Blaschek named Head of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Illinois
Hans-Peter M. Blaschek has been appointed Head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He succeeds Bruce M. Chassy in this position.

Blaschek joined Illinois’ food science faculty in 1980 as an Assistant Professor, rising to full Professor in 1991 and Interim Head in 2000. He also holds a Department appointment as Professor of Food Microbiology and Biotechnology, with research interests centering on the genetic manipulation of the acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) producing microorganism, Clostridium beijerinckii, for biotechnology application in the fermentation industry.

In the area of microbial food safety, his laboratory has focused on the development of genetic systems (i.e., transformation, shuttle vectors), as well as rapid detection systems for the foodborne pathogen Clostridium perfringens. Currently, his laboratory is involved in a collaborative relationship with the Chicago Department of Public Health and with other investigators at the University of Illinois who are interested in microbial food safety.

In the classroom, Blaschek teaches Food and Industrial Microbiology, Advanced Food Microbiology, and Food Microbiology for nonmajors. He is a recipient of the University of Illinois Foundation University Scholar’s Award, the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Evironmental Services (ACES) Funk Award, and the Excellence in Extramural Teaching Award. He is also a member of the College of ACES Academy of Teaching Excellence, has served as secretary to the ACES Executive Committee, and as Panel Manager for USDA’s NRI competitive grants program in the value-added nonfoods and biofuels areas.

Blaschek earned his B.A. in biological sciences from Rutgers College in 1974, and his master’s (1977) and doctoral (1980) degrees in food microbiology from Rutgers University.

Kaspar receives Wisconsin’s Pound Award for Research
Charles W. Kaspar, Associate Professor of Food Microbiology and Toxicology, Food Research Institute; and Associate Director of the Environmental Toxicology Center, University of Wisconsin at Madison, recently received the Pound Award for Research. The award is given annually by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to a mid-career faculty member for excellence in research.

Kaspar was honored for his work on Escherichia coli O157:H7. Since 1992, when he started studies, Kaspar has become a nationally and internationally respected authority on this subject. He has tracked the spread of the bacterium among dairy cattle on Wisconsin farms and also has contributed to our understanding of the survival of the bacterium under acidic conditions.

An IFT Member since 1985, Kaspar earned his B.S. degree in biology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in microbiology, from Iowa State University, Ames. He worked for the Food and Drug Administration and for Cargill Incorporated before joining the faculty of the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin in 1992.

Shukla joins U. of Illinois food science faculty as adjunct professor
Vijai K.S. Shukla, Director of the International Food Science Centre A/S, Denmark, has joined the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois as an adjunct professor. He will conduct research on lipid chemistry and processing jointly with the department’s associate professor William E. Artz.

Shukla has served as corporate Research & Development Director of Aarhus Oliefabrik, as well as Karlshamns, before he established the International Food Science Centre A/S, an independent research and development center for food ingredients, particularly fats/oils, in 1991. His research and development activities range from physical phenomena to the mechanism of autoxidation, isolation of lipids, spectral phenomena related to lipids, modern analytical methodology, and involvement of essential fatty acids in health and diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Batten’s syndrome. His work on industrial applications includes research on confectionery fats and oil process development to provide high quality specialty fats/oils, such as the refining and encapsulation of high quality fish oils.

Vodovotz joins Ohio State food science faculty
Yael Vodovotz has joined the faculty of the Department of Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University, Columbus, as assistant professor of food carbohydrate chemistry. She is one of four strategic hires that are part of a plan to build a world class food science program at OSU.

She earned her doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Department of Food Science; her dissertation helped elucidate the physical and chemical changes that occur in starch gels and bread at differing moisture contents and storage times. Vodovotz was previously post-doctoral aerospace fellow at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., where she developed a program on processing and preparation of foods for future long-duration manned space missions. She also developed and taught a unique class on the history of space food development at the University of Houston.

At OSU, Vodovotz’s research will focus on carbohydrate chemistry with emphasis in the area of water mobility and stability in starch-based products and development of baked goods with extended shelf life. She plans to collaborate with plant researchers to explore changes in starch functionality in plants grown in little or no gravity, development of food from inedible by-products of hydroponically grown plants, and time-release systems, such as drug delivery and flavor-release mechanisms. Vodovotz will teach courses in cereal chemistry and advanced food analysis methods.

Project GREEEN at MSU funds research and Extension projects
More than 40 research and Extension projects aimed at improving plant agriculture in Michigan were recently funded by Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs), the state’s plant agriculture initiative alliance formed in 1998 between Michigan State University and Michigan’s agricultural and processing agencies (see Food Technology, June 1998, p. 116).

Almost $2,725,000 was available in Project GREEEN money for grants this year, of which approximately $1 million was available for new projects. The remainder of the money went to projects initiated in 1999. The projects were categorized under four program areas—value-added, applied research, basic research, and Extension/education/demonstration.

The main criteria used to judge the 130 proposals submitted for funding were their relationship to the GREEEN mission and Michigan plant agriculture priorities, scientific soundness and appropriateness of budget request, feasibility of completing the objectives with the proposed time frame, mechanisms to deliver information to Michigan plant agricultural industries, multidisciplinary and integrated naure of the proposal, and extent of partnering with and potential impact on Michigan plant agricultural industries.

For more information on projects funded, see the Project GREEEN Web site at, go to the “GREEEN Projects” link; or call Robin Millsap, Project GREEEN Information Officer, at 517-432-1555.

Moschini named to Pioneer Hi-Bred Chair at ISU
GianCarlo Moschini was named the Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Science and Technology Policy at Iowa State University (ISU), Ames.

Moschini, an economics professor at ISU since 1987, will conduct research in the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) on the impact of new technologies on agriculture, public versus private ownership of intellectual property rights, the economics of research and development, and other issues. The Pioneer Hi-Bred Chair, one of four academic positions endowed at Iowa State by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, will provide leadership to evolving policy debates and input to help guide decisions on public and private investments in agricultural science and technology. Moschini’s work will complement CARD’s policy research in agricultural trade, food and nutrition, and natural resources and environment.