Face-to-Face: Meet Juming Tang
Ever wonder if anyone else is facing the same professional challenges as you? Or just looking to connect with some new people in your field? In IFT's Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.
This month meet...
Juming Tang, Professor of Food Engineering, Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University
- How did you get your start in the food industry?
My undergraduate degree was in mechanical engineering, but my graduate studies for my masters and Ph.D. gradually shifted to food engineering. In 1991, I took my first faculty job in a Food Science and Human Nutrition program in Nova Scotia, Canada, where I was responsible for food engineering and food technology courses. As part of a senior level food processing technology course, I took students to dozens of local food companies each year. Understanding the challenges faced by food companies through those visits helped me to shape my later research focus towards developing novel food technologies.
- What do you love about your job?
As a professor of food engineering, I enjoy the freedom of conducting creative research that has potential to positively influence future industrial operations. Over the last 15 years at Washington State University, I worked on innovative sterilization and pasteurization technologies with my research associates, graduate students, colleagues, and government/industrial collaborators. Some of the projects were extremely challenging. But we felt a great sense of satisfaction when reaching each major milestone. Seeing the professional growth in my graduate students from their freshman year to the time they receive their degrees and take jobs at research universities or major food companies is also a very rewarding experience for my job.
- What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
It has been a constant challenge in obtaining adequate funds and recruiting new talented students to sustain a strong research program.
- What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
Overall, three main sources of information keep me updated: 1) daily and/or weekly news from different professional organizations (e.g., IFT) through internet websites; 2) professional meetings and workshops; 3) professional journal articles. For example, several technical sessions in 2011 and 2012 IFT Annual Meetings and many recent newsletter articles brought to my attention the issues related to sodium reduction in processed foods. As a result, I have started a new exploratory project to study if short-time sterilization and pasteurization microwave processes could reduce the use of sodium in prepackaged foods/meals. It is likely that short processing times reduce the need to mask some of the over-cooked tastes otherwise caused by thermal processing operations.
- How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
I have been interacting with R&D researchers in major food companies over the past few years on several research projects. I have seen greater interest in a wide range of new technologies and packaging solutions that hold potential to provide safe and high quality convenient foods to consumers. This interest will likely remain strong.
- Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
A meal with grilled ginger salmon fillets, asparagus, baby carrots, and white/brown rice.
If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-604-0211.