Hasler joins Robert Mondavi Institute
The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis, recently named Clare Hasler Executive Director. She will lead programming and vision-development efforts and guide fund-raising activities for the Institute and will serve as the university’s primary liaison to the wine and food industries.

A leading authority on functional foods, she previously held positions as a nutritionist, Assistant Professor, and Founding Director of the Functional Foods for Health Program at the University of Illinois. She earned her Ph.D. degree in environmental toxicology and human nutrition from Michigan State University, M.S. degree in nutrition from Penn State University, and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1998, Self magazine recognized her as one of the “Top 25 Food Influentials.”

Construction of the Robert Mondavi Institute will be completed in 2006, and the complex will include a 127,000-sq-ft academic building with classrooms, laboratories, and offices; a 20,000-sq-ft food science laboratory; and a 40,000-sq-ft teaching and research winery. The Institute will house the campus departments of Viticulture and Enology and Food Science and Technology.

Krochta wins $120,000 research grant
University of California, Davis, researcher John Krochta recently received a UC Discovery Grant for $120,000 to apply to his whey protein film and coating research. The grant, which was equally matched by funds from the California Dairy Research Foundation, is for a two-year project to commercialize the application of whey protein films and coatings as a bioactive food protection system.

Krochta received a formulation patent in 1996 for his research demonstrating that whey proteins could form transparent, flexible films, and he has shown that these films and coatings can carry bioactive compounds that provide antimicrobial and antioxidant protection for foods. He continues to conduct research at the Whey Protein Film/Coating and Applications Lab at UC Davis.

UGA selects Akoh as Distinguished Research Professor
The University of Georgia Research Foundation has named Casimir C. Akoh 2004 Distinguished Research Professor for his research and scholarly creativity. A professor of food science and technology at the University of Georgia for the past 12 years, Akoh was recognized by national and international leaders in food science for his research on lipids, edible oils, and healthy fat substitutes. He received his B.S. degree in biochemistry from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in food science from Washington State University.

ISU receives USDA grant
Iowa State University is the lead institution to receive a $900,000 federal grant to develop new ways to prevent the spread of disease carried by seeds. The four-year project, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, will develop new techniques to detect seed-borne pathogens, as well as train diagnosticians to use the new methods.

One technique, called magnetic capture hybridization, will use magnetic beads that bind to the targeted pathogen’s DNA, allowing them to be separated from other DNA. A process called polymerase chain reaction is used to enlarge the pathogen’s DNA once it is isolated. Further studies can then be conducted on the DNA.

ISU researchers will collaborate with colleagues at University of Georgia and Clemson University.