Deadlines are approaching for submitting nominations for two major IFT award programs: Achievement Awards and Fellows recognition.
The Achievement Award and Fellows recognition programs are held annually to acknowledge outstanding achievements and service to the profession by IFT members. Achievement Award recipients and those chosen for the 2021 Class of Fellows will be honored during ceremonies at IFT21.
In order to strengthen and sustain IFT’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, a number of changes have been made to the nomination process, including the removal of requirements for current employment within the science of food as well as length of service and membership requirements. In addition, self-nominations are now accepted. A new honor, the Include Award, has been added to recognize the work of an individual(s) or an organization in the science of food to advance equity, inclusion, and diversity.
The deadline for completed nominations for Achievement Awards is Dec. 7, 2020. The deadline for Fellows nominations is Feb. 1, 2021. Nominations for both programs must be submitted via IFT’s online portal, which streamlines the juror review process.
Mars Inc. has selected Maria Velissariou as the company’s new global corporate research & development vice president and chief science officer. In her new role, Velissariou will lead Mars’ enterprise-wide approach to quality and food safety and scientific & regulatory affairs and deliver Mars’ R&D strategy in partnership with its business segments.
Most recently, Velissariou served as chief science and technology officer at IFT, where she oversaw science, technology, and policy strategies, advocated for the science of food, and partnered with stakeholders across industry, academia, government, and nonprofits to advance the food system.
Prior to working at IFT, Velissariou served in a variety of global corporate capacities, including roles at PepsiCo and Kraft Foods. A long-time advocate for science, technology, engineering, and math programs, as well as initiatives to enhance diversity in business, she serves on the board of directors of the Chicago Council for Science and Technology and is a member of the Women Business Collaborative leaders’ circle. She holds PhD and master’s degrees in biochemical engineering from the University of Birmingham and a B.Eng. in chemical engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
“On behalf of the Mars community, we’re excited to welcome Maria and look forward to her leadership in continuing to invest in our R&D and science agenda,” said Jean-Christophe Flatin, president of innovation, science, technology & Mars Edge, in a company statement. “Given her past experiences, Maria is well-positioned to ensure we continue to evaluate and apply external provocation, learn from and expand our specialized network of expert peers while attracting world-class talent.”
Jessica Cooperstone is one of eight early-career scientists selected nationally to receive a 2019 New Innovator Award from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). She was recognized for her research at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, where she is an assistant professor in the departments of Horticulture and Crop Science, and Food Science and Technology.
The New Innovator Award, which provides $300,000 from FFAR and includes matching funds from Ohio State, is bestowed based on the scientific merit and potential impact of the proposed project. Cooperstone’s project, “Improving the nutritional quality of tomatoes,” combines plant breeding/genetics, analytical chemistry, bioinformatics, and nutrition to help develop tomatoes that are healthier for humans.
A member of IFT, Cooperstone earned a BS in food science from Cornell University, and a PhD in food science and technology from Ohio State, where she was also a postdoctoral researcher and research scientist.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently appointed 10 new members to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI), including IFT members Patricia Ann Curtis of North Carolina State University, Curtis Lynn Knipe of The Ohio State University, and Byron Williams of Mississippi State University, each of whom will serve two-year terms.
NACMPI was established in 1971 by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to advise on food safety concerns and other matters affecting inspection program activities, including food safety policies that contribute to USDA’s regulatory policy development.
Mindy Brashears, under secretary for food safety, remarked in a press release, “These committee members represent a diverse group distinguished by their knowledge and interest in meat and poultry safety. Their expertise and advice play a key role in informing USDA’s food safety decisions to ensure the U.S continues to have one of the safest food systems in the world.”
Layn Natural Ingredients has appointed IFT member Jim Roza chief scientific advisor. Roza will lead science, research, and innovation efforts for nutraceutical, supplement, and personal care applications at Layn USA.
Roza previously served as director of product development for Reliance Vitamin Company and director of quality assurance for NOW Foods. He was a member of the executive board of the Natural Products Foundation and served as vice chair of the association’s ComPli Standards Committee. In addition, Roza was a U.S. delegate on several Codex committees and chaired the AOAC Task Force on Dietary Supplements.
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