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Fall 2018 Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Jiajia Chen

Please tell us about yourself.

Hello, I am Jiajia Chen, originally from China. I did my bachelor and master in Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China and completed my Ph.D. work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA. I have extensive educational training on food, chemical, and environmental engineering areas. Prior to my current position (70% research and 30% teaching) at The University of Tennessee, I worked on different positions of research assistant professor (100% research) and assistant professor of practice (85% teaching). I like my current positon better, where I can do both research and teaching in a more balanced manner. This allows me to explore and learn many new things, as well as interact with students in the classrooms.

In my spare time, I like to spend time with family and friends. I like to play with my son, Ryan, a four-year-old happy boy. We like to go to zoo and playground, almost every week. I also like to read interesting stories about chickens, rabbits, and all other cute animals, with Ryan. Continue reading

2018 Grad Student Summer Activities

It isn’t just our undergrads that spend their summer’s taking the opporunity to learn more about their chosen field, our graduate students are also busy with research and attending conferences.

Melody Fagan

Graduate student, Melody Fagan, has spent time working with strawberries this summer. The strawberries that you buy at the store are not washed or coated; they are picked in the field and directly placed into those little clear clamshell packages that you take home from the store. Despite extensive efforts to reduce the rate of strawberry molding, we all know that strawberries are some of the first fruits to go when we leave them on the counter or place them in the fridge.The results of this experiment may help to identify ways to control fungal growth on one of the South’s favorite seasonal fruits!Strawberry Continue reading

Alumni Spotlight

Chayapa (Koi) Techathuvanan, Ph.D.


What year did you receive your degree/s from The University of Tennessee’s Food Science Department? What made you choose UT’s Food Science program?

I received an M.S. in 2009 and a Ph.D. in 2012.

I visited UT during my undergraduate sophomore year as an exchange student in 2004 and had the opportunity to explore UT’s Food Science graduate program. I chose to come to UT as the professors in the department are among the best in the field and the research focuses matched my interest. In addition, the people in the department, the university and Knoxville are great, very friendly and kind

What is your current position and employer and how long have you been there?

I’m currently a Sr. Scientist – Microbiology at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. and I’ve been with the company for 4 years. Continue reading

2018 Undergraduate Student Activities

This summer several students were around the country,and in some cases around the world, taking the opportunity to learn more about Food Science through internships and part-time or temporary jobs.

Jaime Ragos

Food Science senior, Jaime Ragos, has had a busy summer! She has interned at NC State for an REU involving education and extension on sanitaiton and spent time at Lonerider microbrewery where they discussed sanitation and GMPs with the brewery owners. In addition, she was also part of the Normandy Scholars Program where she was able to visit historic WWII sites in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Continue reading

2018 Innovative Teaching Award

Dr. Francine Hollis

Dr. Francine Hollis

Congratulations to Dr. Francine Hollis and collaborator Dr. Cheryl Rock of California State University they have been awarded the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities’ 2018 Innovative Teaching Award for their project Deciphering Food Laws and Regulations: An Interactive Course Module Approach to Enhance Student Learning and Understanding. The overall goal of this project is to ensure that students play an active role in the learning process. Read the full announcement.

2018 CASNR Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Craig Bacon, Mrs. Bacon, Dr. Dwight Loveday, and Dr. Mark MorganCongratulations to alumnus Craig Bacon, Ph.D. for being awarded the 2018 CASNR Dinstinguished Alumni Award! He received his M.S. in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1990 from the Food Science Department. Bacon was formerly the Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Tyson Foods and is now the Senior Vice President of Food Safety and Quality Assurance at Simmons.

Visit from Dr. Roger Clemens

Throughout the year, the department is privileged to host many events and visitors. This gives us an opportunity to learn from many of our alumni and friends in industry. Our students learn valuable information about what to expect and often get the chance to learn from hands-on experiences offered by internships. 

During the fall 2017 semester, we were honored to host Dr. Roger Clemens. He was in town for the Institute of Food Technologies Lecture Series hosted by Vol Section. He was gracious enough to meet with our graduate students to discuss his vast experiences before his lecture titled Weapons of Mass Distortion: Effective Communication Based on High-Quality Evidence.

Spring 2018 Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight

In the last couple of years, we have welcomed new faculty members that are bringing a great energy and drive to our department. Each have their own specialized area and we look forward to what the future brings with their research and teaching.

Dr. John Munafo:

John Peter Munafo Jr., is an Assistant Professor of flavor chemistry and natural products chemistry in the Department of Food Science. His research on flavor chemistry consists of identifying and quantitating key aroma- and taste-active molecules in foods and beverages. Through the characterization of sensory active molecules in different foods, our goal is to optimize desirable flavor in foods such as fruits, vegetables and processed foods. His work in natural products chemistry centers on the discovery and characterization of biologically active, health promoting molecules in foods and other natural sources such as medicinal plants and fungi. The objective is to discover and develop natural products that can be used to benefit agriculture, as well as human and animal health. The overarching objective of our integrated program is to guide development of healthy foods that taste great, to develop new specialty crops for farmers and identify novel preventative and treatment options to combat global health afflictions such as diabetes, cancer and emerging infectious diseases. Continue reading

Wines of the South

Wines of the South Judging   Wines of the South competition

The fall also brings us to our 16 annual Wines of the South Competition!  The competition, which is held in October, celebrates the Southern vintages found from Texas to Virginia.  With over 280 wines from 14 southern states, our volunteers and judges had quite a lot of work today.  Our panel of judges, including Dr. John Mount, Associate Professor Emeritus Food Science Department, come from all over the country with a wide variety of experience and interest in wine.  The judges spent over two days evaluating each wine and handed out over 200 awards. A full list of awards can be found on the website:

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