Trio of Food Science doctoral students present at national conferences; Yaqi Zhao wins two awards

Three doctoral students (Chunya Tang, Frank Velez, and Yaqi Zhao) from the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology (NIP) presented research at national conferences over the summer. Each conference provides a cutting-edge research showcase platform and network of food science professionals from academia, industry, and government.

Tang and Zhao presented their research at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) First Annual Event and Expo in Chicago (July 10-13, 2022). Zhao won a pair of awards in student research and student presentation competitions.

Velez presented at the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh (July 31 – August 3, 2022).

Zhao won first place in the Toxicology and Safety Evaluation Division Graduate Student Research Competition at the IFT annual meeting. She presented her research, “Monoclonal Antibody-based Competitive Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay for the Detection of Finfish Tropomyosin.” She also won first place in the Chinese Association for Food Protection North America Student Presentation Award Competition.

Meanwhile, Tang presented, “Thermal Stability of pH-stressed Soybean (Glycine Max) Agglutinin,” as the first author at the IFT annual meeting.

Additionally, Velez presented three posters at the IAFP annual meeting, two of them as first author including, “Development and Validation of High-Resolution Melting Assays for the Detection of Potentially Virulent Strains of Escherichia coli O103 and O121,” and, “A Novel Real-Time PCR Approach for Specific Detection and Estimation of Salmonella in Poultry Rinse.”

The trio of food science graduate students acknowledged the support they received from the department. In addition to presenting research, they took advantage of opportunities to learn advanced technologies and communicate with food science experts while attending the conferences.

Yaqi Zhao, Frank Velez, and Chunya Tang
From left to right: Yaqi Zhao, Frank Velez, and Chunya Tang