Interests: Characterization and functionality of proteins from cereals and oil seeds; new product applications of cereals and oil seeds and food quality evaluation; development of food uses of under-utilized legumes, roots and tuber crops; and effects of processing on nutrient quality and availability.

RAMKISHAN RAO: Professor, Nutrition and Biochemistry

Research Interests: Nutritional and health aspects of milk fermented by lactic cultures, particularly lactose intolerance, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic and anticholesterogenic properties. Research related to the effect of irradiation on the nutritional quality of poultry meat; international nutrition, specifically the development of weaning foods; dairy analogs from peanut milk; lipase catalyzed synthesis of flavor esters; and fortification of combat rations.

FRANCIS RUVUNA: Associate Professor, Animal Breeding and Genetics

Research Interests: Decision analysis and information technology in agriculture; systems modeling and application in animal production; crossbreeding and exploitation of heterosis in ruminant production systems, and genetic basis of disease resistance.

OLA GOODE SANDERS: Associate Professor, Food Science and Food Nutrition

Research Interests: Sensory evaluation, flavor chemistry and nutrition, particularly the areas of flavor and texture profile analysis of meat products; flavor isolation and identification of flavor compounds in irradiated poultry meat, sensory perception in the elderly, children and disease- related patients; and nutritional education programs or wellness programs as related to preschool children, adolescents and college students.

G. R. SUNKI: Professor, Food Science/Microbiology

Research Interests: Use of lactic cultures for food safety and shelf-life extension; food irradiation in controlling the microbial population in meats; meat quality evaluation and improvement; and food fermentation and product development.

LLOYD T. WALKER: Assistant Professor, Food Chemistry/Meat and Muscle Biology

Research Interests: Evaluation of muscle cell biochemistry on the quality of meat. Areas of emphasis include: 1) muscle protein degradation, 2) the effect of various processing schemes on the tenderness and value of meat, including the prevention of toughening, 3) improvement of meat tenderness through manipulation of endogenous enzymes associated with tenderization, and 4) the use of extrinsic enzyme preparations in meat tenderness.