IFT Members with Expertise on Microbiome, Diet and Health

Below is an alphabetical listing of IFT members with expertise in the area of microbiome, diet and health.  Each member provided their contact information, brief bio and agreed to post their information on this web page.

Contact Information

Brief Bio

Robert Hutkins
Graduate Committee Chair
Khem Shahani Professor of Food Science
University of Nebraska
Department of Food Science and Technology
338 FIC
Lincoln, NE  68583-0919
Tel: 402/472-2820
Fax: 402/472-1693
Email: rhutkins1@unl.edu

Robert Hutkins is the Khem Shahani Professor of Food Microbiology in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska.  His research is focused on metabolism of prebiotic carbohydrates by lactic acid and probiotic bacteria and their role in gastrointestinal health.  Prior to joining the faculty at Nebraska in 1987, Dr. Hutkins was a research scientist at Sanofi Bio Ingredients in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Missouri, his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and he was a Post-doctoral fellow at Boston University School of Medicine.

Sergio Pumarola
Tavern 17 19
08006 Barcelona SPAIN
Barcelona Barcelona 08006
Email: spumarola@gmail.com    

Sergio Pumarola is Cofounder of Bioglane, an Industrial Biotech company focused on iminosugars and other rare sugar and sugar mimetics.  He leaded the research on the functional role of dietary iminosugars, mainly focused on d-fagomine, a little known glucose mimetic available from buckwheat grain. Sergio has developed original research on the relevance of some sugar mimetics to modulate gut microbiota and also improving innate immune response. His activity in microbiota gut research includes several scientific papers, patents and speeches. Sergio has a B.S. in Pharmacy and Honors in Physiology and Nutrition from Universitat de Barcelona, Health Diploma from Escuela Nacional de Sanidad and an executive MBA from ESADE. Sergio Pumarola has been involved in Open Innovation, Corporate Development and Marketing on nutraceuticals and food ingredients for more than 20 years, as executive. He is an independent management consultant on international cooperative developments involving research and industry.

Seppo Salminen
Professor, Director
Functional Foods Forum
University of Turku
20014 Turku
Tel: +358-2-3336880
Mobile: +358400601394
Email: sepsal@utu.fi

Dr. Seppo Salminen is a professor of the Joint Program of the Life Sciences Faculty and Medical Faculty and Director of the Functional Foods Forum at the University of Turku, Turku, Finland.  Dr. Salminen's research focuses on intestinal microbiota and health, microbiota modulation, probiotics, prebiotics, functional foods, and novel foods. His contributions to intestinal microbiota studies and probiotic studies have garnered several international prizes such as the Grand Prix du Yoplait, the International Award for Modern Nutrition, and the Metchinikoff Prize. Professor Salminen has published over 300 referred publications in food and health, microbiology, probiotics, food safety, and functional foods and several book chapters and textbooks in probiotics, food additives, and functional foods. He is also a member of the editorial boards of the British Journal of Nutrition, Journal of Food Protection, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Bioscience and Microflora, Marcel Dekker Series in Food Science and Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition Science, and Food and Nutrition Research. Dr. Salminen is an expert member on several regulatory committees serving Finland and the European Union, including the European Food Safety Authority, NDA Scientific Panel, and ANZFA. Professor Salminen is a registered toxicologist (Finland and Eurotox) and member of several professional societies, including ASM, SOMED, FSNR, and IFT.  Prior to his roles with the University of Turku, Dr. Salminen was a visiting professor at BOKU University Vienna, Austria and RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Salminen received Masters degrees in Food Science and Nutrition and Food Chemistry and Microbiology from Washington State University, USA and the University of Helsinki, Finland, respectively, and earned his PhD in Nutritional Toxicology from the University of Surrey, UK.

David A. Sela, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Food Science
University of Massachusetts
Chenoweth Laboratory
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel: (413) 545-1010
Email: davidsela@umass.edu

Dr. David Sela’s research program is focused on the means by which dietary molecules influence the population structure, and often function, of the microbiota that colonize the gastrointestinal tract of humans. To this end, Dr. Sela brings several years of experience investigating naturally occurring bioactives in milk that promote a beneficial microbiome in infants and potentially adults. Dr. Sela’s lab examines host-microbial interactions mediated by nutrition at several levels of resolution. He is interested in the genomics and physiology of isolated microbial commensals, community-level form and function of the microbiome, as well as quantifying parameters of subject health in response to dietary manipulations of their microbiome. Dr. Sela joined the Department of Food Science at UMass after conducting postdoctoral research at the Foods for Health Institute at UC Davis. Previously, Dr. Sela earned a M.S. in Food Microbiology and Ph.D. in Microbiology.

Joanne L. Slavin, PhD, RD
Department of Food Science and Nutrition
1334 Eckles Avenue
St. Paul, MN  55108
Tel: (612) 624-7234
Fax: (612) 625-5272
Email: jslavin@umn.edu  

Dr. Joanne Slavin is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota.   She teaches hundreds of students yearly in Life Cycle Nutrition and Advanced Human Nutrition.  She has presented more than 350 invited scientific lectures around the world on topics including dietary fiber, carbohydrates, whole grains, and the role of diet in disease prevention.  Her research has generated more than $5 million dollars in competitive research grants on dietary fiber, whole grains, satiety, gut health, and the role of carbohydrates in disease prevention.  She is the author of more than 250 scientific publications, book chapters, and review articles and has advised 60 graduate students who work in universities, food companies, and health care facilities.  She is a Science Communicator for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and a member of numerous scientific societies, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).  She was a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC).  She is a frequent source for the media on topics ranging from kid’s eating to sports nutrition. Dr. Slavin received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a registered dietitian.